Saturday, November 21, 2015

5 steps to a lifetime of clean eating

We’re constantly inundated with marketing, convenience foods, and food trends, that it’s hard to know what foods are healthy and make you feel good. As the saying goes “You are what you eat.” but do we really know what we’re eating and how it affects us? Or, we always know what we “shouldn’t” be eating, but do it anyway for lack of choice, inspiration or knowledge. It may seem like a daunting to take charge of your food choices and to eat healthy, but it can all be achieved with five easy steps.

TAKE THE TIME to think about, prepare and even to sit down and eat food is pretty simple, but sometimes meals aren’t a priority because of work, family time, exercise, chores, social engagements, and sleep. Sometimes it’s also all too easy to rely on being able to “pick something up.” But what if that isn’t an option? Do you have what you need to make a few foods to eat? I won’t lie, it does take a little time to prepare, but it doesn’t have to be labor-intensive to put good food on the table. The more you cook, the easier it gets, like with exercise or anything else, it’s just a matter of taking the first step. I know it’s worth every second to be in charge of what I’m feeding myself, and my family. 

BE MINDFUL of what foods you eat provides better understanding of how food affects both body and mind. Journalling eating and drinking intake each day really helps to keep track and define eating habits. By doing this myself, I became aware that I was eating some form of wheat and dairy at every meal, every day of the week. When noticing this pattern, and changing it to integrate a greater variety of foods, I was able to have more energy and focus, as well as alleviate my vertigo, skin issues and mood swings.

BREAK THE PATTERN of what has become accepted as food, especially with the integration of factory-refined and mass-processed foods. Food is fuel, better to pick real foods, or whole ingredient, nutrient-dense foods rather than artificially enriched manufactured foods. Once you have all these onhand, it’s just a matter of putting these together. Real food is:

  • Fresh, seasonal, local, and/or organic produce, frozen is also great – not genetically-modified or sprayed heavily with pesticides, or gases to ripen during shipment. Try to buy vegetables, tons of them, in a spectrum of colors; 
  • A whole ingredient like nuts, fruits, meat, seafood, and vegetables – anything without a nutrition label, is 100% natural, like honey, pure maple syrup, and dates. If it does have a label, it should be minimally processed with 5 recognizable ingredients or less; 
  • Humanely raised, pasture-raised, sustainably caught, organic, no growth hormones, nitrates, antibiotics or coloring in meat and seafood (in moderation).

BE FLEXIBLE, even though cooking can initially be intimidating. Whether it’s by watching a celebrity or reality cookery show, or a complicated recipe, the expectations can be high. Everything is achieved through practice, so initially the best way to learn is by letting go of your own expectations (and those of others!) Free yourself from the confinements of recipes, and be flexible. Make use of what you have onhand and take it from there. A salad has endless possibilities, as do many other foods you can prepare. Once you get the hang of the basics, the freedom of food is yours to explore. Keep it simple, yet be adventurous, flavorful, and unique.

BE CONSISTENT, after the first step. The more time and effort you spend on good food, the easier it becomes. Start with consistently, integrating one healthy meal each day; then for one full day each week; maybe two full days or just on the weekends; or eat “clean” for 5-10 consecutive days each month. Every time you are able to be consistent, the stronger the power of your food becomes to help you feel great in both body and mind.

Feel like you need a little extra support to get on the path to clean eating? Get Healthy recipes for the Holidays, join my monthly 10-day group detox program (the next one starts the Monday after Thanksgiving), schedule a meal prep workshop (NYC only) or contact me to work one-on-one to get you food fit and feeling great.

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