One of the easiest & best ways to kick off your personal journey to health is to start “eating clean.” What does “eating clean” really mean? Below are 10 EASY guidelines to follow that will help you navigate through the grocery store and create a new clean eating lifestyle!
Eat Real – If it can grow out of the ground or be raised on a farm, it’s clean food.
Just One – If a food has only one ingredient, it’s clean food.
Eat Naked – Think foods that don’t come in “packages” – if it is something that can be bought from the butcher or seafood counter, fruits, vegetables, grains & beans you can buy in bulk; it’s clean food.
Organic – When you can and/or there is a little price difference, go organic. This ensures you are getting the cleanest version of food possible.
Pronounceable – Can you read all the ingredients? If not, it’s probably not clean.
Prioritize Plants – Vegetables are some of the most nutrient rich foods, eat as much as possible daily!
Eliminate White – Avoid sugar in its many “disguises.” Look for foods with only natural sugars & sweeteners; like maple syrup, honey, or agave.
Home Cook – Cooking at home allows you to control the quality of food you are eating. Incorporate as much home cooking as possible; you would be surprised to what ingredients restaurants sneak into “healthy dishes.”
Focus on YOU – Forget what the media is saying and listen to your body! As long as you are eating clean foods 80% of the time, choose what “diet/way of eating” is right for you.
ENJOY – Enjoy every bite of your food, really I mean it! Clean eating is about discovering how delicious real foods can be. Experiment with new recipes and if you don’t like it, don’t force yourself to eat it.
Have you already gone astray from those healthy new years resolutions?
Here are four easy ways to get back on track:
Food Journal – sometimes having to actually write down what you ate might provide you some more clarity on the decisions you make and even give you some will power to avoid certain foods.
Workout Calendar – plan your workouts in advance as if they were important dates or appointments, this will make you more less likely to cancel.
Friendly Support – get your friends and family on board! Inform them of your healthy changes and encourage them to join in on the fun; schedule workouts with them or plan to make a healthy meal or share a good recipe.
Prioritize Meal Prep – take a few hours out of your Sunday afternoon to cook some healthy foods that you can easily grab throughout the week. This helps to prevent you from making spur of the moment bad decisions when you are in a rush.
Sleep – the most overlooked and underrated aspect of your overall health. So many of us put sleep on our backburner in order to get other “more important” things accomplished. However, a lack of sleep is harmful for your body. Here is why:
During sleep your body;
Releases hormones that regulate appetite control, stress, growth, and metabolic strength
Increases stamina and energy levels
Strenghtens immune system
Improves brain functionality to increase focus, alertness and creativity
Increases mood and helps reduce anxiety and mental exhaustion
Without sleep your body;
Decreases the release of a hormone called, leptin, which plays a HUGE role in appetite control therefore increases your likely hood to gain weight
Increases the amount of inflammatory proteins and blood sugar levels within the body which all increase your risk of illnesses, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and infection
Impairs your brain to function optimally which decreases your ability to process new information and also affects your mood and focus levels drastically.
So how much sleep do you need?
For anyone over the age of 18, it is recommended to get at least 7 -9 hours of sleep a night!
How can I sleep better?
Make a routine – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wind down – avoid using your IPhone, TV, or other electronic devices
Make your bedroom comfortable and completely dark
Reduce your caffeine intake; especially in the afternoon and night
Don’t overeat before bed
Limit beverage consumption so that you do not wake up in the middle of the night
One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is to always listen to your body. What does this mean?
In life; especially the society we are in today, there is constant pressure to look and act a certain way. I believe everyone feels this in some shape or form. I urge everyone to take a step back and think about what pressures you feel and most importantly why. Most of the time, the “why” is superficial and adjusting some of your actions might be a great way to relieve stress.
Listening to your body is the most honest and easiest way to step back and really feel your best. Below are the four easiest ways to start listening to your body:
1. Move your body in a way that you LOVE
Don’t wake up everyday dreading your workout. Find a class or a routine that really motivates you. This might require adjusting your idea of a “good workout.” Not all workouts have to be cardio driven or intense. Try out a yoga or barre class or get creative and try a dance or boxing class.
2. Eat until you are 75% full
Most of us are guilty of over eating. We have this “clean plate” mentality; but really leftovers are also great to have! The best advice is to eat slower, really chew each bite and appreciate the flavors. Eating slower will allow your mind to catch up to your body sending you signals of becoming full.
3. Do not be afraid to REST
We are all human and rest days are SO important. When you are run down and over tired take a day off from exercising! Your body needs time to relax and allow the muscles to heal – take the morning to sleep in or the afternoon to spend time with friends and family instead.
4. Take away the pressure
Live the 90/10 rule or even the 80/20 rule; we can’t all be perfect all the time. Strive towards healthy eating and living habits 80-90% of the time and then allow yourself to enjoy WITHOUT guilt the wine and pizza 10-20% of the time. Life is all about happiness and enjoying the moment so don’t let your “rules” get in the way of having some fun!