Clean Eating

They” say that the number one New Year’s Resolution made by people is to lose weight (WHO are they anyway?!). Judging by the overflowing parking lot at my gym after January first, I’d say they are right. The best time of the year to put your gym membership on hold is actually January; I workout at home with Beachbody DVD’s right now. It’s easier for me to do a workout during nap time as opposed to all the effort it takes to get an infant reservation and lug my baby to the gym. I just finished 60 days of Insanity and began P90X with my hubby on December 31st.

I’m so close to my pre-pregnancy weight I can literally taste it. We’re talking like 3 pounds away people. That puts my total weight loss DESPITE having Hashimoto’s to 62 pounds!! I know everybody loves a before and after photo; I’m kicking myself for not taking a before picture when I was cleared to workout after the baby. So now you will have to wait until I reach my goal and complete P90X.

Working out has been a huge piece of my success, but probably more has to do with the “clean” eating style I’ve adopted. As mentioned previously, this also includes giving up gluten. So I thought that since it’s the beginning of a new year, I’d blog a little about clean eating, and maybe this can be incorporated into someone’s resolution.

So what is “clean” eating”? Clean eating is simply eating whole, unprocessed foods. It is not a quick fix diet, it is a way of life.

The following are 7 core principles taken from an article from Cooking Light by Diane Welland, MS RD.

1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.

Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.

2. Choose unrefined over refined foods.

While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.

3. Include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal.

Most of us typically do well with carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially in the early part of the day, like at breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder, and it can also help curb your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it keeps us feeling full longer. Be aware of the kinds of meals you put together and space out your protein.

4. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.

This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.

5. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.

This usually pans out into three main meals and two or three hefty snacks. Eating this way prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady so energy doesn’t lag.

6. Don’t drink your calories.

High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water first, or my personal favorite, unsweetened tea (any flavor). Other clean drinks: low-fat or skim milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water.

7. Get moving.

Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.

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Sounds pretty easy, but is it doable? YES!! There are so many magazines, websites, and cookbook resources to help get you started. Nothing feels better than giving your body the proper nutrition it needs to function properly. I would say I’m at about a 95/5 plan. I still have wine in moderation, and I’m REALLY trying to ditch the tablespoon of coffee creamer in the morning.

A typical day of eating looks like this for me:

Breakfast: Old Fashioned Oatmeal (Gluten Free) made with coconut milk and cinnamon; 4 egg whites and 1 egg topped with salsa. Coffee. Organic half and half.

Morning snack (after my workout): Protein shake made with almond milk, chocolate protein powder (raw warrior), and a banana

Lunch: 2-3 Turkey muffins (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/video-jamie-eason-turkey-meatloaf-muffins.htm) and vegetable or salad

Afternoon snack: Celery and almond butter

Dinner: Lean meat (Tilapia, turkey, chicken) and vegetable

I’ve had a ton of fun making things from scratch and learning new ways to make whole foods delicious. I want to share my newest breakfast creation I made this week: Clean Pumpkin Pancakes

Serves 2; about 3 pancakes per person

Ingredients:

* 8 egg whites

* 2/3 cup pure pumpkin

* 1 cup ground oats (I use gluten-free oats ground in my bullet)

* 1 Tbsp cinnamon

* 1 Tbsp baking powder

* 1 tsp allspice

* 2 packets of Stevia

One serving packs 24 grams of protein and just 221 calories!

Blog Photos 005

Pictured with 1 small banana and 1/8 cup of pure organic maple syrup. 400 Calorie breakfast!

Here’s to a fit and healthy 2013!

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