Just a few months into my health coaching career and being exposed to hundred of diet styles and ways of eating, I’m convinced there is no secret or magical diet out there that works for everyone except for Clean Eating. In my opinion, this is the way to go to achieve better health whether you are a vegan, paleo, vegetarian, pescetarian, or any other diet follower.
To me, a big part of eating clean is about thinking of food as preventative medicine. After all, we are what we eat, so being thoughtful about food simply makes sense. Nutrients create the foundation for the structure and function of every cell in your body, and because your body is in a continuous state of maintenance and repair, the health and functioning of your cells is directly determined by what you’ve been eating.
Whole, natural foods provide the building blocks to uphold your muscles, bones, organs, immune system, and hormones. So cleaning up your diet is a lot like starting to build and support your body with the highest quality raw materials.
When I first started this journey, I got stuck very quickly. Everything felt overwhelming. Now I know, taking baby steps is the way to go. For that reason, here are a few small steps to get you going:
Eat whole foods
There is no miracle here, instead of eating a banana-blueberry muffin eat a banana, blueberries and some nuts or a teaspoon of a nut butter.
Make ingredients your guide
Focus on quality and read the labels. Reading is the only way to know what’s in your food. Start by ditching those that contain the word “artificial,” including flavors, sweeteners, colors, and preservatives. If you are reading a label and can’t pronounce half of what’s on the label, it’s no good. Remember: “If your brain can't figure it out...neither can your gut.”
Choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible and make sure terms like “zero trans fat,” “less sodium” or “sugar- free” don’t fool you into thinking that a processed food is a healthy choice.
Make it yourself
I know this is a biggy for the “non-cooking people” out there. The truth is though that the only way to know what you are putting in your mouth (hence body) is to make it in your kitchen. Replacing package foods with homemade versions is the way to go. Where to begin? Start with a simple salad dressing for example! And from there start playing and combining ingredients. (Tip: You can make a bigger batch and store it in a glass container in your fridge)
Here a few basic ingredients for dressings:
Fat/Oil: Olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, avocado, sunflower oil.
Acid: Balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, coconut vinegar (balsamic), lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice.
Seasonings/Spices: sea salt, ground black pepper, dried herbs, fresh herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, dried onion flakes, sriracha hot chili sauce, miso.
Extras: Mustard, minced garlic, minced scallion/green onion, berries, mango, tofu, nuts/seeds, nut butter, vegetable broth, water, nut milks, honey.
And here some ideas on how to combine them together:
Red Wine Vinaigrette:
- 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of flaxseed oil
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- dash oregano
- dash basil
- dash sea salt
- dash ground black pepper
Share your story
I have tried all this myself and have committed to Clean Eating every day, as much as I can. It has truly transformed my life from clearer, glowing skin and shinier hair to more energy, better mood, sleep quality, clearer thinking, and less aches and pains among other things.
Of course my journey hasn’t been and still is not perfect, but whose is after all?I encourage you to try and change one small thing at a time. Lean in. Just give it a try.
I hope you find my post inspiring. Contact me with any questions. Share with me your story.