“Clean eating” has become a media buzz word over the last few years, with articles and products popping up everywhere. If you’re like me, you liked the sound of eating clean right away, but you didn’t know quite what it was, or where to start
Well, at its most basic, clean eating is simply eating food as close to its original form as possible. It means eating fresh, recently prepared food that you know the ingredients of.
What it doesn’t mean is bland food. Just because it’s clean, doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of herbs, spices, and taste enhancers like onion, shallots, and garlic to make your taste buds yell, “Thank you!”
Most importantly, clean eating isn’t a diet. Sure, eating clean can lead to weight loss due to its elimination of overly processed foods, but it’s not restrictive and it’s not about focusing on being thinner. It’s about focusing on your overall health, which can lead to lots of amazing change in your life!
Forming New Habits
So, today is the day! You’re ready to change your eating habits, but where do you start? The best way to start is to focus on creating new habits each week. This way you’ll slowly change your eating in increments, rather than all at once.
I recommend focusing on water first. We don’t get enough water from our food and there are just so many non-water things we like to drink that it can be hard to form this habit. Keep it top of mind, though, since your body functions at its best when it’s hydrated. When I started, I experimented with a
a water intake app or journal to keep me accountable. Try those and see what works for you!
Do a Pantry Purge
The next thing I recommend is taking a look at everything in your pantry and fridge and throwing away anything that is processed or has preservatives. Then replace them with whole foods as you work your way through the journey. (For example, replace store-bought pasta sauce with crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sauce spices. Usually like the cheesy kind of sauce? Add freshly grated cheese. It tastes better, I promise.)
Week-by-Week: One New Thing
Focusing on your water intake and doing a pantry purge are my top two tips to get you started, but here is a week-by-week breakdown of changes to make to start your clean eating journey.
Week 1: Water
Drink your 8-10 glasses of water to help your body flush out toxins
Limit your intake of soda, caffeine, and alcohol
Eat more water based veggies like cucumber, zucchini, and celery
Week 2: Focusing on eating whole foods
Balance your plate – half veggies, third protein and third complex grains with a good heaping of healthy fat!
Keep your freezer stocked with colourful frozen veggies
Purge your pantry of anything with processed (unpronounceable) ingredients or anything with preservatives
Week 3: Become an ingredient wizard!
Check the ingredients on anything you normally buy (How many are there? How many are sugar, sugar derivatives, or sugar substitutes? How many are chemically made? Do you know what they are?)
Check the sodium levels
Keep it simple and replace the most processed foods you normally keep in your pantry, such as Mac & cheese, puddings, fajita seasonings and broths
Week 3: Start meal planning and prep
Create a weekly meal plan and post it on the fridge
Clean, cut and portion out your protein, veggies and grains while putting away your groceries
Keep a stocked pantry and freezer with staples like chick peas, canned tomatoes, frozen veggies
Make homemade desserts and portion them out and freeze
Week 4: Eating clean at restaurants
Check out the menu before you go to see what’s whole food, or if it seems all processed
Do they have options that fit your diet? Are they gluten-free? Do they have veggie or vegan options?
Choose an entrée that falls into the whole food category and choose veggies or salad for your side
Keep this up and you’ll be feeling better and eating clean with little fuss in no time!
Looking for an accountability support group to help you stay on track, share great meal ideas, and try out new habits with?
Join us in the Fired Up Clean Living Circle!
Weekly meal plans (complete with shopping lists!)
A group for accountability and support
Access to Members Only resources
Extended learning with expert calls
… and lots more!