Clean Eating & Planning

*Below is my interpretation of what clean eating is for me. This may not be as strict as others idea of clean eating but this is what works for my lifestyle, my budget and my weight loss*

So I'm sure some of you are asking the question... What is clean eating?

Well in a nutshell it is eating foods that are unprocessed and foods that are as natural as possible, similar to the Paleo way of eating. Eating foods that are free from additives, preservatives and man made chemicals. Once you start looking at labels, it is surprising how many of the everyday foods have things like sugar, fats and chemicals added to them to keep their shelf life longer. I definitely am a believer that diseases and cancers are linked to humans consuming foods that are unnatural and processed. Alot of foods that are deemed 'healthy' because they are lower in fat or sugar, have actually been pumped with chemicals, flavourings and preservatives to keep them tasty and appealing to the eye e.g. low fat mayonaise, low fat yogurt and low fat ready meals. Just read the labels on the packaging and if the ingredient is something that you can not pronounce or find on a supermarket shelf, it is very likely that it is man made and it is not good for you.

As much as I follow a clean eating lifestyle, which means that I eat natural and wholesome food as much as possible, I do not eat any junk food and I restrict my use of processed foods as much as I can. However I am not a strict clean eater, there are some foods that I eat that are processed which are:

*Sriracha Sauce
*Chicken Stock
*Soy Sauce
*Dijon Mustard
*Fajita and taco seasoning

I do not eat these foods in abundance, only when a recipe calls for it which can be 1-2 tablespoons. I would say that I eat 98% clean, 100% of the time.

In order to eat clean, I have cut out the following from my eating habits:

*ALL processed foods - cakes, biscuits, bread, sweets, chocolate crisps, ice cream, ready meals, jarred sauces, dressings, pies, pastries, ready made sandwiches, chocolate, processed meats (bacon, ham, cooked meats due to the preservatives, nitrates and sugars added,), etc
*White Carbs - Pasta, noodles, rice, bread, potatoes (because they have a low nutritional value)
*ALL junk food - Macdonalds, pizza, chips, Chinese etc
*ALL processed drinks - cans of soda, squash, juice, tea, coffee (mainly because I only drink it with alot of milk)

I promise you that clean eating leaves you with abundant choice of foods as I'm sure you're wondering what there is left to eat after removing the above list? ALOT I promise! 

*Sweet potato
*Salad veggies
*Nut butters (organic or homemade)
*Lean meats - chicken, turkey and lean beef mince
*Brown carbohydrates  - I have only allowed myself brown rice and wholewheat noodles so far. I've also eaten wholemeal rolls but I would prefer to make my own bread so that I know what's going in it
*Green Tea
*Water - at least 2 litres
*Dairy - so far I have had Greek Yogurt, Yeo Valley yogurts, parmesan, goats cheese and a small bit of cheddar, usually once a week and in small amounts (some clean eaters do cut out dairy but this is something I don't, I just limit it the same as carbs)
*Milk - Almond or skimmed milk
*Spices - especially chilli to boost your metabolism!
*Honey - raw and organic preferably
*Oil - olive oil and coconut oil 
*Porridge Oats

There is so much that you can do with veggies and meat dishes, it just takes alittle bit of research. If there are recipes that you love then you can tweak them to make them clean. Check out my Pintrest Eat Clean Board for some inspiration!

Clean Eating can be a massive lifestyle change if you are used to living off convenience foods. I understand that life gets busy and hectic and who wants to slave over a cooker for an hour when they get home from work? Not me! But eating clean does require some planning and preparation, the last thing you want to do is find yourself starving and reaching for the wrong foods.

So each week I plan what I'm going to eat for the next 7 days. I'll go through my Pintrest board and look at the recipes I've posted during the week, picking ones I want to try. Then I'll figure out what days across the week I'm having them and what ingredients I need. Then I build my shopping list, based on what I need and what I already have in my cupboards and finally either hit the supermarket or do my shopping online and collect it from the store as food shopping is one of my pet hates (it's not the actual shopping I can't stand, its the whole experience; finding a parking space, crowds of people, everyone else dallying around, leaving their trollies everywhere, queuing at the till... ARGHHH! So stressful!).

Then comes the meal prep. Again, I do appreciate that not everyone has time to do this but it really is a great help if you can spend some time over the weekend cooking your meals in advance as this leaves you time during the week and all you have to do is heat it up, prepare a salad or veggies to go with it and voilĂ ! Dinner is served!

Feel free to ask me questions by commenting below or contact me by email :)

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