I have recommended a couple of apps that I use on my smart phone. One of them is MyFitnessPal. It is a nifty way to track what you are eating, and how much you are exercising. BUT. BUT. DO NOT TELL THEM YOU ARE EATING CLEAN OVER THERE. You WILL see Windex jokes.
“Clean eating” has so many definitions; it will make your head spin. This is convenient for us, because within certain guidelines, we can adapt it to fit our individual needs. Paleo clean is not the only clean there is. It is restrictive. It is also a little silly sometimes. My son asked, “Mom, did the cavemen REALLY drink coffee?” To which I responded, “Almost certainly not like mine, but I don’t care! I get to HAVE IT!” Primal is essentially Paleo with the addition of dairy for those who NEED TO HAVE THE CHEESE! Technically, I’m Primal, since I have cream in my coffee and a MONSTER ice cream every week, and I recently added Greek yogurt for the protein and live culture benefits, but I do not drink milk or eat cheese. Whole9 clean is not the only clean there is, though I would highly recommend a visit to the website, and their book, It Starts with Food, is on my “to read” list, as it has been highly recommended. The Whole 30 plan is a really, really good way to start if you are planning a detox. It is HIGHLY restrictive, but if you feel your body needs a kick in the metabolism, give it a look.
At the heart of eating clean is a commitment to get rid of refined and processed foods. This includes GMOs (this eliminates most corn and soy products). The single thing that every clean eating program agrees on is that sugar, in almost all of its forms, has got to go. Paleo allows a small amount of honey and/or maple syrup. Some plans allow grains, some do not. How far you choose to go with this will depend a great deal on how you feel physically and emotionally. Going grain free, or even just gluten free is not for the faint-hearted. However, if you are feeling sick, if you are experiencing emotional chaos, it might help. It might help a LOT. Here is my simplified definition for Sweatpants & Coffee, because we are kinder, and gentler, and we don’t want you to run in a panic to Whole Foods and realize you can’t afford to feed your whole family: Clean eating is a commitment to preparing your own food, starting with ingredients in their natural, unprocessed form. It is a commitment to eating more fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, especially those in season, and organic when you can afford it. Here is a simple rule of thumb about buying things in boxes and cans (because this is the 21st century, we are busy, and boxes and cans are a reality), “I will look for versions with five or fewer ingredients.”
If you are whole hog about it, you will grow at least some of your own vegetables, as many of my SP&C friends do. If you are like me, and kill ALL. THE. GREEN. THINGS, you will go to the market, and you will start taking a look at the price differential between organic and regular produce. You might venture into a Trader Joe’s if you are lucky enough to have one, or a Fresh and Easy, assuming the new owners don’t totally change the store around. You might go to a local farmer’s market. Fresh fruits and vegetables, grown as sustainably as possible is where it starts. Try new things. Eat a rainbow. All those colors? They represent different vitamin and mineral mixes. It may not be easy being green, but it sure is easy getting into a rut and eating only green veggies. You can be really bold and adventurous and raise chickens for your own eggs. I buy them. I also buy regular meat and seafood. The ideal for all meats is pasture-raised, and vegetarian (for chickens) or grass fed (for beef). This has something to do with the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fats. Yeah. I eat Flax and Chia seeds and call it all good. I simply cannot pay double or triple per pound.
Dairy becomes its own unique question. It is individual. Paleo with dairy is called Primal. If you don’t have issues with lactose, go for it. Just make sure your dairy products come from hormone free animals.
Here is the real secret. You do not have to do ALL. THE. THINGS. AT. ONCE.
Soda junkie? Switch out one fizzy lemon water for one soda a day. Can’t eat dinner without some sort of carb on the plate? Switch from white to sweet potatoes, from white rice to quinoa, from white pasta to whole grain pasta. Kids won’t touch vegetables? Get sneaky. Hide them in stuff like blended soups, meatloaf, muffins, and frittatas. Make small, conscious changes each week. If something doesn’t work for your family, try something else. My magic trick is bacon. If I put bacon in it, they will eat it. Unless it’s kale. I’m going to need a miracle for kale. But I might have found one, in a kale chip recipe I have yet to try.
Planning ahead, because when you fail to plan you plan to fail. Getting your kitchen ready, and meal planning for the week.
Start saving your pennies. We have shopping to do.