The first step to cleaning up your diet is to create a set programme. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
Knowing when and what you are going to eat makes everything simpler, from your shopping list to the afternoon tummy rumble. If you know when your next meal is coming and what it is, you are less likely to gorge on the wrong kinds of things.
Before you can get started, you need to understand and write down why you want to eat cleaner
what your goals are, who you are doing this for and how you are going to do it. This will be your motivation, your key to success. When you feel yourself slipping off the wagon, flick back to these three points and you can refocus.
The next step to clean eating is acceptance, also known as accountability
This is also one of the hardest, but also something 90% of people miss. You need to accept that where you are now and where you are going is down to you. Blaming other people, foods, illnesses and life won’t get you anywhere. As soon as you accept accountability for the body you are carrying, you are already winning. A study at Harvard university found that ‘’13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together’’.
So now you should have your goals, write them down and have a clear understanding of why you are doing what you’re doing.
The next step in your clean eating plan is understanding what healthy is
You can give a man a fish and he can eat once, OR you can teach a man to fish and he can eat for life. Having your own basic understanding of how the body works is very important. Just because you may not be a doctor or a nutritionist doesn’t mean you are not qualified to know, learn and understand what’s happening inside your body. Once you understand the importance of food, the role of proteins, carbohydrates and fats play in our system and the best ways to exploit them, you will be able to take care of yourself for life.
There are thousands of different systems and books about diets and nutrition. Some of these are based on opinion, others on results. Just because eating 5 baked beans every hour worked for Mrs Jones loosing weight, it doesn’t mean it will work for you, or that it is healthy. When it comes to creating a healthy eating plan, you also need to go with what makes you feel good. Listen to what your body is telling you, you will feel hungry for a reason.
KIS – Keep it simple! Stick to a couple basic rules of clean eating
Go for single ingredient foods, like fish, peas, carrots, and always try and have greens with every meal, making sure you avoid sugar where possible. Single ingredient foods will digest better giving the body energy rather than taking it. Greens are rich in chlorophyll and other nutrients which help to clean the blood and produce high quality red blood cells, where sugar does quite the opposite. The fact that sugar can dissolve our teeth is a warning sign, what does it do to our insides?
The place to start with your diet is with restriction, this is where you take out every food that may act as an allergen or can cause inflammation. With my clients, I always start with dairy, eggs, wheat, gluten, sugar, caffeine, red meat, and poultry. Once you have removed all of these foods from your diet, slowly add them back in one by one. Monitor how you feel, write down your energy levels, when you get hungry etc. You will start to see certain foods will make you act differently. Foods that make you tired and angry completely remove from your diet, foods that make you feel great – keep in.
These steps will lead yo knowing they won’t cause any internal inflammation or leach energy from your body. The only way you can improve on this are to buy an organic source or to grow your own. Organic foods aren’t going to contain chemicals, designed to kill living organisms. These pesticides can become stored in fat cells and fatty tissues which is why they are best avoided!
The last thing we need to cover is something overlooked or forgotten. What we drink!
We are what we eat, think and drink. Fruit juices will contain large amounts of sugar, 1 8oz glass of orange juice contains around 21g of sugar, whereas 8oz od coke is 26g of sugar. Not a huge difference. I would also look to avoid coffee and black teas. These will cause the blood cells to aggregate and subsequently causing them to be less efficient. Although there are studies showing exercise and performance benefits from the use of caffeine, from a health standpoint it is going to reduce red blood cell efficiency and ultimately reducing the flow of oxygen around the cells.
The human body consists of around 70% water. This water needs to be changed on a regular basis; as soon as it hits your bladder, the water is useless. Think about a stagnant pond, if we don’t regularly flush water through our systems, it’s going to start to get old very fast! We should be looking to consume a minimum of 2 litres of water per day. The bigger you are, the more you should drink. I recommend 3-4 litres to my clients.
To stop regular water breaks and to keep the pH and electrolyte balance constant, add some mineral salts to the water, such as sodium bicarbonate. This will increase the water pH and keep your body’s electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate) stable. Electrolytes are minerals found in the bodies tissues in the form of dissolved salts. They are used in many processes, for example potassium ions are a key contributor to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction and normal heart rhythm. So these are useful things to supplement with. My clients report a pinch of sodium bicarbonate in their water increases their energy level and improves their performance when training. So always look to drink water, coconut water or caffeine free herbal tea.
Remember when it comes down to clean eating, you need to listen to your body and keep it simple. Single ingredient foods that are unprocessed will feed your body energy and nutrients; multi ingredient processed foods will give the false impression of energy, leaving you feeling sluggish.