Eat Clean and Healthy Tip #14

by Amy Stafford on April 4, 2014

Eat Clean and Healthy

Eat Clean and Healthy Tip #14 with A Healthy Life For Me.

For Week 14 of my 52 Weeks for Health and Fitness Success I want to share with you why I think you should Eat Clean and Healthy Diet.  Last weekend my husband and I flew to Philadelphia to watch my oldest son row in a regatta on the Skulkhill River.  The weather was awful in Philly, rainy windy and cold.  We were running to and from the hotel to the race site, standing in the rain waiting in the car.  We ate on the run, lots of carbs and very little fiber.   I knew I would pay the price and I did.

George Washington Mens Rowing Team at the Penn Invite | Eat Clean and Healthy

Monday and Tuesday I felt run down had no energy and during my workout on Tuesday my heart rate was elevated higher than it should be for the exercise I was doing.  I didn’t start to get my energy back and feel lighter until Wednesday.

Why am I telling you this?  Because people ask me all the time what my workout is and how I stay so fit and lean.  I tell them my workout, but I also say it really has to do with my diet.  Now sometimes they will ask, but you post dessert recipes.  Then I explain eating clean has nothing to do with weather or not you eat a cupcake it has to do with the type of food you chose to put in your body.

What is Clean Eating?  The answer is always a bit different on who you ask.  For me eating clean and healthy is about eating foods in their most natural state.  This means avoiding processed foods, foods with loads of preservatives, foods with lots of added sugar, and foods with high levels of bad fats (some saturated fats/all trans fats).

Alternatively, I try to avoid foods that have been stripped of their nutritional value and/or have been injected with a heaping dose of six-syllable chemicals.  That means vegetables that have been microwaved, or vegetables that are cooked and then topped with a sauce that is usually loaded with chemicals and a ton of sodium and sugar (read your label).   Frozen vegetables with sauces are the worst.

These are some of the basic guidelines that I associate with eating clean and healthy.

  • The most important rule for me of eating a clean healthy diet is making an abundance of my food intake about fresh, local, organic fruits and vegetables.  VEGETABLES, VEGETABLES, VEGETABLES
  • Unrefined, whole-grains (quinoa, lentils, and oats)
  • Organic meats and dairy. Limiting Dairy consumption to a minimum.
  • More fiber-centered meals than meat-centered each week. Think about your plate 2/3 of it should be filled with fiber rich food, vegetables for lunch and dinner, oats or vegetables at breakfast.
  • Plenty of water or other no-calorie drinks (NOT diet soda)
  • Making healthy cooking choices, such as baking, steaming, and light sautéing whenever possible. (NOT MICROWAVING,see image below)
  • Consume healthy fats from natural sources such as nuts, avocados, organic coconut oil, olive oil etc.

what happens to vegetables when microwaved | Eat Clean and Healthy

What I am trying to tell you to take away from this post is when you regularly eat clean and healthy and then you have a few days when you don’t, you feel like crap afterwards.  So what that means is if you are not eating a clean healthy diet you have no idea how hard your body is working to clean itself of the crap you keep feeding it and you have no idea how crappy you truly feel.

It is not about counting your calories it is about feeding your body what it needs to operate as clean and efficiently as possible for your long term health.  Learning to cook for eating a clean and healthy diet usually takes less time because your meals are more straightforward.  This doesn’t mean you have to eat food that has to flavor or taste.  If you learn to use healthy fats when cooking you usually end up with a dish that looks beautiful, is packed with flavor and you walk away feeling satisfied.  Steaming broccoli takes less than 10 minutes, topping it with a little olive oil, lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh parmesan versus making a broccoli cheese casserole that is topped with cheese, canned soup and breadcrumbs takes 45 minutes and leaves absolutely no healthy soluble fiber because your broccoli has lost it all in the cooking process not to mention the dish is laden with sodium and high in bad fats.

Try making a switch over to eating cleaner and healthier by taking baby steps, your goal is to change how you eat for life not a limited time.  This isn’t a diet it is a way of life. An example might be to just eat oatmeal with berries and nuts for breakfast for a while and making sure you have a salad at every dinner (oil and vinegar type dressing only please).

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You can usually find me in my garden, the kitchen, at the gym or spending time with my family. I love sharing recipes, gardening and exercise tips and stories of my backyard chickens and beekeeping.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Amandah April 4, 2014 at 6:07 am

Great post!

Most people use the microwave because it’s convenient. When you work more than 40 hours a week and don’t get home until late, you may not feel like cooking. Too bad there isn’t a better microwave than what’s on the market, one that doesn’t zap the nutrition out of vegetables. Perhaps I’ll have to invent it. ;)

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Cheryl Brewer April 4, 2014 at 8:05 am

Thanks for a great post Amy! Keeps me motivated during those frequent grocery runs for fresh veggies and fruit.

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