Eating Clean: Getting started and learning to love it

If you are thinking I just jumped right into exactly how I eat now, you are wrong. This has been a process for me and over the years I have become much more clean 24/7, as I have just learned that clean food is all I want to fuel myself with. It hasn’t always been as easy as it is now! 5 years later, I would say I have become super disciplined as well as not wanting crap food at all. I will give you all a background and tell you how I used to eat when I first started, as well as what I would “cheat” on weekly. **note: I don’t “cheat” anymore…nor do I like that word. I prefer to consistently eat clean food as it’s the healthiest for my body and I just can’t eat things that aren’t clean because it makes me sick to think about – you, too, can reach this point!

Spring 2011-Spring 2012: In 2011 I discovered a book on eating clean by Tosca Reno. She is AMAZING by the way and I recommend all of you learn about her. She taught me about eating clean and removing processed food from my life. I stopped getting fast food at this point (not that I ate that much fast food anyway, but I still did as well as eating lean cuisines and frozen meals-seriously vom). I started cooking chicken breasts, green beans, and sweet potatoes (back then I wrapped my potatoes in saran wrap in the microwave and ate them that way- 1/2 for lunch and 1/2 for dinner – WHICH by the way is disgusting and you should never do because saran wrap/plastic/COOKING food in the microwave is a huge no-no in my book now and causes cancer!) I started meal prepping and eating clean food consistently. I had oatmeal for breakfast (Quaker brand – sick – that is GMO supportive – now I only buy organic oats), with 2 hard-boiled egg whites and 1 egg, and I would put cinnamon and banana in my oats as well as flaxseeds. Snacks were almonds and an apple, plain Greek yogurt, and dinners/lunches like I said were always chicken, green beans, and sweet potato. I would occasionally cheat on Dove dark chocolate (would never happen today – I buy organic dark rarely if I need a treat) and I would drink red wine (not organic; now I only buy organic if I have any). I even had frozen pizza once a week (YIKES – I would never do that now). But you see, back then I was learning and I never really cooked so this was all new to me. I was and am human – so things take time. I still had “regular” cheats, but ate clean most of the time (now I eat clean 100% of the time). I worked out like crazy like I do now (5-6 days per week), but wasn’t eating enough – maybe 1800-2000 cals a day. I also ran a lot and went to spin class a lot – wasn’t lifting like I do now. My weight has not really changed though I will note – I am 5’6, 115/116 lbs now. Back then I was probably 111 or 113 lbs. So I have def gained muscle and love it 🙂

Fall 2012: I discovered the book WHEAT BELLY by Dr. William Davis. That is when I cut out gluten 100%. Dr.Davis explains why wheat/gluten is SO inflammatory and terrible for us. I really recommend you guys get the book and read it if you are teetering on the idea of going gluten free. It’s an awesome book; that man is very smart. I used to eat Ezekiel but I know I have mentioned before that my stomach was hurting and I wasn’t regular when I ate too much Ezekiel bread. I cut that out. I didn’t eat any gluten for probably over a year (I occasionally have a beer now, but I do still avoid gluten/wheat in food at all costs). So, it was around this time, too, that I started exploring with the Paleo lifestyle. I learned how to cook (I was living with my mom for a little while after graduate school).

Once again, it’s been a process. I still worked out…but was running less and lifting less and went to Bikram yoga more…because in Sept 2012 I was told by a doctor in Mobile, AL that I had to have scoliosis surgery (YIKES-a blog for a later time). I did go and get a second opinion in regards to my spine situation by Dr. Richard Fessler in CHICAGO, IL (this was in November 2012) I discovered (thanks to that amazing doc) that my spine curve was not nearly as bad as that original doctor claimed (really crazy…), and I didn’t need surgery! YAHOO. I cried tears of joy that day. I was definitely doing too much yoga at this time and not enough strength training as my back hurt a lot (who knows, maybe it’s because I was told I had to have spine surgery so mentally I told myself I should be in pain). ANYWAYS…

Spring 2013: Still avoiding gluten….I moved out of my mom’s house and got my own apartment with a friend. I started cooking on my own a lot more now. Always prepping my own meals and cooking my own food most of the time. I still had wine (a glass or two) almost every night (I do not do this now). I was working out at the apartment gym, running A LOT, lifting some, not heavy though. Still maintained my workout program of 5 days per week.

Summer 2014-2015: Moved to Birmingham, Alabama. Diet did not change. Still running but began to have knee pain…still lifting some but not as priority.

Late 2015-Present: Still in Birmingham! Really cut back on my running and started focusing on lifting HEAVY (probably since August I’ve been consistently lifting heavy every week)! My body feels better than it EVER HAS. I lift 5-6 days a week and run maybe 3 miles a week – mixing running in with my lifting. Lifting is priority. It’s the best way to keep your muscles healthy and prevent muscle loss as we age. So I lift and lift and lift! I do other types of cardio like rowing and cardio-type lifts that get your heart rate going. I rarely drink during the week, I try to limit consumption of peanut butter (also starting to prefer the taste of almond butter) too as it’s a legume and too much is inflammatory. My diet really has not changed at all besides that. Still eating clean food, mostly paleo, I just cook WAY more and way better than I used to. I eat the same food every week because it works for me and I love the food I eat. I eat it because I love it! I also eat more than I used to, and don’t count calories…probably eat anywhere between 2200 and 2500 cals on some days!! I cheat way less. aka never. I never have sweets unless it’s my almond butter brownies or occasionally organic dark chocolate. Weekly consumption of Talenti gelato has ceased (totally wrecked my sleep!).

Over the years I discovered how good eating clean makes me feel and how everything we eat affects us. Yes, everything. If you are consistently eating clean food and stay committed, you will so love your body and realize all the good things you are doing for it. Everything we eat either ages us, or goes against aging, and I prefer to anti-age through my diet. I learned to  love raw veggies as I know my body craves and needs them. I learned to love clean baked meats. I loved how I felt not eating gluten so I loved not eating that, too! And still do! Eating bread and dairy and processed food weighs you down and you just feel heavy, lethargic and crappy. So don’t be scared or discouraged by the thought of this diet. You can do it. Start small and know that it’s OK if you have a cheat. But think about how you feel afterwards…how does your body feel after eating donuts or french fries or fast food? What are those chemicals in all of that food doing to your insides?!

The thought of a donut actually grosses me out – it’s fried bread. It’s not delicious – it’s garbage. I could never eat a donut because it’s SO TERRIBLE for my body. I want to give my body 100% clean food! That’s how it’s easy for me to NOT overeat, or snack at night, or eat bad food. Because I know what that sh*t does to my body…and it’s nothing good. It’s all addictive. I look at it as poison/drugs. You gotta just start saying NO and eliminating it 100%. You can’t go have your lemon water, but then put sh*t creamer/sugar/artificial sugar in your coffee. You are negating all the positive effects of the lemon water. You can’t have a healthy chicken breast and broccoli and sweet potato lunch but then frozen pizza for dinner. Or m&ms as a snack. No. You just reversed all the good you did!! Do you understand? Every meal counts. Every snack counts. Every beverage counts – (I pretty much only drink water or black organic coffee on a daily basis). And you can’t un-do the damage of eating poorly by exercise. Eating clean and exercise go hand-in-hand.

So I will end this blog by saying: learn to love clean food. Eat it knowing you are doing GOOD for your body. You are flushing toxins out on a daily basis by eating clean 100% of the time. There is no 50% eating clean. Drink a gallon of water per day. Do it. Your taste buds will eventually begin to crave veggies like mine do – I crave them all the time! So I eat 5-7 servings per day at least. Start to count your servings, too. Aim to get more. Once you start to reap the benefits by a clean diet, there is no turning back and you will be like me! It’s super easy to eat clean for me and avoid fried food/cake/brownies/ice cream/crap. SO EASY. Because that stuff makes me feel terrible and it does no good for my body. There is no temptation there. You could put a huge box of hot donuts in front of me and I would be grossed out and actually FEEL SORRY for people that give into temptation and eat them…so gross! It’s fried bread and sugar. That is the worst thing for your body and your skin.

Also one more thing: quit the late night snacking. If you say you gotta have something to snack on at night, well, you probably are not eating enough good, clean food during the day so you want to binge at night. Don’t do this. I never snack at night after dinner nor do I want to snack because I eat PLENTY during the day! My breakfast is usually 600 cals alone! Don’t worry about calories y’all! If you just eat enough protein, clean healthy fat (avocados, coconut oil, raw cashews, raw almonds, raw almond butter), and a little bit of healthy starch aka sweet potatoes/organic oats/organic rice, you won’t want or need to snack after dinner. These are habits. Also, quit the alcohol habit at night because that, too, is a bad habit and I used to have to have a glass of wine at night but now I don’t ever crave it (because it screws up my sleep and I am aware of this and prefer to get good sleep so I can kill my workout at 530 AM the next day and look and feel amazing).

Questions or comments, as always, feel free to message me! As usual..I LOVE THIS STUFF Y’ALL! :-* now go make smart choices today!

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