Clean(ish) Eating Doesn’t Suck…

Forgive me internet, for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last blog entry. What can I say? Grad school + full time job + part-time job = no time for blogging. I’m back, and maybe this summer I’ll be a bit more consistant. 

So…part of the whole “I’m running a Marathon next year” thing means fixing the diet. Now, I don’t know about you people but I HATE dieting. It sucks. Big time. Mostly because I love food. I mean, it tastes good, it fills you up, what’s not to love? I have decided to ditch the diets. I can’t do it. I hate them, I resent them, and I always cheat. Always. No. The new “diet” is more of a change of lifestyle. Not a harsh “you may only eat 1300 calories a day and if you eat more you will DIE” kind of thing, but a “lets try and turn around some of those bad eating habits.” This actually started a few years ago when someone showed me a video on how they made chicken nuggets. I’ll let you watch this one because it does a very…thorough job of explaining the process. 

watch the video

Gross, right? Well, a bit more research and I was off sodas, most fast food and a lot of other things. Which brings me to the new “diet”…I mean, “eating lifestyle”. I have decided to do what I call “Clean-ish” or “Clean-er” eating. I’m not a) rich enough or b) dedicated enough to go full-on clean eating. So what is clean eating, you ask? Well, basically, it boils down to cutting out the CRAP (yes, there is an acronym!)

C – carbonated drinks (I used to be a MAJOR diet coke junkie)
R – refined sugars (pretty much anything white. Whole Wheat is your friend.)
A – artificial sweeteners and colors* (ketchup should NEVER be green)
P – processed foods (seriously, read some of the stuff that’s in your food!) 

*total side note, but some studies have linked certain food dyes to the prevalence of ADD and ADHD in children. It’s pretty gross when you realize some of the artificial dyes were made from petroleum. This is straight from the FDA, you can read it all here
All color additives required to be listed by FDA fall into two categories: those that are subject to FDA’s certification process and those that are exempt from the certification process. Color additives subject to batch certification are synthetic organic dyes, lakes, or pigments. Those for food use are chemically classified as azo, xanthene, triphenylmethane, and indigoid dyes. Although certifiable color additives have been called coal-tar colors because of their traditional origins, today they are synthesized mainly from raw materials obtained from petroleum.”

Let’s all say it together: “ewwwwwwwww” 

this is an avocado. it is yummy. eat one.

So what can you eat that doesn’t completely gross you out? Turns out, you can eat a LOT.
See that? That is an avocado  These guys are PACKED with nutrients and are a great alternative to mayonaise. That’s right. You can mix them with tuna or chicken or eggs and it is yum-tastic. The avocado has the good kind of fat, and tons of protein. Since clean eating requires eating less carbs, these guys are great, and filling, substitutions. 

Here’s the thing about “clean-ish” eating: I’m not going to beat myself up over having a roll at Sunday lunch. Do I eat ice cream? Yep. Do I sometimes eat Chick-Fil-A because I used to work at one and I know where the food comes from? Yep. But I also eat organic fruits and veggies EVERY meal (almost), replace white with wheat whenever I can, and I don’t eat crazy processed stuff, like Pop Tarts and Fruit Roll-Ups and don’t even get me started on Splenda. Seriously. If you’re going to eat something with butter, don’t try to be “healthy” and put margarine in instead. It’s better to eat the fat in the butter than the chemicals in margarine. Your body was designed to process the natural fats in butter faster than the synthesized, processed nonsense in margarine.

That’s why I’m not on a diet. I know enough about myself to know I’m never going to stick with anything restrictive or that doesn’t fill me up or taste good. Clean eating means I still get to eat what I like, I just have to make a better decision about where it comes from. For instance, organic chicken with squash over couscous with some crazy awesome seasoning? Talk about yummy. And it beats any box-created rice dish any day AND it is much healthier. Once you start to eat the cleaner stuff, and cooking for yourself, you really start to realize that the stuff you were eating doesn’t even compare. Seriously, I don’t even want french fries because I’d much rather make panko-encrusted baked zucchini sticks. They’re healthier and I think they taste better. Not sure? Try it for a week. Do some research. Change one thing you eat. See if it starts to make a difference.

So I’ve got the eating part down 90% of the time and I’m okay with the other 10% not being perfect. Now all I have to do is get my lazy butt up and get to the gym. But that is a battle for another day…