A couple of days ago I explained that the graphic above shows what I like to call “The Circle of Having a Clean Health Journey”. In this journey there are 4 steps: Mind, Nutrition, Mind (again) and Fitness. Each of these steps repeat themselves by continuing to go around and around the circle. You can start this journey at any time, but remember that this is your new lifestyle; it’s not a quick fix. These are things that you will do every day to continue to make yourself healthy. If you fall off the journey, just remember you can always hop back on. That’s the nice thing about health journeys…they will always take you back! So, let the journey continue!
Step #2: NUTRITION
Nutrition is the second step of the health journey because once you know “WHY” you’re going on a health journey and you are in the right mindset, it’s time to take care of your internal self before you begin with anything external. The food that you consume creates the experiences you have, because what you eat directly affects your physical, mental and emotional health. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “You Are What You Eat”. Well, it’s true. Think about it… if you eat crap (fast food, junk food, food-like substances, etc), you tend to feel like crap (sluggish, depressed, brain fog, angry, bloated, just blah, etc.). But when you eat healthy (anything clean and unprocessed) you feel healthy (energetic, productive, happy, grateful, thin, beautiful, etc.). When you eat foods that are found in nature and can be combined to make meals that you enjoy, you’ll begin to notice a significant difference that you probably haven’t experienced in a long time (or possibly ever). These whole foods will help give you energy, improve indigestion, help you sleep better, make you happier, clear up your skin, and the list goes on.
What is clean eating?
The definition of clean eating varies from person to person, but the general consensus is eating whole unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible. Otherwise meaning there are no additives, preservatives or anything artificial. For me, it means not only cutting out all processed foods but all sugars not found in their natural state (this includes any sugar you can buy in the baking aisle!) and artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Sweet and Low, etc). Also, in an effort to eat clean foods, I try to eat as many organic and GMO-Free fruits, vegetables and meats (grass fed) that I can, so there are the least amount of chemicals going into my body as possible.
Examples of Clean Foods:
- Fresh Veggies (spinach, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, avocados, asparagus, squash, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, etc.)
- Fresh Fruits (berries, apples, pears, oranges, melons, grapes, cherries, peaches, bananas, etc)
- Whole Grains (quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, etc.)
- Meat, Poultry and Fish (beef, chicken, pork, turkey, bison, wild caught salmon, shrimp, etc. – no hormones and grass fed if possible)
- Healthy Fats and Oils (avocados, nuts, seeds, hummus, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, etc.)
- Natural Sweeteners (raw honey, pure maple syrup, pure vanilla extract, etc.)
- Organic and natural dairy products (in small amounts).
- Non-Dairy Milk (almond milk or coconut milk)
- Filtered Water (always keep yourself hydrated with water!)
- Herbal Teas (limit to once a day)
- Coffee (limit to once a day)
- Spices (fresh or dried)
- Mustards and Vinegars (make sure there are no added sugars or other additives)
What to Avoid:
- Fast Food
- Soda, Pop, Coke, or whatever else you call it. If it’s carbonated, just say no.
- Sugary drinks like sports drinks, bottled lemonade, energy drinks, and fruit juices.
- Artificial Sweeteners. If it says it’s “Sugar-Free” or “Diet”, then it has artificial sweeteners in it.
- Anything that says “Fat Free” or “Low Fat” because it probably has added sugar.
- Pre-packaged foods that have more than 5 or 6 ingredients and anything you can’t pronounce
- Artificial Flavors
- Food Dyes
- Table Salt
- Processed Sugar (white sugar that you bake with counts!)
- Refined carbs (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.)
- Hydrogenated Oils (canola, soybean, vegetable, Crisco, etc.)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Anything that can be sold on a shelf but in it’s natural state should be refrigerated (Velveeta is a great example of this)
Tips on How to Get Started:
- Clean out your pantry and fridge of any food like substance and what’s on the avoid list above.
- Read the ingredients on all labels of everything you buy. Even if it’s packaged fruits and vegetables!
- Focus on the foods you can have, instead of what you can’t have.
- Make a meal plan and shopping list before you buy your groceries and only buy what’s on your list.
- Limit yourself to eating out only once or twice a week. And when you do, eat at a local restaurant; meaning no fast food or chains.
- Drink lots of water and limit yourself to one cup of coffee or herbal tea a day.
- Eat good, healthy fats to balance blood sugar and keep you energized throughout the day.
- If you question if it’s good for you, then it probably isn’t. Go with your instinct.
In conclusion, what you eat effects how you are. We were built to eat things that are found in nature, not made in a factory. Eating clean, nutritious, whole foods will only exemplify the health in your mind and body. And, I’m sure you’ve seen this quote all over Pinterest, but I love it and I think it is perfect for this article:
You are what you eat, so don’t be Fast, Cheap, Easy or Fake!
Check back this week for the next step of The Circle of Having a Clean Health Journey: MIND (again).