Category Archives: Nutriton

There are two times when a woman can gain Fat Cells

Did you know that there are two times in your life when you gain fat cells? I do not mean gain weight by filling fat cells, I mean actually acquiring additional cells which increases the amount of fat you can potentially store. These two times are when you are a child and when you are pregnant. both gain fat Ironically, it is when women are pregnant that they are the most likely to over eat. We simply say we are "Eating For 2". Well news flash, you are eating for like 1.2 people. That tiny person inside does not need its own 8 ounce steak and baked potato. In fact, a pregnant mother only really needs around 350-450 extra calories per day to support a growing fetus. Yet many women will give in to the temptation of excess food because there is an idea that it's ok because "I am pregnant". What they usually do not know is that they are not only packing on baby fat, they are adding additional fat cells and they will NEVER go away. You can lose fat, but the cells are with you for life. The other instance when we as humans develop fat cells is as children while we are developing. It is for this reason that childhood obesity is becoming such a problem. Many parents tell themselves that their child will grow into the extra pounds and struggle to say no when their child is crying for junk food. It is so much easier to just give in. What they do not realize is that they are allowing their child to gain extra fat cells. The extra cells will make weight gain more of an issue for the rest of the child's life. Again, any excess cells gained during this period are with you FOREVER. Thus making the likelihood of diabetes as an adult more likely. fat-cells This is all information I was shocked to hear and being that I am so informed when it comes to health and fitness and yet I did not know, I am compelled to share. Information is power so please share this. You may make post par-tum weight loss a lot easier for a future mommy out there or help a parent do what is best for their child. Saying no is hard but knowing that they are making their adult life better makes it easier.

What is The 21 Day Fix? Does it really work?

The 21 Day fix is a workout routine combined with a portion control system that have been optimized and made super simple for anyone to follow. For starters, the workouts are 7 days per week for 3 weeks and only 30 minutes long. The daily workouts include: upper/lower body, cardio, yoga and Pilates. Workouts are broken down into 60 second intervals. You can do ANYTHING for 60 seconds. And of course there is a modifier. If you find you are having a hard time, just modify. It gets easier, promise. And now for the good stuff, the portion control system. Autumn Calabrese designed a color coded container system. Each container is a different color and size. The color is specific to the type of food like veggies for green or proteins for red. And the size is perfect for exactly one portion of that food. If you are allowed one protein, you fill the red container and that is your portion, easy peasy. Below is a list of approved foods for each colored container and there is even an ap available for your phone called "The  21 Day Fix Tracker" that I absolutely suggest yo download for 99 cents. It spells out what can go in each container as well. When on the Fix, your allotted containers depends on your weight and varies from 1,200 - 2,300 calories. Once you know exactly what your calorie intake will be, you can distribute your containers throughout the day and design a meal plan as you choose. I strongly suggest you shoot for 5-6 meals. And be proactive, don't just start checking off the containers as you eat them. Sit down and make a meal plan. This may take a little time up front but will actually save you money. I have cut my grocery bill in half, yes in HALF following the fix. I don't over buy anything and my portions are so much smaller. Here is an example meal plan to give you an idea of what a typical day can look like.   The next big thing you have to do is put the food on a plate. DO NOT eat right out of the container. Yes they are cute and convenient but the whole point of the portion control system is to train yourself what a normal portion looks like. So use the containers to measure and then arrange the food on a plate. This really helps train your brain so that when you are in a situation where you do not have your containers or are not on the fix, you have a good idea of how much food you should put on your plate. So follow this rule, MEASURE AND POUR. put on plate Want to take the fix to the next level, add Shakeology. Shakeology is your daily dose of dense nutrition and the healthiest meal of the day. And best of all it only accounts for one red container. That's right, just ONE!!!!!! Unlesss you add milk then it adds a yellow. Shakeology comes in 6 flavors and is loaded with everything you are missing. So make the commitment to yourself and give it a shot. With the Empty Bag policy, you have nothing to lose. Lastly, reap the rewards of all your hard work. These are true 21 day results from The 21 Day Fix. What more can be said, the Fix works. And it works because it masters and simplifies the hardest part of any diet program, THE DIET. The fix is not like other programs that severely restrict calories or have you eating only hot sauce and lemon juice or whatever all those other CRAZY diet fads are. You are eating real food and often. You are not hungry and you get in a killer workout that does not kill you. If you are looking for a starter program, this is it. I personally use it and strongly endorse it because it works.

The truth about Breast Cancer

Consuming-high-fat-diet The occurrence of breast cancer is growing at an astounding rate. I was aware but never gave it the attention it deserves until just a few weeks ago when my own mother told me she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. And like many others I asked myself WHY???? Why is it that more women and even men are being diagnosed with cancer today compared to 50 years ago? The answer is in the food we consume and in our daily habits. breast-cancer-prevention-300x224 Have you ever thought that what you fork into your mouth can actually be making you sick? Well sadly it is very possible and very likely due to the lack of limitations and guidelines being set on the food industry today. Diet is thought to be responsible for 30% - 40% of all cancers. That being said there is no food that can solely prevent cancer. However there are some foods you can enjoy, others you need to avoid, and actions you can take daily to get your body the healthiest it can be, boost your immune system, and keep your risk of cancer as low as possible. Research has shown that getting a variety of nutrients from foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains will make you feel your best and fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to function properly and fight off diseases. Getting adequate nutrients is more difficult due to over-cropping in the united states so ensure to supplement where necessary. At the cellular level doctors have discovered that cancer is actually caused by  damaged DNA. And how is DNA damaged? Well pesticides for one will do the trick. So avoid food riddled with pesticides. When it comes to fruits and veggies, if it lasts abnormally long it is probably due to all the toxic garbage they put on it to keep the bugs from eating it. If a bug wont eat it, why should you? Scary thought right? So try and eat as organic as possible and always wash your fruits and vegetables. Research has also shown that a diet high in fat can lead to being overweight or obese which is a breast cancer risk factor. So avoid high fat foods and incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your diet. To maintain your weight, EXERCISE!!! Yes, we all say we plan to do it but we absolutely NEED to. Today's jobs are much more sedentary than they were 50 years ago and the lack of movement is increasing the inches around our waistline...and everywhere else for that matter. So get up and move...buy a bike, join a gym, get an at home workout video, DO SOMETHING!!!! And do it regularly. Once a day is not what the doctor ordered. Shoot for a minimum of 30 minutes 5 days per week. People like lists so here is a good list of things to do to get you on track to help not be another breast cancer statistic. Be proactive and take care of your body. To Do List: 1) Eat lots of veggies and fruits - More veggies than fruit and at least 5 cups per day. For fruit, try and stick to berries whenever possible. I personally drink Shakeology daily to get my daily dose of dense nutrition but find what works for you. Perhaps start growing a garden. 2) Limit Fat intake - Choose leaner options of meat like chicken breast or  turkey, limit dairy, and avoid fried at all cost. 3) EAT CLEAN - Avoid processed anything whenever possible. This is due to the high levels of salt and sugar in processed food. Processed food aids in weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes. ALL BAD!!!! So buy the whole chicken and whole cuts of meat. 4) Eat smaller portions more frequently. This means eating 5-6 small meals per day instead of 2-3 large ones. This will keep your blood sugar regulated and energy level high throughout the day. Energy is always a good thing. 5) Get a workout routine. It does not matter what it is but get your blood pumping. I personally use at home workout videos. If you want to go that route, shoot me a message on Facebook. images   Whether you have never had cancer, survived cancer, or currently have cancer, take care of yourself and others you love. Share this content with them and keep them informed. No one deserves this and there is so much we can do to fight it before a diagnosis. Make the changes necessary. I can do it, my mom can do it, and you can do it. BE THE CHANGE!!!!!  

I fell off the wagon and gained back 20 lbs, ugh

I think it is time that I be honest with myself and embrace the fact that I have totally made every excuse for not following my diet and skipping my exercises. I worked so hard for a year to lose 40 lbs and reverse my PCOS.  I got down to 135 lbs which may be high for some but with my muscular 5'6 frame was a perfect weight. I never felt better in my whole life. Here is my original transformation results at about 140 lbs: Then the excuses started..... I sold my house and moved into a rental property until we could find something to buy. Anyone who has every sold a house knows that finding the perfect buyer for your house and the perfect house to buy at the same time and have both escrows close smoothly is very hard. The sun, moon, and stars have to align.....lol. Anyways, life kind of went crazy from that point. We found a great rental but it was not HOME. My husbands health tanked which we later discovered was adrenal fatigue (from abusing pre-workout, don't do it). And of course there is always work and having too much fun trying out all the restaurants in the new town we moved into. So yes blah blah blah, I had tons of excuses to abuse my body and here I am back to 153 lbs. Actually I got as high as 160 a month ago and that is when I really felt like crap about myself. Check it out: These photos I took the night I got home from my Hawaiian vacation in September almost exactly a month ago. I saw 162 on the scale!!!!! I almost cried. How did I let this happen? I mean seriously? The weight just slowly but surely crept on and voila, now my pants don't fit. I can actually pinpoint the exact things that got me back to this point: 1 - Alcohol!!! I got right back to the habit of having too much fun and drinking when quite honestly, there was no need. Check out my article on booze and how is sabotages your weight loss. 2 - Carbs!!! The second I moved down the street to an amazing Mexican Food restaurant, I made a weekly habit of over eating the chips and salsa which are my weakness and this just grew into eating excess carbs daily. 3 - Sugar!!! I started off by rewarding myself for a good job moving and getting through escrow with my favorite Reeses Pieces and before I know it, I was buying all kinds of sweets regularly and after a few weeks, I was right back to having crazy sweet cravings. I am sure my insulin resistance started coming back at this point. 4 - Quit working out!!!!! This hurt me the most because my workouts help with my energy and as I lost muscle, the fat started caking on. I traded those muscular curves for a more dumpling type of curve. Not cool!!! Enough feeling sorry for myself, I have been getting back into my routine and started a program called The 21 Day Fix. I chose this program because the workouts are only 30 minutes long and it comes with a portion control system which is key to dropping the weight. I don't plan to take a year to lose the weight when I know it can be done in a few months. So as of today I am at 153 which is already much better and I plan to be back into my size 4 jeans by Christmas. I will post my full transformation #2 after I complete the program. I just think it is an important step to admit that I am to blame for where I am BUT that I can get back to where I was. For any of you that are really beating yourself up, STOP!!!! Just decide right now to move the slight edge in the opposite direction and every day you will inch your way closer and closer to your goal. I know when I started my first transformation at 174 lbs I didn't know what I was capable of but I wanted it bad and just did what needed to be done every day. Before I knew it, I blew past my original goal of 160 lbs and then 150 lbs and even 140 lbs to end up at 135. NEVER in a million years would I have thought I could get to that weight. Well having started my second transformation, I know this time that I absolutely CAN and have. So never give up. I did it and will do it again. You can do it too. In it together, be the change. Ciao, Jenn If you would like to hear my full story and original transformation, here you go. If you would like to join me in doing The 21 Day Fix, then send me a friend request on facebook and I will get you the details.

Is Alcohol Sabotaging Your Weight loss??

  alcohol As someone that has suffered from Alcoholism for many years, I have experienced first hand the role alcohol plays with weight loss or lack thereof. The biggest mistake dieters make in regards to alcohol is to either have "just one glass" of wine daily or to only drink on weekends but be soooooo good during the week. Well sorry, that does not help you get results, at least not at a good healthy pace. Let me explain why. Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and beverages. Under normal conditions, your body gets energy from calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins which are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system. However, this digestive process changes when alcohol is present. When you drink alcohol, it gets immediate attention (because it is viewed by the body as a toxin) and needs no digestion. When the body is focused on processing alcohol, its not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, these calories are converted into body fat and are carried away for permanent storage (FAT). So in short, it is not the calories of the alcohol that make you fat, but all the crap that you eat with it. And we all know how hard it is to resist salty greasy food when you are drinking. So now you understand why you can't lose weight while drinking on the weekends but what about the 5 days during the week when you are "Good"? Let me explain what happens there. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation. Your bodies natural defense to this severe dehydration is to retain water. I can guarantee that after a night of drinking, you notice a gain up to 4 pounds the next day. However, on days that you really over do it, you will wake up all dehydrated, feeling skinny with a severe hangover from binge drinking. But later in the day after you start drinking water you will see the excess weight which will stick with you for the 2 days that follow. It takes the body up to 3 days to recover from a binger and during this recovery period, you WILL NOT LOSE FAT! Your body is simply not primed to focus on burning calories from fat when it is working to repair the damage from drinking. So as you can see, if you are a "WEEKEND DRINKER", that means that you are not losing weight:
  1. Friday - Saturday while drinking. In fact you store fat during these days.
  2. Sunday - Tuesday while your body is recovering.
This means that you have Wednesday - Thursday to actually get some successful fat calorie burning. Likely most of this calorie burning is simply working off the calories stored during the weekend. It is easy to see how this cycle sabotages any weight loss. This is a perfectly fine lifestyle for someone that is maintaining their weight as long as they are cautious about food calories and continue to workout but for someone trying to actually lose weight, fat chance!!! Sorry but its the truth and I lived it for YEARS. I am an expert of this cycle. In fact I drank many weekdays also in my past. And my weight just continued to rise until I topped off at 174 pounds and finally had enough. For those of you that are serious about dropping fat and getting healthy, kick the booze, at last for a few months. Don't fall into the skinny margarita trap. If you want to see my own story and results Here You Go.  

A Stripped Down Meal Plan

A stripped down meal plan is not a lifestyle. It is designed to help you with the last 10 lbs or to get you read for an event. This is not an option if you are just starting your weight loss journey or have a lot of weight left to lose. It follows the basic principles of eating clean but really strips it down. The basic Clean Eating Principles are:
  1. Eat more often. Eat 6 small meals every day spaced about 2-3 hours apart
  2. Make sure your last meal is at least 3 hours before you go to bed
  3. Eat breakfast EVERY day. You need to start with fuel in AM to boost your metabolism.
  4. Eat Fats but Healthy Fats every day.
  5. Eat carbs (grain or fruit) always with a protein
  6. Drink 2-3 liters of water daily (Your weight divided by 2 in ounces is a minimum)
  7. Carry a cooler packed with your meals so you always have healthy food available
  8. Depend of fresh fruits and veggies for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  9. Be mindful of portion sizes. You likely need much less food than you think.
  10. Do not eat anything processed. Stick to foods with less than 6 ingredients.
The last 10 pounds will be the most difficult and stubborn so to do it in a healthy way, without depriving yourself and sacrificing nutrition, you need to supplement your diet with an abundance of fruits and veggeis. Examples of good veggies: Yams, bell peppers, cucumber, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, spinach, zucchini, green beans, radishes, onion, and my favorite garlic. Examples of good fruits: Apples, berries, cherries, tomatoes (yes a fruit), limes, lemons, apricots, and oranges. Great Protein Sources include: Eggs, lean fish, lean turkey, chicken, shrimp, bison (very low fat red meat), quinoa, hummus, tofu and tempeh. Healthy Fat options include: Nuts (almonds and walnuts), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), avocados (my favorite fat), and oils (sesame, coconut, olive, walnut, flaxseed and fish). So here is a ideal Strip Down Day including workout: 4:00 am - Get up early and do my workout (T25, Turbo Fire, or Chalean Extreme for me) 5:00 am - Breakfast - One piece of whole grain bread, 1 egg, and 1/4 avocado egg] 8:00 am - Snack - Vanilla Shakeology shaked with water and two Tbsp of powder peanut butter. Shakeology is a meal replacement shake and to read more about it: (What is Shakeolog) shakeology 11:00 am - Lunch - Raw Spinach, chopped onion, garbanzo beans, tomato, 6 oz baked chicken, and an olive oil based wasabi salad dressing. 2:00 pm - Snack - A cup of berries and a handful of unsalted almonds 5:00 pm - Dinner - 6 oz Grilled Rock Fish, Grilled bell pepper and onion, and 1 cup quinoa dinner 8:00 pm - Off to bed and then start it all over again the next day 🙂 As you can see this is not a starvation diet. You still get to eat a lot of food. But to strip down I focus on cutting down dairy and carbohydrates (not carborexic though). And there is absolutely nothing processed on my meal plan.      

Good protein sources for vegetarians

Vegetarians run a high risk of low iron due to the fact that they do not consume animal meat which is a primary source of protein. So for those of you doing a vegetarian diet or lifestyle, here are some great sources of protein: 1. Beans and Lentils - They are the cheapest source of protein. So whether you prefer kidney, garbanzo, white, black, or pinto beans, buy lots of cans of beans, rinse and drain them to remove 40% of the sodium, and use them in everything.
  • White beans taste awesome in pasta
  • Garbanzo or edamame in stir-fries
  • Black beans and pinto in burritios, tacos and quesadillas
  • Lentils or kidney are great in salads and whole grain pita lunches.
To avoid toxins found in metal canned foods, buy an organic grand, look for frozen beans, or buy dried ones and cook them yourself. 2. Nuts and Seeds - Nuts contain 3 to 7 grams of protein per 1/3 cup serving depending on the type (peanuts and pine nuts have the most). Seeds have 2-5 grams per 1/3 cup serving depending on the type. As far as nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts are all good vegetarian protein sources. Sprinkle them on everything from salads to yogurt. As far as seeds, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower are great sources of protein. Perhaps try a seed butter on toast with jelly. I prefer jalapeno jelly. I like a little spice. 3. Chia seeds have some protein, not as much as nuts or legumes, but they have high nutritional value. They are an incredible source of fiber with nearly 11 grams of fiber in a single ounce. That is 1/2 your daily value of fiber. They contain 18% of your daily calcium requirement, which is more that triple the amount you get from a serving of milk. And they have no flavor so you can add a tablespoon to almost anything. Throw them in the blender with a shake or mix them in with some rice. They won't alter the flavor of anything you eat. 4. Tofu and Tempeh - Tofu has 8 grams of protein per serving while Tempeh has 18 grams per serving. Literally, use tofu in place of chicken in any recipe. You can make a burger with it or use it in chili or seasoned or broiled into a high-protein crouton on a salad. But look for organic products to avoid GMOs (genetically modified organism). If you are not a fan of the texture of soy or tempeh, you can try soy in the form of soy milk which has 8 grams of protein per glass. Do not make soy your main source of protein though because too much can cause issues with hormones in your body for both women and men. Aim for one serving of soy per day maximum. 5. Hemp - Hemp seeds contain 6 grams of protein per ounce and hemp milk has  2 grams per cup. So if you are freaked out by the potential affects on your hormones by soy, then hemp products are the next best choice. Hemp is sold as a dairy alternative or as seeds and is one of the very few plants proteins that supply you with all the essential amino acids. These acids are necessary to build muscle and create more protein. The fatty acids in hemp seeds and hemp milk also boost your immune system. 6. Eggs contain 6 grams of protein per egg. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value which is a measure of how well it supports your body's protein needs of any food, including beef. The yolks contain vitamin B12. 7. Greek Yogurt has 15 - 20 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving. All dairy sources are good sources of protein but Greek Yogurt contains the same amount of protein as a three ounce serving of lean meat. So top that off with a handful of nuts and you will get a large amount of your daily protein in a single meal. 8. Avocados contain 4 grams of protein per avocado. All veggies contain between 1 - 2 grams of protein per cup but avocados (which are technically a fruit) but avocados contain twice that. The protein in avocado also contains all nine essential amino acids. The same acids your body needs to build muscle. 9. Pseudograins - These are actually seeds that are cooked and served like grains. Some wonderful pseudograins include quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and wild rice. Pseudograins are a great alternative for people that have an intolerance to the gluten in wheat, barley and rye. However whole grains contain decent amounts of protein, wheat providing the highest plant based protein of any food. If you decide to eat corn, choose blue over the yellow and white because it has 30% more protein.   So as you can see there are lots of options and alternatives to get appropriate amounts of protein in the diet when following a vegetarian lifestyle.  

Tips to Get Started Eating Clean Now

Are you ready mentally to start eating clean but have no idea where to start? Are you struggling with how to ditch your old habits? I have some tips for you to make the transition a little smoother. 1) You need to first sit down and decide what "Eating Clean" means to you. It can be defined differently for everyone. You may choose not to eat organic vegetables to save money for instance and that is fine. When I first started my Eat Clean Basics were:
  • Nothing White. This means no sugar, white flour (includes pasta, bread, muffins, etc), no white rice. Literally tell yourself, if its white and is not a vegetable or fruit, its off limits. Some products are not white but have multiple ingredients so this requires you to read labels and make sure none of the offending items are in it.
  • No Alcohol. This was a big sacrifice for me at first because I was in my 20's with no children when I started eating clean. But it was a necessary sacrifice I would make 100 times over.
  • Eat Healthy Sources of Fats. Make sure that you are getting your fats from natural healthy sources. Some great options are: avocado, olive oil coconut oil, and nuts.
  • Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats. Quite honestly, you have a large variety of food available to you when eating clean it just may not be familiar to you.....yet. So try out some new recipe ideas with ingredients you have never tried before. You may find some whole foods you never knew you loved. And a big key to keep in mind is that you should never feel hungry or deprived. If you are doing it correctly, you will be moderately hungry before it is time for you to eat again. Staving off the hunger feeling will dramatically help with the sugar cravings and within a few weeks they should be gone completely.
  • Treat Yourself. If there is something you just really love that is off limits when eating clean then it is acceptable and recommended to treat yourself occasionally. Be mindful though that this is a "cheat meal" and not an entire day or week. It is best to decide when you will have your cheat meal and how often. Make it part of your prep. This is your treat so have it and enjoy it but do not go overboard with it. If you choose to have some cake, don't eat the whole cake. Stick to the normal serving of that particular item. I personally love frozen yogurt covered with rainbow sprinkles and butterfinger so I get it on the way home from work almost every Friday.
  • Stock a clean eating pantry and load the fridge up with fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. If you are looking for convenience stock your freezer with the frozen varieties. Just be sure the frozen fruit does not have added sugar.
2) Clean out the fridge and pantry. First of all discard all the expired stuff and start reading labels. If you find anything with ingredients that are not "clean" or that you cannot pronounce, throw it away. Or if you feel bad throwing stuff away like I did, send a food care package to someone that would really appreciate it. And throw away anything that says "fat free"!! That screams processed food. The only fat free food you should consume is fat free Greek yogurt. 3) Make a grocery list. The first grocery store (or stores) trip will be a big one because several things can and should be purchased in bulk. So budget accordingly or limit your variety the first week so that you are not buying everything in one trip. For instance, maybe decide to get the quinoa in bulk on the first week trip and then a big bag of rice on the next trip. Or olive oil this time and coconut oil next time. This will limit the variety of food but it wont hit the pocket book as hard. And build up your spice variety as you go. Spices can be expensive but they go a long way so maybe just get a few each trip. Here is a great shipping list for beginners. 4) Use shopping day as Prep day too. Don't under estimate how much time it takes to prep food. Try and get your grocery shopping done early in the day and get right to prep when you get home. I like to buy lots of veggies for stir fries and do all the chopping on Sunday. If you have ever made fajitas or stir fry, you know that it takes about 30 minutes just to cut up all the veggies. That is a lot of time to spend during the week after a long day at work. As much as I love coming home to a clean house, I love coming home to an easy to make dinner. Pre-chopping cuts the time to make dinner in half. I also like to make a batch of my dutch oven chicken on Sunday which I use in salads, wraps, etc throughout the week. I also make a large batch of my quinoa/rice recipe which I will use with dinners or fry up with some egg whites to make myself an Asian style fried quinoa/rice (this is the bomb.com). Find all my recipes and videos here. 5) Buy a cooler or lunch bag. I personally have a lunch bag that I use to keep my snacks and lunch cold in for work. You can pick these up cheap on amazon and go crazy and get a fun color. The cooler is key because you have all your meals for the work day in one spot and easily accessible. The best part is that you can take food that needs to be refrigerated when you work in a place that does not have a refrigerator accessible. 6) Give yourself time to adjust. If you are intimidated by all the changes then take it one step at a time. Slowly take things away and start adding new foods into your diet. Start with substitutions like greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise and cut out the soda and fast food. This is your lifestyle so you need to change it at your own speed. Some people are able to do this in one fail swoop and others need baby step their way along. Small changes are still changes so you will be on the right track. I really hope these tips help you feel less intimidated and ready to take control of your health. Remember that eating clean is a lifestyle choice and not a diet so don't treat it as something you are dreading. Make it fun. Add your own fun flair and prepare yourself to reap the benefits of eating clean. Eating Clean has changed my life. If you want to hear how I managed to transform my lifestyle, here is my story.

What is Eating Clean?

eat clean1 Eating clean means to consume food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. By eating foods in their natural state, you remove a lot of exposure to toxins that are used in processed foods. Most important to recognize about eating clean is that it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation. This leads to an improved life one meal at a time. If you follow these methods, you are on track to looking and feeling like a better version of yourself: 1 - Eat lots of Plants - Eat fruits and vegetables in their natural form or as close to it as possible. Preferably in the form which they were harvested. This means lettuce simply chopped and fruit freshly picked. However for some vegetables, you may steam or cook to change the texture if that makes them more palatable. For instance, I love broccoli but just like it a little softer so I steam it. It is still close to its natural form and actually it has been proven that steaming your vegetables breaks down the cell wall of the plant cells and makes it easier for your body to absorb the naturally occurring nutrients. Just don't over cook the veggies because then you do the opposite and destroy the nutrients. I like to steam until they veggies are bright green. If they are turning yellow, you cooked them too long. 2 - Include Meats - If possible get your meat from a butcher and not processed. If you want ground meat, buy it an ask the butcher to grind it for you. That way you know there are no mystery ingredients in your ground meat. Try to incorporate different types of meat like chicken, turkey, fish, etc. And limit your red meat to one day per week. Avoid canned or processed meat of all kinds and this includes: canned tuna, spam, and lunch meat (unless cut at a deli from a larger cut of unprocessed meat). 3 - Enjoy Grains - You NEED carbs so don't listen to people that do crash diets and are "carborexic" for weeks on end. Yes they lose weight but they put it all back on when they start eating carbs again. That type of diet is not a lifestyle and not sustainable. Eat grains that are "whole" and have not been broken down. Some great forms of grains to eat are: quinoa, Brown rice, Barley, Millet, Farro, Buckwheat, Kamut, Amaranth, and Oats. Follow a general rule that "white" is processed. The reason grains are processed is to remove the part of the grain with the shorter shelf life and leave the parts that will sustain longer. This is how companies have cut back on losing product because it has gone bad. Companies know it has less health benefit after being processed but it has a greater financial benefit for them. And make sure when you buy whole grain that it is really whole grain. This leads to my next point.... food label 4 - Read Labels - A company is allowed to call a product "whole grain" as long as the main ingredient is truly whole grain. So as long as the bread is 51% whole grain, they slap it on the label. So read the ingredient list. The ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance. If the second ingredient is a non-whole grain, don't buy it because it is not a true "whole grain". 5 - Eat Fewer Ingredients - Read labels and try and buy foods that have fewer than 6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And make sure you can recognize and pronounce all of the ingredients. Companies like to add fillers to save money and they are generally loaded with sugar. 6 - Eat 5-6 small meals per day - Eating multiple smaller meals helps to maintain a good glucose level in your body and prevents sugar spikes. Granted, this is assuming you are eating foods that are not loaded with sugar. Regarding sugar..... 7 - Keep sugar in check - You are allowed to eat naturally occurring sugar (fruit for instance) but keep a limit on it. Fruit is 100% natural and also loaded with sugar. Limit yourself to 3 servings of fruit per day. Also be mindful that grains are a form of sugar. The grain is broken down into sugar in your body and then is used for energy. If sugar is not used, it is stored.....we know how that goes. Try and consume most of your grains and fruit before 2 pm so your body has an opportunity to break down the sugar before you go to bed. I think the French really got it right by making lunch their biggest meal of the day. Keep dinner lite, mostly protein and veggies. 8 - Drink your share of water - Your body NEEDS water to function properly. In fact, water is the most important thing you put in your body every day. There is no point in eating clean food unless you are going to give your body the water it needs to function and make the good food (fuel) you put into your body work to provide energy. To calculate how much water you should drink daily, take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. The result is the number of ounces of water you need to consume daily. In Conclusion This may be very overwhelming if you are new to eating clean but don't let that stop you from making the good and necessary changes to reclaim your health. Just baby step your way along. Start by cutting out fast food while adding more meat which, yes, you need to cook. Sorry, you need to figure that out. Then start removing boxed foods from your diet. Then lastly, remove foods from the dairy section of the grocery store. This will be the hardest step but dairy is VERY processed. But if you cannot give it up 100% then at least choose harder cheeses and low sugar varieties. But for those of you that are 100% ready to eat clean, I like to follow the rule of shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. All the fresh food with be in the perimeter in the produce section and meat department. You can do this. Your body will thank you for it.   I used the principles of Clean Eating and Exercise to lose 40 lbs and naturally reverse my PCOS. So I know it can be done. See how I did it.