When I first heard about clean eating, or the idea of eating foods that have very few ingredients and are processed minimally, junior year of high school, I got really into it right away. I ate mostly fruits and vegetables, as well as meat about once a day for several months. I felt a lot better than I had before, and ended up losing about 18 pounds that summer. To be honest, I’m not even sure how I did that.
I am a person who could eat an entire pizza if I believed in myself enough. Let’s just get that straight. Eventually, I got so sick of spinach salad, that I couldn’t look at it anymore. I dove right back into my previous diet. It just wasn’t a lasting life change for me. And anyone trying to improve their diet, lose weight, or get more fit needs to make lasting changes that they can live with.
I’ll tell you something I can’t live with. Those “clean eating” or “organic” recipes on Pinterest that have a buttload of ingredients I’ve never heard of: coconut palm sugar, almond meal, eye of newt. I’ve tried recipes that don’t sound like they’re going to turn out so good, black bean brownies for example. And I gave it my darndest shot, but they were just nasty.
The good news is there’s hope! You don’t have to go all out if you want to eat healthier. Simple changes can make a big difference. Substitute some of the white sugar in baking recipes for honey, or use plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream. If you want more calcium, drink almond milk which has no sugar, and is only 30 calories per cup. Try adding some plain oats to your oatmeal packet, or even skip out on the whipped cream on your coffee.
If you’re pretty good at watching your calories, don’t worry about writing down everything you ate; write down everything you didn’t eat. I’m talking about the cake in the lunch room at work. The bag of chips you left in the cupboard. The ice cream store you willed yourself not to drive to. If you see all of the things that tempted you, and how you overcame them, it will get easier.
So, have I answered the question in the title? I’m not actually sure. But I am sure that eating more fruits and vegetables than packaged trans fat deliciousness is important. You’ll feel so much better when your body is full of nutrients, and you’re eating to live instead of vice versa. Ahem, I am speaking to myself here more than anything. It’s hard! Good luck out there.
What tips do you have for eating healthy? What are your experiences with clean eating?