When I started to figure out what I needed to do to lose weight I turned to the latest information, fad and challenge. I tried so many things and bought into everything I was hearing in the media. Calorie restriction was the first thing I tried. While eating 100 calorie snack packs for my 1 of 6 mini meals. I tried Atkins and made myself sick and depressed because not only could my body handle eating that much meat and cheese but I felt like a failure because I couldn’t torture myself that way more than a week at a time. I also tried a group challenge where I hired a trainer, worked out daily and followed the meal plan of my trainer. To the surprise of my trainer I only lost 15 pounds. It was a challenge to learn how to eat clean.
What I learned
It wasn’t until I took a Human Anatomy and Physiology class that I learned just how complex and amazing the human body is. I learned we are the proud owners of a complex, beautiful, individually unique chemistry lab. Everything we put into our body is either going to fuel it or gum it up. The fact is our body needs what it was created to use for fuel. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and fats. The body wants these things in the cleanest form possible.
Eating clean means eating whole food as pure as you can find it and mostly plant based.
Does this sound a little strange? The fact is our food industry has become so polluted by GMO and pesticides that real food is now labeled Organic and certified and the polluted food covered in pesticides and processed is NOT. We are paying more for real, unprocessed clean food. Let that sink in a minute. No wonder, it was a challenge to learn how to eat clean.
I could write so much on how things got to this point but you are not here for a history lesson. You are here to know how to improve your health, get more energy, feel better and maybe lose a little weight in the process. That was my goal when I started. I knew I needed to lose weight but I didn’t want to do it in an unhealthy way. I definitely didn’t want to be on a never-ending yo-yo rollercoaster. I’m going to let you in on a little secret…. it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to eat clean and improve your health. What you are going to find is FREEDOM from all the things that cause stress when it comes to food.
So lets break this down.
Whole Food Plant Based is the focus of a healthy dietary plan.
Whole food is any food that has not been processed. This means shopping the outer isles of the grocery store. The more you buy from the produce section the better. Now everyone’s lifestyle is different. Maybe you can only grocery shop once a week and buying fresh is just not reasonable. If this is the case for you then you will want to choose frozen over canned. Like I said at the start, whole food in its purest form.
Best Options for Produce in descending order
- Fresh Produce – Organic, Non-GMO
- Frozen – Organic, Non-GMO
- Canned – Organic, Non-GMO
Don’t stress if you can’t find what you are looking for in Organic. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, organic or not, will always be the better choice over the processed fake food you have been eating out of convenience.
Focus on what you like. There is no point forcing yourself to eat things you don’t enjoy. You won’t keep it up and besides life is to short to not enjoy the food you eat.
If you choose to eat meat try to get it local. Get to know your local farmers, shop the farmers markets. Also, limit the amount of meat you throughout the week. If you are eating a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables you don’t need to worry about getting ENOUGH protein. Vegetables, legumes, whole grains and even fruit will provide you with plenty of protein.
The Biggest Secret is Free
Ok, here is the biggest secret to gaining health, healing your body and even losing a little weight. Intermittent Fasting! If you have several health issues you will probably want to start slowly and I have a few methods you can utilize.
14:10 This is 14 hours fasting with a 10 hour eating window. 3 meals a day with NO SNACKS. If you are diabetic or have some other health issue requiring medication at set times this is the best way to get started.
16:8 Is 16 hours fasting and an 8 hour eating window. You can eat 3 meals a day with this meal plan also but again NO SNACKS in between.
18:6 Is an 18 hour fasting window with a 6 hour eating window. With this plan you will either skip breakfast or dinner. Do what fits your life and makes things easiest for you. I personally find it easiest to skip dinner.
20:4 or even OMAD This one is eating in a 4 hour window each day or One Meal A Day. Many people will open there window with something light and then have one large meal and end with a dessert. Again choose an eating window that works best for you and your family.