Eating clean means you eat the most BASIC form of a food - what is closest to that which is found in nature. This means you will be buying more ingredients and less prepared foods; you'll be cooking more and using your microwave less; you'll be discovering new vegetables, grains and beans while eating less cow dairy, sugar, caffeine and processed foods. Scared yet? It may seem overwhelming at first, but as with anything, once you start, it gets easier until it becomes the norm. The continued motivation will come from your improved health, vitality, energy, appearance and mood. I promise.
Ready to get started?
1. Take inventory of your kitchen and toss as many packaged foods as possible, especially those with more than five ingredients, ingredients you can't pronounce, ingredients that contain:
- high fructose corn syrup
- food dyes (red, blue, yellow, etc)
- non-organic corn or soy (including oils)
- bleached white flour
- refined sugar
- artificial sweeteners
- other preservatives
2. Eliminate sodas from your house. The occasional Izzy or sparkling water is fine, but there is absolutely NOTHING redeemable about Diet Coke. Ever.
3. Go online and search for websites that have CLEAN recipes using fresh ingredients and as many veggies as possible. I have several listed on my blog and my own recipes page, so find some there or in a cookbook to try. Think of it as an adventure or a way to express your creativity.
4. Become friends with the produce section (or better yet, shop at your local farmer's market or order farmer's market produce to be delivered to your neighborhood through a local CSA - go online to find one in your area). Most nutrient-rich veggies to add to your diet are:
- Kale, collard greens, mustard greens
- Bok choy
- Napa cabbage
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Red peppers
5. Eat more beans, grains and seeds. These little dynamos are packed with protein, minerals, fiber and vitamins. Did you know a serving of quinoa (actually a seed) with lentils is a complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids? Be sure to cook beans and grains with a 1" piece of dried kombu (seaweed that can be found on Asian aisle at Whole Foods or Central Market) to eliminate gas and add micronutrients (see previous blog titled "#1 Thing to Add to Your Diet). Most nutritious beans, grains and seeds are:
- Red kidney beans
- Great Northern beans
- Adzuki beans
- Black beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Flax seeds
- Pinto beans
- Edamame (organic ONLY)
- Split peas
- Chickpeas (garbanzos)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Brown rice
6. Get your family involved and explain why you're doing this. I've said it before, but there is no reason why you shouldn't let your family in on what you're trying to do. Kids as young as 3 can understand the simple concept: "there is food God created for us to eat and then there is food a laboratory creates that they think is okay for us to eat. I'm trusting God on this one." See? Simple.
The #1 marketing tip I ever learned in my nearly 20 years in the industry was "never sell the product - sell the benefit." That means you don't just put the food on the table and tell them how good it tastes. You explain to them WHY you are changing how your family eats - why eating from nature always trumps eating from a lab. How our bodies were created to eat what was found in nature and when we feed it chemicals, preservatives, mystery food, etc, it doesn't know what to do with it so we feel bad. Eventually, eating this type of food makes us sick - lethargy, mood swings, allergies, intestinal problems, diabetes, heart disease, gout and even cancer.
Please make a comment on the blog if you have any questions so others can see it. Most of you probably have similar questions, so let's share them. If you're reading this on a smart phone, be sure to check out the blog on your computer so you can see the links in the margin (Recipes, Kitchen Staples, great websites, etc.).
2013 is YOUR year. It's the year you start healing your body and allowing it to work the way God intended. The saying, "you are what you eat" is 100% accurate. If you put junk in, you'll feel like junk. Make the change. You are worth it!!!