A Day in the Life Of… (Part Two)
Now that FitGal has given you a step by step guide on her personal fitness routine, she asked me if I would be so kind as to write up an overview of my personal nutrition plan. It’s surprisingly simple actually. One big thing we live by is eating “clean”. Maybe you’ve heard people use that term before and weren’t really sure what they mean, or maybe you know exactly what it means! Either way, I am going to go over the basic guidelines and principles I live by when it comes to my nutrition.
So what is eating clean? There really is no official definition of eating clean, more like a set of rules or principles that most nutrition and fitness experts agree on and have seen results by implementing in their own diet and their client’s diets. What do I mean by “have seen results?”
Eating clean is crucial to good health, but it isn’t just about losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, eating clean has also been shown to increase energy, keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check, help you gain lean muscle, promote better sleep, improve skin complexion and help with overall mental wellness.
So what are these rules I keep talking about?
1. Eat whole foods not processed foods
This is the the key to a clean diet. Your daily food intake should be mainly vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein. When I go to the grocery store, the majority of what I buy comes from the perimeter of the store. Why? Because the perimeter is usually where the perishable foods are kept. Your produce, lean protein like turkey, chicken and non-GMO tofu or tempeh. The outside walls also house the dairy and eggs. (NOTE: Diary should be kept to a minimum. 2-3 servings a week.) There are two major things to keep in mind when purchasing food at the grocery store. Does it have more than 5 or 6 ingredients? Does it have a shelf life of longer than a week or two? If the answer is yes to either of those questions, you’re better off putting that item back! Eating processed foods like those that come in boxes, packages, etc. are full of artificial ingredients and preservatives that are like toxins to your body. Oh, and if you can, always buy organic!
2. Eliminate refined sugars and artificial sweeteners
Eating lots of candies and cakes, white flour, white rice, etc. will get you into trouble really fast. They are high in simple carbs that are quickly turned to sugar and stored as fat. They also have very little nutritional value. Avoid them at all costs. And when it comes to sweeteners, yikes! Not only are they full of chemicals but they also promote unhealthy eating choices and can actually make you hungry and crave unhealthy foods. There are only three items I will use to sweeten my food and even these, I use in moderation. They are honey, organic Turbinado sugar and pure stevia extract. No artificial sweeteners are allowed in my house!
3. Eat 5-6 small meals a day
Breaking your meals up into smaller portions eaten more frequently throughout the day, decreases craving, prevents overeating and promotes healthy metabolism. I personally eat five, 250-300 calorie meals every three hours and one 150 calorie higher protein snack before bed. I am never hungry and I rarely have an episode where I overeat. Some people scoff at this idea, but trust me when I say, it works!
4. Drink plenty of filtered water
The average adult human body is made up of about 60% water. Now to me, it makes perfect sense that in light of this fact, water should be your number one source of hydration. Not soda, not juice, not sports drinks, but plain filtered water! That’s not to say you can’t have a glass of no sugar added juice here and there but everyday you should strive to drink 64 ounces to a full gallon of water! It promotes weight loss and has been shown to speed metabolism. I drink about ten 8 ounce glasses of water every day and if I don’t I can honestly tell a difference in the way I feel!
5. Follow the 50/30/20 rule
There are several different theories on how much of this and how much of that you should be getting in your diet. I personally subscribe to the 50/30/20 theory. What do those numbers mean? Of the calories I consume in a day, 50% of my calories come from complex carbohydrates like oats, quinoa and other whole grains or fresh produce like green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes or apples. 30% of my calories come from high quality protein like non-GMO tofu or tempeh, organic greek yogurt, nuts & seeds, beans or high quality plant based protein powder. Finally, 20% are from healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, or raw nuts like almonds or walnuts.These numbers may seem different from those you have seen before, but this breakdown is ideal for losing fat, gaining muscle definition, increasing metabolism and keeping cravings and hunger in check! Want to figure out what your needs are? Use this simple formula:
For Fats: Daily calorie intake x .2 / 9
For Carbs: Daily calorie intake x .5 / 4
For Protein: Daily calorie intake x .3 / 4
So there you have it, the 5 principles I live by for my nutrition. Eating clean isn’t difficult although if you’re not use to it, it does require a bit of commitment and some patience as you learn to read nutrition labels and take time to cook more of your meals. I think you’ll find the process to be fun and once you start, you won’t want to stop! The main thing to remember is don’t overwhelm yourself. Some people try to do too much too fast and end up failing after a few weeks. Try transitioning slowly. Start by eating completely clean a couple times a week, then commit to 100% clean eating Monday through Friday and relax a little on the weekends. Even I have a cheat meal here and there, but if you maintain a high level of healthy, clean eating it’s ok to treat yourself every few weeks as long as it doesn’t become to frequent or obsessive!
I hope this has helped you understand a little better about eating clean and conquering good nutrition! Thanks for reading and be healthy! I know you can do it!