I don’t do diets. I like food too much. I mean, I have dieted in the past but nothing became of them. There was the ‘just eat a biscuit all day at school and you’ll lose weight AND save money’ diet I did in year 10, there was the Special K Diet (Who else tried that?) and there have been a few more. Two years ago I began a weight loss journey and it worked. The weight came off consistently, I was never hungry, I enjoyed my food and I feel great.
So how did I do it?
I ate clean and exercised. Now that I think about it, the process is pretty straight-forward although at the time I did struggle. This post is about the food part, which I believe is the most important part. You can hit the gym every day but if you’re not eating well then you will not get results. You’ll simply be maintaining the size that you are and perhaps increasing your general fitness. If you want to lose weight that will stay off then you need to eat clean.
What is Eating Clean?
Consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. Eating clean is eating whole foods. What are whole foods? Foods that have not been tampered with in a lab or manufacturing plant. Food that is straight from the farm with no or few added ingredients. Clean eating focuses on a fresh and balanced diet containing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.
We should be eating REAL FOOD not food like ingredients. This means avoiding processed and packaged food. Processed foods are generally any food that has a label. A label mostly means that more than one ingredient was used to make that food. Processed food mostly contains unnecessary chemicals and preservatives that we do not need. Ask yourself, do you recognize the ingredients or do they sound like they were made in a lab?
What ingredients are in apples? Apples. What ingredients are in most apple juices? Apples and a bunch of chemicals and sugars.
So What Should I Eat?
So you might be thinking, ‘I can’t drink juice, I can’t eat chocolate, what DO I eat?’ Instead of thinking about what you should NOT eat, think about all of the wonderful food you SHOULD eat. God provided us with an abundance of fresh food when He created the Earth.
“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” Genesis 1:29
The most crucial part of planning and putting together a healthy meal is knowing what to include. Each meal should include the three macronutrients, which are carbohydrates, protein and fat. These are all found in different foods and some foods may contain more than one macronutrient. Portion control is also very important; having an unhealthy ratio of carbohydrates to vegetables for example can leave you bloated and constipated.
I will go into more details about carbohydrates and the other food groups in my next post but here is some examples of some clean foods you can eat.
Flours & grains: Whole wheat flour, oats, brown rice, bulgur wheat, quinoa
Lean meat & fish: Chicken breast, lean turkey, eggs, fish
Beans & pulses: Chickpeas, lentils, black beans,
Vegetables: Kale, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, sweet potato (The list is endless)
Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, berries, melons (Need I say more?)
Dairy: Non-dairy milks such as hemp, rice, almond and oat.
Fats: Nuts such as cashews, walnuts and almonds, avocado, seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin and coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil
Sweeteners: Honey, stevia, maple syrup, molasses
See, there is plenty you CAN eat! Here are some meal examples:
Breakfast: Porridge with almond milk, honey and banana
Lunch: Brown rice and lentil curry with spinach, carrots and brocoli
Dinner: Falafel salad
It can be a bit overwhelming at first to think about what is actually in your food before tucking in and reading labels in the shops but I believe that’s how God wants us to eat; intentionally with respect for the body He gave us. Do your research; read websites, books and blogs and find out what you think is the best way to eat but take it from me, nothing beats eating food in its whole state. Love your temple by choosing nourishing, clean and clean food. You wouldn’t put dirty soap on your face so don’t put dirty food in your body. Happy eating!
Next week’s post: Carbs, fats & proteins