Fitness Camp Nutritionist, ‘Brooke Bouwhuis’ Wants you to Eat Clean
If I don’t eat clean does that mean I’m eating dirty? Gobs of germs, piles of bacteria, towers of invisible unspeakable substances. Is this one of those new-fangled terms which boils down to nutrition non-sense?
Does it mean that I am supposed to be a gluten-free vegan? Is that even possible?
Eating clean is real, it’s doable and it’s worth it for your body and the environment.
What does it mean to eat clean?
Eating lots of whole, real foods. Easy to say, but tough to break habits and put into action.
Eating clean is how your grandma grew up. Whole foods, locally grown, minimally processed, minimal amounts of pesticides, no “franken-food” GMO-weirdo stuff. Eating real foods like fruits and vegetables. Whole grains that have been minimally processed, think oatmeal. Clean protein that is grown and raised in a healthy environment. Healthy fats like nuts, avocados and olive oil.
Piles of added sugars and heavily processed grains are not included. Almost anything that comes in a crinkly wrapper is not included. Neither are ingredients your grandma couldn’t pronounce or spell.
You don’t have to be a gluten-free vegan to eat clean. Being aware of how you are fueling your body while taking a few simple steps will send you on a path to healthier clean eating.
4 Steps to Cleaner Eating
1. Cut back on the sweet stuff. Many of us love sugar and our brain is wired to love it and crave it. When you pick up any package at the store check the label before you put it in your cart.
The American Heart Association recommends less than 9 teaspoons of added sugar for men and 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women per day (1 tsp is 4 grams sugar).
Hidden right before us, sugar is added to 74% all the packaged food in the grocery store – not just sweet foods either. It’s in everything from tomato sauce and crackers to peanut butter and salad dressing.
2. Eat the rainbow! Not a Skittles rainbow but a rainbow of produce. All those colors are phytonutrients the plant created to protect itself from pests and the sun. Phytonutrients are used in our body to fight the demons that destroy our healthy cells, help our body heal, detox and strengthen our immune system. Not a bad deal from eating your veggies.
All the colors all day long – true candy for your body!
3. Can Grandma say or spell the ingredients and no, we are not talking about ‘quinoa’. Take the time to look at the package. Your shopping trips will take a little longer, initially. Remember, not everything in a package is horrible. Real life, real people need to eat and we don’t have all day to make everything from scratch. A package of tuna, whole grain crackers – think Triscuit over Ritz – and the random veggies in your fridge can make up an excellent on the go lunch you chucked into your bag last second.
Consider this: A tower of power salad greens (spinach, baby kale, arugula, etc), a rainbow of peppers, cucumber, tomato, shredded carrots, beans, maybe even a few nuts topped with a rotisserie chicken picked up on your way home from work. (Costco even has packages of rotisserie chunks of chicken, so you don’t have to deal with skin and bones!) Dress with olive oil, lemon and balsamic vinegar, olive oil and apple cider vinegar or go south of the border and top with green chili tomatillo salsa. Dinner now, lunch the next day. Eating clean, eating well, planning and fueling your awesome body
4. Protein. It’s awesome, it builds muscle and helps us feel full longer. There is a reason heavily processed, packaged meats are cheap. They are packed with fillers and disgusting things we can’t spell or pronounce, look at the back of any package of cold cuts or sausage and you will see what I mean.
Eating clean means leaving that icky stuff behind and making choices that are more expensive but better for us and the environment. Think grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon. These foods are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and haven’t been pumped full of antibiotics.