Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Kind of Clean

I fully believe that everyone who eats clean has a different idea of what clean eating really is. The trend of clean eating has taken off lately, but everything is so open to interpretation that sometimes the lines between "clean" and "unclean" become blurred. What one person considers clean, another may not.
I will never be able to (or want to!) eat 100% clean at any time. I have a few things that I refuse to give up, and I think that is okay! For example...
  • Heinz Ketchup - the version bought in Canada. Anywhere else, it tastes different. No name brands don't compare. I don't even want to try the low-sugar kind.
  • Frank's Red Hot Sauce - I put that shit on everything!
  • Coffeemate - I'm lactose intolerant, and almond milk just doesn't do it for me in coffee. I don't put it in every coffee, sometimes I drink it black, but it's just so delicious! I do use the sugar-free kind. 
  • Whole wheat pitas/tortillas/buns - some people may consider this clean. I don't, but I don't feel guilty eating them sometimes. I do try to limit them though.
  • All Bran Buds - I don't eat these everyday, but they're great to mix with chia, berries and almond milk if I need something to keep me full. I'm currently trying to cut Kashi Go Lean out of my diet.

Here are the guidelines I follow about 80-95% of the time:
  1. Drink 500 mL of water in the morning before eating or drinking anything else. I have a water bottle I use exclusively for this reason. 
  2. Eat within an hour of waking up - healthy carbs and protein!
  3. Eat every 3 hours. 
  4. Minimize processed foods. I cut out granola bars and I now bake all of my snacks. We make our own burgers, and I'm starting to make my own salad dressing. Frozen dinners and pre-packaged meals don't make the cut.
  5. Always pair carbs with protein
  6. Minimize sugar intake. Clean eating often allows for natural sugars like honey and agave, but for my goals I prefer to keep these to a minimum in my diet. 
  7. Add vegetables to everything possible. Make friends with salad, especially greens!
  8. This isn't a guideline so much as a necessity - food prep, food prep, food prep. 
I do believe in cheat days or cheat meals. I don't follow my rules all the time. Sometimes I'll eat a few crackers (wheat thins are a weakness of mine!), or I'll have a dessert that isn't cleaned up, and I try my best to enjoy it, and then move on. Sometimes I grab a clif bar if I'm on the run and I can't carry a muffin. I feel better physically AND mentally making my own food and knowing exactly what is in it. Plus, cooking is FUN, and foods like these make me happy...

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