Clean Eating Challenge

As you can see from the tabs What I Eat and Recipes. I eat pretty darn healthy.

But a little extra boost never hurts right? RIGHT! So I’ve decided to do a 30 day clean eating challenge. This is not a diet, or a fad where you drink maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Nope. This is a lifestyle that people follow year round and they have the best fit bodies! I am super close to this lifestyle already, but I often bomb it with some condiments, and diet sodas… eek.

Let’s start from the beginning!

What is clean eating?

Well it’s exactly what it sounds like. You are going to be eating clean and healthy foods. This means nothing processed, no added chemicals or preservatives, and of course no fast food! It might sound difficult, but really it’s simple science. There are so many foods out there to enjoy, full of flavor, without all the extra stuff!

There are several methods to eating clean. The most popular method is eating 6 small meals a day. Well that sounds great right? I think so! Problem is, this is very impractical for me. As a PA, I work 10 hour days, where I am constantly on the go, seeing tons of patients, and walking all over the hospital. Getting a lunch break is special in medicine. So yeah, I can’t exactly scrub out of the operating room and say oh excuse me Doc, this is my meal time, have to go eat my clean meal, be right back. Laughable, I know!

So I will be sticking to 3 meals a day and a snack instead. If you have time to do the 6 small meals a day, go for it! I wish I could 🙂

There is absolutely no calorie counting with this either! You guys know I am not a fan of counting calories anyway. You simply watch portion sizes and eat clean good food!

Best bet when grocery shopping is to stick to the perimeter of the store. This is where you are going to find all your fresh healthy fruits and veggies, and lean meats. Think about the middle aisles of the grocery store. They are loaded with sugary treats, processed foods like cheese in a can, and salty snacks. Also, avoid the deli counter. Deli meat is highly processed! If you are going to make sandwiches, use thinly sliced chicken breast, meat, fish, and other proteins. Make sure you read labels. Foods that have more than 5 ingredients are usually a clue that it’s not a clean product. Some canned products will be okay, but again read the label and make sure it’s normal things like the vegetable you are choosing, water, and a little salt.

Do you need to exercise like crazy for this? Absolutely not. Some people eat clean and don’t exercise that often and still have bangin’ bods. HOWEVER, I recommend that you do exercise. We are not just exercising for vanity! We do it for healthier bodies. Things like diabetes prevention, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, increasing circulation, lowering stress levels, and building self esteem. Recent studies have also shown exercise may help decrease risk of Alzheimer’s (a very scary and serious disease that causes memory loss–sadly there is no cure).

So what do you eat exactly? Here’s a list of awesome foods you can have!

Lean Proteins: 

  • Fish like cod, halibut, mahi mahi, red snapper, orange ruffy, ahi tuna, swordfish, tilapia, grouper
  • Chicken breast, turkey, tofu, tempeh, shellfish scallops
  • Lean meats like london broil, top round, porkchops, bison
  • Egg whites

Portion size for women: 6-8 oz, men 8-10 oz

Fatty Proteins (limit these, small portions, but include them!)

  • avocado
  • coconut
  • nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts
  • nut flours
  • seeds
  • natural peanut butter
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sea bass (LOVE), trout, bluefin tuna

Flours:

  • spelt, wheat, oat, rice, quinoa, chickpea flour (love this one)

Oils: (limit intake)

  • sunflower, coconut, walnut, grapeseed, pumpkin seed, avocado, olive oil

Fruits and Veggies: not going to list these all out. You guys know what are healthy fruits and veggies! Again watch the canned ones, and absolutely no canned fruits. They are loaded with extra sugars!

Eat these before workouts because they are higher calories and filled with a lot of nutrients!

  • bananas, dates, figs

Beans, legumes, and grains are 100% included. Not a believer in limiting beans. They are good for you!

This category includes lots of leafy greens like collards, mustard greens, kale, spinach, and more!

Dairy: 

  • cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • unsweetened almond milk
  • unsweetened rice milk

Carbs: 

  • Brown rice, quinoa, barley, bulgur, freekah, whole wheat pasta, farro, couscous (stick to 1/4-1/2 a cup). Brown rice you can have a little more
  • oats, rye, rice cakes
  • lentils, pinto beans, red kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, white peas, navy beans (stick to 3/4 a cup)
  • potatoes, sweet potatoes (4-6oz)
  • corn tortillas
  • ezekial bread (1-2 slices)

Other: 

  • superfoods like chia seeds, flax, goji, cacao
  • condiments like apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar (most vinegars), reduced sodium soy sauce, reduced sodium teriyaki, reduced sugar ketchup or organic ketchup (but limit), hot sauce, salsa, herb pastes, chili pastes, tomato paste, mustards, low sodium broths/stocks, cooking spray
  • Spices and salt
  • Coffee and tea (green tea especially- has a fat burning quality to it!)
  • Water, you can flavor with lemon slices
  • vanilla extract
  • nutritional yeast
  • Stevia (this has been a debate… stevia is a natural sweetener derived from a plant. I say use it!)

As you can see the list is pretty large. And this is just to give you an idea of what you can have! Like I said, look at labels. Now that you have the general concept, you can easily go to the store and pick out items for this lifestyle.

And this list is not for just plain veggies and meat. There are thousands of different recipes you can come up with! I will list as much as I can the next 30 days 🙂 But to start my Veggie Slow Cooker Curry is 100% clean!

I really think you should give this a try. If you are not a vegetable person, you will learn to be one! Find veggies you like and start with those. Then introduce new ones, your tastes will soon adapt 🙂

I call this a challenge because I am giving it a go myself. I’m going to test it out for 30 days and see how my body handles it. I might find it extremely easy and keep it up, or I might find it a little difficult. I think 30 days is a perfect place to start!

Good luck! 🙂

Eat Clean!

Eat Clean!

XOXO With a Cherry On Top,

-Minnie