One of my resolutions this year was to take more notice of what foods I was putting into my body, and making better, healthier changes to my diet. I didn’t want to simply go on “a diet”. That formidable, and let’s be honest vague word forever haunts me. Instead I chose to go on a ‘clean eating’ hype.
Fitness Magazine‘s definition of ‘clean eating’ is as follows:
Clean eating is a deceptively simple concept. Rather than revolving around the idea of ingesting more or less of specific things (for instance, fewer calories or more protein), the idea is more about being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate.
For me personally, this means no refined sugar, saturated fats, processed carbohydrates etc etc. Basically all the things I crave 24/7. Some people will say I’m not 100% completely ‘clean eating ‘as I still continue to eat meat, dairy etc, however it’s a start.
What I liked about the concept is that I’m not eating less, I’m just eating better. In 2013 I crash dieted a lot and my yo-yo weight loss/gain proved how ineffective it was. I was omitting certain food groups, limiting myself to a certain amount of calories a day, drinking too much diet coke as a meal substitution and feeling guilty all the time, especially when I ate something that “wasn’t allowed”. Yes I lost almost two stone, but it wasn’t healthy. They were quick fix diets, not a lifestyle change. ‘Diets’ only work if you change your attitude and understand food a bit better.
It’s only been two weeks but I can feel the benefits already. As someone who suffers from IBS, I can bloat very easily and have a lot of stomach complaints depending on my stress levels and the food I eat. The meals I have been eating lately have helped loads with this, I have minimal bloating and feel a lot more energised. I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight as of yet, but I’m hoping as I start to exercise more, that this will start to show more.
The main change is that I’m substituting foods:
– Processed Carbohydrates (bread, pasta etc) = Wholewheat Carbohydrates (i.e wholewheat pasta, linseed and soya wholewheat bread, courgette spaghetti etc)
– Processed Meat (i.e ham, sausages) = Fish (tuna, prawns) and Chicken (baked not fried).
– Butter = Hummus
– Carbonated Drinks (diet coke, lemonade) = Coconut Water (sometimes Pineapple Juice) and water
– Chocolate/Sweets = Fruit Pieces / Options Hot Chocolate
I’m also adding a lot more veg into my meals. Spinach leaves, avocados, tomatoes, baby kale and mixed salads are always a good way of sneaking those vital nutrients into your diet to make it more varied.
I have also stopped snacking on ‘little treats’ to keep my hunger at bay and instead, I eat a piece of fruit or drink a pint of water. Water is also very important. Again, wholewheat can affect IBS sufferers as it is a hard-fibre and can be difficult/painful to digest. Water aids this process.
Some lunch/dinner ideas I’ve been making:
– Wholewheat bread, spring water tuna, hummus and spinach salad sandwich
– Avocado, (wholewheat) spaghetti, tomato and baked chicken (seasoned with paprika, lemon juice and cracked pepper)
– Chilli and ginger prawn stir fry with mixed peppers and spinach leaves
– Chicken, avocado salad and brown rice
– Tuna and wholewheat pasta, tomato, light mayo, sweetcorn, red onion and spinach leaves
I find forward planning helps with lunch for work. If I make my lunch the night before and plan ahead, the likelihood is that I’ll eat more healthily, instead of picking up something unhealthy at the shop. I also save money, especially when things are on offer: i.e, my prawn stir-fry cost me all of £4.29 and I got 3 meals out of it!
Who knows how long this will last, I’m only just starting to feel the benefits. I need to try meat substitutes and try juicing soon. If anyone has any lunch ideas or tips to keep motivated, please feel free to comment!