Editors Note: For most of August I am on vacation, spending some much needed time recharging my batteries and enjoying time with the family. I knew I was going to be away from my computer for some time so I went out searching for some great guest posters to help keep this blog active while I am away. I am so excited to welcome my good friend Latitia. Latitia has been known to blog from time to time at The Doctor’s Wife. She is a mom of two wonderful girls, a clean eater and easily the best cook and baker I have ever met. I am so thrilled that she is sharing some of her culinary wisdom with us.
Life is busy. I think everyone feels like they are rarely able to get everything done that they want to. As a busy mom of two small children, I find it hard to make exercise a priority. This reality is compounded by the fact that my husband is a doctor completing his surgical residency, who works very long hours.
So I rarely make it to the gym.
Okay, I never make it to the gym.
I don’t even have a membership to said gym.
Since my hubby is in the same boat, we know we have to do something else to maintain a healthy weight. We gave regular exercise a fair try, but between the babies’ schedules and my husband’s hours, it turns out that there is nothing regular about our exercise routine. So in July of 2011, we eliminated all processed and refined foods from our diet.
We began a way of eating known as clean eating.
I will admit that it wasn’t the easiest of transitions. But I will also loudly proclaim the benefits of eating this way. My husband and I both dropped the extra weight we were carrying, and simply feel so much better. No more bloated heavy feeling in our guts after a meal. No more sucking it in to get our pants done up. No hiding what we are eating from our kids.
There are plenty of good websites and blogs out there if you want to jump into clean eating. But if you are looking to ease your way in, here are my three best tips to get you started:
- Don’t consume any refined sugar. Just don’t. This may be the hardest rule to follow. It is also probably the best thing you can do for your body, and the easiest way to lose weight (if that is your goal). Cutting out refined sugar means reading every package and ingredient list. Because almost everything these days has added sugar in it (or something worse, like aspartame). Did you know that even table salt has sugar in it? Yup. Go read the label. And switch to sea salt.
- Try to only eat whole grains. White flour is another big no-no on the clean eating list. It is very processed, often bleached, and is stripped of all the good nutrients. Replacing your white pasta and rice with whole wheat is easy to do, and I promise you get used to the texture (and actually start to prefer it). The most difficult item to buy a ‘clean’ version of is probably bread. We had to try out numerous brands before we found one that is completely whole grain, and doesn’t have any sugar in it. It is worth the search.
- Eat real food and eat out as little as possible. My best tip is to eat real food. Avoid packages whenever possible. Only eating food that you prepare at home gives you so much more control over what you are putting into your body (remember that white sugar and white flour you should avoid?). Read ingredient lists like crazy and don’t eat anything you can’t pronounce. And if you choose to eat out, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how your food is prepared! Some restaurants have very good options.
Keeping these tips in mind, remember that you don’t have to be a crazy hippie when it comes to clean eating. We occasionally cheat when we go out on a date and order dessert (gasp!). If we have dinner at a friend’s house we don’t bring our own food and are happy to eat whatever is served. My philosophy is: try and eat good stuff that we prepare 90% of the time. If we choose to cheat a little, the 10% of not-so-healthy choices isn’t going to undo our hard work.
Now go clean your pantry of all that white pasta!