Several months ago, a friend sent me a message that said, “Help. I want to start eating better. What do I do?” This was my response.
It’s all about planning for success, especially in the beginning. Make sure you have good foods in the house. If I know I’m going to have a busy week, I like to have a go-to plan for a couple meals with the same basic ingredients. For me, that’s usually some seasoned and grilled chicken breasts. I’ll make a bunch, and eat them just so with veggies, or in a salad, or make a soup or a stir fry. Obviously, I don’t want to eat them every day for the whole week. If I have some left after a couple of days, I’ll slice them and throw them in the freezer to pull out in an emergency.
Don’t be afraid to try something new, especially veggies, or if you find a recipe you like, don’t be afraid to switch out one veggie for another. Aim for having fresh (or frozen if necessary) veggies, meat/eggs/nuts, and a healthy fat for each meal. Throw some fruit in here and there. The fat might be oil (olive over low heat or coconut are best) that you use in preparation. It might be butter. It might be avacados, or nuts, or olives, etc.
Avoid all processed foods. Avoid grains, even “whole grains.” For one thing, they might not be 100% whole grain, but they’re still using the label. And they raise your blood sugar a lot, setting off craving cycles. They also can cause a “leaky gut” which wreaks havoc on your immune system. Avoid beans – like kidney, great northern, etc., also for the blood sugar reasons. Green beans, peas, snow peas, etc, are ok. The goal is to eat highly nutritious foods, have a consistent slow burn of the real foods you eat, which keeps energy and blood sugar steady, and cravings at bay. Avoid dairy. It may or may not have side effects in your body, and you won’t know until you eliminate it for a while. Avoid sugar. Period. No explanation necessary!
For the days you have to get out of the house early, plan ahead so you don’t have to cook eggs for breakfast. Instead, eat a banana and some nuts (seasoned ones are good), or make some egg muffins (quiche) ahead with meat and veggies in it. Have hard boiled eggs with veggies or fruit. Or just eat leftovers or soup for breakfast. Sounds crazy, I know, but typical breakfast foods are loaded with junk. And real food is so much more satisfying and nutritious.
For lunch, do leftovers from the night before, or a couple slices of meat and raw veggies. I like peppers and carrots with a hard boiled egg. Or soup. Or fruit and nuts. Or tuna salad or egg salad on lettuce or on slices of bell peppers.
For dinner, the recipes are endless. And there are some crockpot recipes you can come home to. A pork or beef roast with sweet potatoes and carrots and onion. Pulled pork roast that you just have to shred, add some sauce if you like, and throw veggies on to complete a meal. A hearty soup, maybe with canned full fat coconut milk as a cream, paired with a salad. A curry dish. Steak. Fish. Jambalaya.
My go-to recipe sites:
*Fast Paleo – they have an app where I can put in a few ingredients I want to use and it’ll give me recipes that contain them.
*Whole 9 Life, Whole 30 – the people who say try going clean for 30 days. Great resource!
*Against All Grain
The goal is to eat real foods. The paleo people have FABULOUS recipes, and the resources are endless!
Here are some of my favorite recipe links:
Fried cabbage is a cheap and super delicious side dish, by the way.
I’ve also made it with shrimp. Just don’t put them in until the last hour, or steam them and add them when you serve it
OH MY! one of my absolute favorites! It can be made stove-top or in a crock pot.
Make your own sausage – any kind of meat – without all the nitrates. Use it either as meatballs, patties, or just leave it ground and add veggies to it, use it in a tomato sauce over rice pasta, stuffed peppers, for breakfast
I have also used rice pasta.
You could omit the honey/coconut sugar, and make this more chili-ish.
http://www.theluckypennyblog.com/2013/05/pulled-pork-with-no-sugar-added-bbq.html?m=1 I made a basic bbq sauce with about 1/2 c ketchup and 1/2 c tomato paste, 1/4 c water, some coconut aminos [clean version of soy sauce], olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke [skip if you don't have], garlic & onion powder, s&p, chili powder.
Burgers made fresh, with garlic, onion, s&p, other spices in it, smothered with lettuce, onion, tomato, avacado, etc., and eaten without a bun. I often throw some mayo and blue cheese on them, too. Mmmmm!
What are YOUR favorite recipes? Care to share them?
Written By: Marci Howell – CFHF Athlete
In case you missed part one of Marci’s series on clean eating go here —> http://cnmfitness.com/2014/03/14/you-cant-out-work-a-lousy-diet/