(It might help to have a look at the About me page for a little introduction before you read these Lifestyle principles).
This is pretty geeky and I understand it’s not for everyone, but I live life by a certain code, a set of principles that guide me through and keep me on track. By doing this, I keep healthy, lean, sharp of mind, full of energy and motivated.
Great food, discipline and lots of exercise is a way of life for me – and I love it. I might deviate from plan at times, but that’s the great thing about believing in your approach. It makes it easy to get back to what you truly understand and enjoy.
Clean eating is a massive buzzword in health and nutrition, which in itself may make you think it’s a fad. However if you have a read about the approach, the logic is so sound. Put simply, clean eating is about consuming food in its most natural condition. It’s about putting unprocessed goodness in and eliminating the rubbish.
Once you understand and most importantly believe the principles, it can undoubtedly become a rewarding and invigorating way to live your life.
Here’s my take on clean eating:
- Be mindful. We spend so much time thinking about food, but then so often just switch off when we actually start to eat. We can accidentally eat more than we mean to, especially when we’re distracted with the kids or company (and wine!) around. When you’re mindful that doesn’t happen. You don’t say yes to things that you didn’t plan to eat and don’t carry on eating when you know you should stop. (I actually think this is the hardest behaviour change for most people).
- Eat whole foods. Eat natural foods, whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed and free-range meats, low fat dairy products, unsalted nuts, and seeds. Whole foods haven’t been tampered with in a factory.
- Avoid processed foods. This one is interesting. Officially speaking – even steaming your broccoli makes it processed. I love a good stir fry and really enjoy adding heat to my food. So for me, avoiding processed foods, means avoiding ‘over processed’ foods. For me I try to avoid adding anything with a label – and if it has a label, it should have as few ingredients listed at all. Avoid excess salt, refined sugars, refined white flours, additives and preservatives. Avoid anything that has things on labels you can’t pronounce!
- Avoid caffeine and refined sugars. I have put these together because I think these attribute a lot to the low/lift/slump cycle you can get into on a daily basis. I haven’t totally cut caffeine from my life. However if I do have one, I’ll only just have one cup first thing in the morning. Try taking caffeine and sugar out and you’ll probably feel terrible for the first day or two. That’s proof of how much a dependent it can become. Once you let go of the crutch it’s surprising how fast you gain energy and lose the depency cycle.
- Portions. Don’t overload the plate, eat little and often. The clean eating recommendation is to eat 6 small meals a day (and not eating at least 3 hours before bed). I can totally see how this is beneficial and kind to our digestion, however it is one step too far for the way I live with my family. We sometimes end up eating different meals and I enjoy retaining some of the basics of eating lunch and supper together when we are all around.
- Exercise daily. I was tempted to put this one at the top. For me, this is an absolutely critical key to happiness. Some days exercise just means walking the school run twice a day, but I try get out running 3 times a week and like to mix it up with a spin class or another exercise class. I believe in exercising outdoors as much as possible. It gives me create physical space and helps clear the mind.
- Hydrate. It sounds obvious but drink loads of water. I probably have around 2 litres a day.
- Work with your own body. If there are certain foods that don’t agree with you, don’t eat them. I started a gluten free way of life about 8 years ago. I struggled for years before realising that wheat really wasn’t my friend. Life is better without it.
Final word (from a natural geek)…Plan it out..
The final principle I follow is to be on top of the planning. I encourage the whole family to eat well – but we don’t always end up eating the same food or at the same time. I plan our food a week ahead at a time. I list out the food shopping we need and the different things I will cook, bake and make for the freezer. I then write it up. Once committed to plan, it’s easier to stick to and follow….I love it!!