Eating Clean All The Time

It isn’t as hard as it sounds.  There can be little treats here and there, absolutely…but clean eating “all the time” means it’s a lifestyle, not a fad or “diet.”

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Family gathering

I don’t take whole days off from eating well – it matters to me what I put into my body as fuel, and I know that if I get OFF track, getting back on will be much more of a challenge.  So I stick with it all year round, every day – it isn’t a “summer thing” or a “after-holiday revamp.”  When you maintain ANYthing, the difficulty drops substantially – less catching up to do!

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Breakfast and Snacks on vacay

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Breakfast and Snacks on vacay

A FEW TIPS for when you aren’t home, or you have a gathering?

  • Go for the cleanest preparations: Grilled, broiled, steamed, roasted, baked.  While you are at it, ask them to go light on (or eliminate) any oil or butter they might *think* they need to add. 
  • Instead of heavy dressings or condiments, ask for lighter substitutes: lemon, vinegar, olive oil on the table (so you can control the amount), coarse salt etc.
  • If the dish sounds enormous, ask for a smaller portion…OR, take half home. If you’re at someone’s house, just take a little – no one is forcing you to overdo it! 
  • Ask that any sauces be brought “on the side” so you aren’t at the mercy of the heavy-hand kitchen’s often have, or just skip it if you are at a party.
  • Drink your H2O – it will help fill you up!
  • Ask for a double order of steamed veggies on the side…another “fill you up” helper, or munch on some salad before you dive in.
  • Have fruit or berries instead of other desserts.  I know, I know, less fun.  BUT, it does help the sweet tooth (and you feel better about it later.) 🙂

If you do want to stay healthy, it’s a lot easier these days than it once was – most places (and people!) are used to it, so don’t be too hung up on that.  How you feel physically and otherwise is numero uno, so take care of YOU however you need to. I got a few looks ordering plain grilled chicken and steamed veggies at a bar while out watching UFC with grappling buddies…but whatever.  I even pulled an organic apple out of my bag.  No funny looks with that though, except for the jealous friend who wanted one too! 🙂

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Yes…even at a bar watching UFC fights…it’s possible!

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For more Nutrition posts…

Stocking Up At The Supermarket…

I go to the store almost daily – I think for some people, that sounds like an alarming rate. . .but going once a week simply doesn’t work for me. 

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I go through my food at a rapid pace, but given the quality of it, I’m okay with that (I’m not going to beat myself up for devouring all of my vegetables, whereas if I was mauling bags of potato chips, I might have to second guess my restocking habits!)

The usual suspects:

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh, packaged greens (spinach, mache etc…)
  • Frozen vegetables 
  • Still water 
  • Carbonated water without chemicals (flavoring from natural fruit)
  • Ground chicken (I prefer organic, but sometimes can’t get it)
  • Popcorn (the lightest kind I can find, non-greasy, just a touch of oil and salt.  PERIOD.)
  • Almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Coconut creamer (which I mix with the above)
  • Chia bars (Heath Warrior, chocolate peanut butter)
  • Hummus
  • Organic eggs
  • Egg whites 
  • Nitrate-free sliced turkey 

There are a few other things I pick up, but those are the typical cast of characters.  I think it’s important for us to shop often. . .and NOT to shop hungry.  

Food preparation is always a wonderful thing if you can do it (that can be done once a week, maybe twice – there are fabulous blogs out there specifically dedicated to this, not only for fitness competitors, by the way!)

What kinds of foods duo you buy?  Are you shopping several times a week?  I see the store when the snow comes and I’m always shocked.  *LOL*

 

 

H2O Of The Future

I occasionally get some odd looks when ingurgitating my bag of seaweed chips – they’re absolutely delicious, despite what skeptics may think!  But I imagine if I held up a jelly-like sphere, crystal clear as could be, to imbibe my thirst…and then, I devoured the skin in a gulp!

Skipping Rocks Lab

Skipping Rocks Lab

That’s right! So much for piles and pits of plastics!

Ooho!, designed by Skipping Rocks Lab, has been created as an environmentally safe solution, making portable water more sustainable.  

To add to the monumental benefit of such a feat, the Company’s use of sodium alginate and calcium chloride (derived from seaweed) has also brought the cost substantially lower from traditional plastics – to approximately one to two pennies per capsule!

Mother Nature inspired the sphere, which I can’t say surprises me – the Universe is pretty remarkable.

 

 

Natural Sugar

Sometimes after a workout…and sometimes before…I need a jolt of sugar.  I don’t do well with sugar in general – too much fruit is as much a problem for me as processed foods depending on the quantity!  But when I do need something sweet, I reach for fresh fruit as much as possible.  Red grapes are a favorite, as is pineapple – when they are ripe, the sweetness can completely override the need to have something far less healthy!

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That said, I often crave salt after lifting or working out. Well, let’s be honest, I crave it ALL the time!  I tend towards low blood pressure, not uncommon with really active females, so salt can be a good thing in my case.  But the other day all I wanted was sweet, and this bowl of grapes did the trick!   

I find that my body will let me know what I need – my cravings are an indication (typically) that something is in lower supply. Not only did my natural, grape-ity bonbons satisfy my sweet tooth, they helped in the recovery process, as well as with my energy level – happy muscles = happy me! 🙂

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Listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to have some fresh fruit around the house – the natural sweetness, fiber and water content can help you stay on track with your nutritional needs and goals, as well as give your body a boost when it needs it!  (Not to mention healthy natural enzymes and nutrients!)

Clear Skin And An Active Life – My Own Remedy

One of the concerns a lot of ladies have about exercising is whether or not it will affect their skin – definitely a fear based in reality!  

With the exception of the last few months (during which I realized I have a milk intolerance…which may also have led to uncommon breakouts) I have pretty clear skin.  I’m a CRAZY person about the products I use…and I use lots of them!  That said, I don’t want to waste my time, or money, on products that don’t work.  Nor, for that matter, would anyone else. 

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As an athlete, I know that I will be sweating – a LOT.  In combination, the friction of tighter fabrics and germy surfaces (gym mat, dojo, dojang, ring etc) can lead to breakouts and infections…not just on one’s face, but really anywhere you might be constricted, exposed, or especially soaked.  

One of THE best remedies I have ever found is one I made myself.  I got so frustrated from trying traditional products (which can help, but didn’t seem to do enough) that I turned to three of my favorite natural ingredients and mixed my potion:

  • H2O
  • Melaleuca Oil (Tea Tree)
  • Clove Oil

That’s it.  Literally.

I took an empty, dark-colored (better to maintain the oils) spray bottle, added 1/2 to 3/4 water, plus tea tree and clove oil.  The clove I used a hair less of, but it’s also antibacterial and an amazing topical solution for breakouts (diluted.)

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It will have a scent to it, but it’s so effective, I just don’t care!  For activities like cycling or spinning this is also great for your clothing…because infections and breakouts are NOT uncommon (whether people talk about it or not!)  

organicfacts.net

organicfacts.net

Both oils are powerhouses on their own, and they will keep germs at bay – with an active Life, you will have plenty of exposure so this can help you fight them off naturally. 🙂

Breakfast When You’re Away From Home

So I can’t say I have had a 100% PERFECT experience as far as ordering a healthy breakfast meal when I’m out..but so far, it’s been pretty great!  I’ll always say “don’t worry, if they have eggs, fruit, and / or vegetables, I’m sure I can make it work!”  

But…my hunnie is more right than I am that asking for “CLEAN” isn’t always as simple as it *should be*…  Diner waitresses have looked at me curiously many times.  I’m not sure if they’re thinking “is she serious?” or “I feel kind of badly she’s so stringent.”  It might be a mix…and that’s okay.

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Generally, I make out pretty well.  I usually will order three eggs medium-boiled (preferably), though poached seems to be the easiest preparation (and the most common.)  I ask for medium-boiled because I don’t care for soupy yolks, nor for dry…and I also want to be sure they are fresh cooked and hot.  Someone did ask me once if I wanted already-made COLD hard-boiled eggs heated up.  Uh…no thanks!  (I wanted to say “would YOU?!“)

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So three it is (hopefully more on the medium side) and a side of fruit.  Fresh fruit is a great option because it’s full of nutrients, it’s less sugar dense than a juice, and you get to chew (I am a HUGE fan of munching…not drinking…my calories because it makes me feel more satisfied)…   There’s lots of fiber and water as well to keep you fuller longer. If that’s not around, I’ll ask for cut up “whatever-fruit-you-have”….or steamed vegetables if it’s later in the morning.  The protein and good fat in the eggs, paired with water-dense items will keep you from feeling like you didn’t have enough. 

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Generally, I get something close to what I’d like, which is great.  I feel good about those choices and know that if I need to snack later at home, I can do that (and I will, undoubtedly, bust out my veggies and do so!)

So it isn’t, by any means, impossible.  And you have every right to ask for what you’d like.  Not everyone will HAVE those items, so be prepared to choose something different – maybe grilled chicken slices! 😀

More and more people are modifying because of allergies, or for health reasons, so you won’t be the first.  And if I happen to have dined there before you, trust me, they’re used to it! 😉

(For more of what I eat…)

“Clean” is NOT Boring!

I am definitely used to comments regarding my nutrition…but I can’t say that I’m not bothered every so often.  So many people seem to think clean eating is boring.  It isn’t!  I’m not a “foodie” but I love the foods I eat – delicious enough to look forward to so SOMEthing must be right!

I’ve been through a lot where healthy eating is concerned – an athlete my whole Life, a bout with PTSD and two resultant eating disorders (as I’ve mentioned before, anorexia and exercise bulimia) which effectively changed not only my view of food, but my body’s needs.  So at the end of the day, I’m not only really proud of myself for choosing healthy options…but I feel blessed that I enjoy them, and thankful I have come full circle in the wellness category.  

“Clean” doesn’t always abide by precisely the same definition between individuals, schools of thought, workout methodologies etc… But it does follow the general concept that the foods are:

  • Real, whole, nutrient-dense foods
  • Less / non-processed foods or additives
  • Less added sugars and “bad” fats
  • Void of heavy, calorically dense “stuff” (think toppers, such as creamy sauces, layers of cheese, fried coatings…)
  • And so on…

Having LOTS of fresh water is also part of staying clean, by way of flushing and hydrating.

I think for me, since I can’t do stevia, and don’t want sugar, sucralose is my offender.  Not happy about that, but I know that’s likely the absolute worst offender for me.  So, I am far from perfect as well – I do, however, strive to stick to the healthy options overall.

What (WHO) I am especially thankful for is my other halfhe is ever thinking about the options at a restaurant, and whether I can find clean, unencumbered options.  I appreciate that so much more than I can express – No comments, no jabs, no “why aren’t you eating real food.”  He accepts, and that makes my Life worlds easier.  

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He is also awesome with a grill, a skill I sadly do not have…nor, admittedly, have ever endeavored to learn.  We will generally get something red for him, poultry or fish for me (protein!)…and he will always make sure I have some vegetables (truly, my FAVORITE food group.)  He grilled asparagus and zucchini this weekend and it’s fair to say I devoured most of it in one sitting.

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All we needed was salt, pepper, the food itself, and a dash of oil spray (olive is a healthy one!) to pull out the natural flavors, and make everything just perfect – nothing boring about it!  I could actually taste THE FOOD, not whatever goop is was drowning in – in my own mind, that’s food at it’s finest, as nothing is “hiding” or “masking” the taste.

IF someone is positively desperate for some additional flavors, a fresh salsa is always a nice way to go – you can make your own with diced tomatoes, veggies and spices (the tomatoes’ juice is liquid enough), or you can buy a fresh one (often) in a produce aisle.  Condiments can amount to a lot of added junk – calories, sodium, fillers – that you wouldn’t want if going “clean,” so spices and vegetable-based, fresh toppers are safer options.

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Whatever is left (we buy several portions at once) will assuredly be eaten later that day, or the following…so making a little extra is always nice – meal prep by default! 🙂

If the next day feels boring, chop everything up and toss it into a salad with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or a tiny bit of oil, basil and spices…  Tiny, healthful tweaks can add just enough punch if you need something more…it isn’t boring, and it never HAS to be!