The Seamless Transition To Clean Eating

Having to run the kids around to playdates, stress at work, or being up all night with a sick baby can make you go crawling back to those comforting carbohydrates.

But the quick energy and mood boost is undoubtedly short-lived. You soon revert right back to a state of stress and fatigue as your body craves more nourishing nutrients.

The fix to this is known as “clean eating”, a term which has been popping up more and more in the media and fitness circles over the last few years. But clean eating is not just for exercise gurus, or those looking to lose weight, it is a way of life that provides so many benefits both physically and mentally.

Clean eating reduces chronic inflammation and symptoms from autoimmune disorders, provides energy, helps improve sleep, improves mental clarity and focus, and so many other health advantages.

Now that it’s clear that clean eating is a lifestyle change and will improve your health and mind, it’s beneficial to know exactly what clean eating means.

Clean eating is more than just adding a cucumber to your lunch every day—and it is certainly more than just cutting out red meat. Simply put, it is ensuring every bite you eat is something useful and beneficial to your body.

Cutting out processed foods, reducing sugar, and bulking up on fresh fruits and veggies is the goal. You want to consume whole foods. This means eating foods that have zero— or at least minimal—modifications/additions to how they are found in nature.

Read the ingredient lists on the food in your pantry to see where you need to further alter your current diet. If there are ingredients you can’t pronounce, or more than just a handful of simple ingredients in general, it’s a trash-tosser for sure. Pure and simple ingredients is what you’re looking for.

In fact, most artificial ingredients are actually designed to make you addicted to their flavor or temporarily curb hunger. Manufactured or modified ingredients are not optimal for your body and most likely will cause harm over long periods of time.

And while transitioning to this new world of fresh foods can be intimidating, it doesn’t have to be.

There are phases which can be taken slowly, making the process seamless.

Nicole Silber, RD, a nutritionist at Middleberg Nutrition in New York City, wrote for Prevention saying:

“Breakfast is a great way to transition to cleaner eating. You can do something as simple as switching processed meat sausages to two eggs, or getting rid of sweetened cereals and having whole-wheat toast with unsweetened peanut butter instead.”

An even faster whole food breakfast is a smoothie. Blend up some fruits and vegetables, pour into a convenient to-go bottle, and drink it on the run. If you are anything like most mothers, your mornings are hectic. Convenience is a definite selling point for making a positive life change.

Packing a lunch is also essential and will help prevent you from grabbing fast food or a vending machine snack on those tight days. But does the thought of packing your lunch feel like just another chore on your endless to-do list? Well Joshua Nachman, LDN, a nutritionist at John Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center, suggests you make more dinner the night before:

Taking leftovers is an easy way to start bringing your lunch”.

When cooking dinner, purposefully make a little more than your family normally consumes.

With healthy and tasty leftovers available, there are no excuses! You can effortlessly pack your leftovers, which are not only delicious, but will fuel your body and mind.

This is a convenient and economical way to implement clean eating into your lunches. And if you have problems with portion control, use a bento box or other pre-portioned packing containers.

So now that meals are no longer a point of confusion in your seamless transition to a better life, what about dessert?

Sugar is a villain of the clean diet. It is usually the culprit that sabotages any productive diet goal. You will need to find out how much sugar you should be consuming and then look at nutritional labels to make sure you are within those guidelines.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, and author of ‘Beat Sugar Addiction Now!’, writes for Prevention:

“Take the grams of sugar on a nutrition label and divide it by 4. That’s how many teaspoons are in a serving. Anything with more than 2 teaspoons per serving should stay on the shelf, says Teitelbaum.”

Cravings for sweets will arise. In those moments, it is essential you have some reasonable fixes on hand to curb your craving before you devour a box of cookies.

A handful of nuts with sea salt, apple slices with peanut butter, or a portion of real dark chocolate are good options that will satisfy your craving without your body suffering the consequences.

Even pairing a nut butter with whole grains can taste like a dessert, but has minimal sugar.

Try this easy recipe and stock the refrigerator with these ingredients to stay on track:

1 cup dry oats (I like 1/2 old fashioned oatmeal and 1/2 quick cooking)
1/4 cup peanut butter.
1/4 cup honey.
2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
dash of salt.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional.

Oftentimes, when cravings arise it has nothing to do with our stomachs. Stress can trigger emotional eating; a crime of which every woman on this earth has been guilty of at one time or another. So, the remedy is to reduce the stress, not to eat it away.

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Nachman also notes in Prevention:

“One of the easiest things to do when you have a craving is to go outside”.

Taking a run, jog, or walk does wonders for our physical and psychological health. When you feel too exhausted to get off the couch, that is when you need to be outside moving the most.

The Journal of Environmental Psychology reported:

Being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day was enough to significantly boost vitality levels”.

Your time outside could be used to take your kids to the park, get some exercise, or think about meal planning for the next day.

Once clean eating becomes a way of life, it will no longer be a chore. You will naturally grab that quinoa salad instead of the burger and fries without giving it a second thought. The cravings will also diminish the longer you’re eating clean. Your body becomes used to being properly nourished and will no longer beg for inadequate nutrition in other forms.

Mothers, we are fierce and vivacious women who take on multiple challenges a day without blinking an eye. When you really think about it, clean eating is not as tough as giving birth, sleepless nights holding sick children, potty training, or disciplining.

In fact, all those challenges will become easier since clean eating will provide more energy and clarity of thought—what mom doesn’t want more energy and clarity?

You deserve to have a quality of life that will enable you to one day run in the garden with your grandchildren. But that choice starts now.