Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting Started

I've received a few emails from people lately asking me great questions.  So I've decided to take the next few posts to answer those questions.  Things like "If I eat clean, what does that look like on a daily basis?" "How have your kids adjusted to this?" "What do you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks...etc...?" "Where do you shop?" "How do you begin?"  Whew!  As you can see that's way too much to attempt to answer in just one post.  The questions overwhelm me when someone comes up to me and starts asking them in person.  Hence the blog and all the answers in one tidy spot.

So for today I'll start with:
  • How do you begin?
  • Where do you shop?
  • What does a day of eating clean look like?
Most of my answers will come from The Eat Clean Diet Recharged! by Tosca Reno.

I just love that book and have recommended it to so many people!  Reading this is the perfect way to start because it will teach you WHY you want to Eat Clean! And then it will give you steps to follow that are simple but encouraging.  You do not have to go Clean overnight.  Just cut out one bad thing from your diet this week.  Add in something healthy this week.  Do it again next week.  Go through your cupboards and pack up all the processed foods and deliver it to a local food bank.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the need for that will be huge!  So you're serving your community AND getting healthy!  For me, I did 2 trips.  The first time with all the stuff I didn't mind getting rid of.  The 2nd trip was a month later with the stuff I'd clung to "just in case" and finally was willing to clean out.

The other first step I'd recommend is to add 1-2 daily Raw Green Smoothies to your diet.  I don't recommend either going 100% Clean or 100% Raw overnight.  I did that and hardly lived to tell the story of detox.  I've already posted about Raw Green Smoothies...if you haven't had a chance to read that yet, click here.

Where do I shop?

I shop in 4 main locations, currently.  This will, of course, change based on where you live in the US (or out of the US). 
  1. Locally we have a small market called Fresh & Easy.  They are a little pricier than the regular grocery but they have foods that do not contain added preservatives, food dyes, corn syrups, etc... and you can understand every ingredient they use.  I buy cereals for the kids, yogurt, milk, etc... here.  Also cookies (for the kids' splurge) and sprouted whole-wheat bread.
  2. Sprouts...I buy a lot of my fresh produce here.  I also buy coconut oil, kefir, seeds (like chia, hemp, flax), chocolate chips and foods that I can get in bulk out of the bins like wheat germ, steel cut oats, etc... 
  3. Whole Foods...I've never actually been to Whole Foods as it's quite far away.  But my sister goes monthly so I just tack my order onto hers.  I buy things here that I can't find anywhere else like coconut butter, fresh ground almond butter, coconut flour, cocoa butter, cacao powder and cacao nibs.  And someday I'll remember to buy Sucanat.
  4. Costco...Costco has a great selection of healthy snacks for kids.  I'll talk more about those when I do my post on snacks.  I buy a lot of my nuts here.  Walnuts, pecans, almonds.  They come in huge bags and this is pretty much the lowest price you'll find them for.  I also get my oatmeal, maple syrup, coconut water and some of my fruits here.
What does a day of eating clean look like?

A day of eating clean starts out by drinking 2-3 glasses of water before eating any food.  That's tough to do!  I keep a 22 oz Tervis cup next to my bed at night so first thing I do when I wake up is drink it down with a straw.  I also drink an 8 oz glass of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon and 1-2 tsp maple syrup and water + ice each morning.  This is great for a morning cleanse and to helps with alkalizing your blood. (no, I have no idea...yet...what that means, although my sister is on the phone with me right now trying to explain it!) 

According to the "Rules of Clean-Eating" you should eat within an hour of waking up.  Breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day!  Since I am also doing Raw with my clean-eating, I drink a Raw Green Smoothie for my breakfast most mornings.  More on that when I do my breakfast post! (If you drink 2 smoothies a day, it does count as two mini-meals as shown below.)

Then you'll want to eat 5-6 small meals a day.  Time-wise, this reminds me a lot of when I was nursing my babies.  Here's a sample timeline:

  7 a.m.    meal #1   or   breakfast
10 a.m.    meal #2   or   mid morning snack
  1 p.m.    meal #3   or   lunch
  4 p.m.    meal #4   or   mid afternoon snack
  7 p.m.    meal #5   or   dinner
10 p.m.    meal #6   or   evening snack

Of course you'll adjust the times to work for your schedule.  At first I was having to watch the clock a lot but now I just naturally am ready to eat something around those times.  And I NEED to eat!  My body tells me...get food NOW.  This timeline might vary depending on how active you are too...i.e. eat every 2 1/2 hrs instead of 3.

And...What should you be eating during each of those light meals/snacks?

  • 6 servings of lean protein a day (this includes tofu, chia seeds, quinoa, hemp seeds in addition to meats and dairy.  I love Greek Yogurt and Kefir for the protein too.  With the raw diet, I get most of my protein from these sources.)
  • 2-4 servings of complex carbs (this includes whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, wheat germ, lentils, bananas, carrots, chickpeas, beans, sweet potatoes, yams and SO much more!  A complex carb is NOT a simple card so unfortunately donuts and cupcakes don't count.)
  • 4-6 servings of fresh produce (if you do the raw smoothies this will be no problem!)
  • 2-3 servings of healthy fats (i.e. fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, oils such as olive, coconut, flax)
  • 10 cups or 2-3 liters of water a day
My list is very minimal and mostly covers the items in my own personal diet but hopefully it'll give you a good idea of what is considered clean and healthy.

And finally, a good day of Clean-Eating should also include exercise!  I try to go to the gym 4-5 times a week (although with school starting and our new life schedule having recently changed, that's been hard to work into my life...I'm getting there!)

According to Tosca, to have a beautiful healthy body the equation is:

80% nutrition + 10% training (exercise) + 10% genetics

So...hopefully that breaks it down for you a little bit and you have some good places to get started.  Any more questions related to getting started that I didn't answer?  Feel free to leave them in the comments section!

And as always...thank you so much for reading.  I'm humbled that you chose to visit my blog.  Here's to a Clean-Eating week!



  1. Here's great info on the lemon and health benefits of drinking lemon water. It does seem I'm doing it ALL wrong! It shouldn't be ice water (oops) and should NEVER add maple syrup to it (another oops). This is all a process and I'm learning as I go!

  2. Looks like you are doing great Amy!! Thanks so much for the mention on your resource page :)) I am so glad I could help in any way.