So You Wanna Eat Clean?
What is the deal with the detox/W30/Keto/Clean eating group?
Well...I’ll tell ya. And I’m not gonna sugar coat it. So if you’re easily offended, please stop reading here.
Ok. I’m not fucking around. This will be a group focusing on mostly meat (protein), veggies (mostly greens), nuts and seeds. THAT’S IT!!! There are certainly some exceptions….
Vegetarians (pescatarians, ovotarians): Y’all need your protein. It’s vital. That being said, you can get your protein from some clean, excellent sources without going crazy with beans or soy products.
Endurance athletes: Y’all need to fuel long workouts. Look….I raced my entire Ironman on oats, plantain chips, sweet potatoes and bananas. You can eat clean, whole foods and survive your long workouts. And you should! If you’re fueling is mostly sugar based, now (the down season) is a great time to experiment with different types of fueling. Give it a shot! What have you to lose? You can always go back to your old ways if you want. It’s 30 damn days!
Special populations: You have allergies, sensitivities, or other dietary requirements? You’re in luck!! This type of eating is perfect for you! It’s the simplest type of eating human beings are genetically aligned to live on.
What this is: This is a no bullshit, no half ass, not fucking around clean eating group. This is a recipe swapping, snack idea making, energetic, fun, snarky, private, safe place for people to change the way they approach a meal, a snack and fuel for living. Everything you put in your mouth matters, so don’t feed it crap. There are a gazillion different ways to combine whole real foods in delicious ways that are easily portable, reheatable and simply prepped.
What this isn’t: This is NOT a weight loss group. I REPEAT: THIS IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS GROUP! If you lose weight as a result, fan-damn-tastic! In fact, weight loss is most certainly a very common side effect but it isn’t the ultimate goal of what this group should do for you. This is also NOT a place to troll for recipes or simply hang out with your back against the wall. Engage, ask questions (no such thing as a dumb question, ask anything without judgement or ridicule), be present, compliment, support, uplift and BE fucking POSITIVE! This is also NOT a place to paleo-fy your favorite treats to make them “clean”. There will be no coconut flour, almond flour, plantain pancakes or cassava flour tortillas.
So what does the group allow? Meat/protein, vegetables (fruits in a bare minimal capacity), nuts and seeds. THAT’S IT!
What it excludes: No sweets or treats of any kind. No breads or bread substitutes. No pasta or pasta substitutes (but what about zoodles?! Here’s my take on zoodles...why? Just slice or dice or julienne the damn thing. If you just like the long noodle like veggies, I’m not gonna crucify you). NO SUGAR!! This is the #1 rule over all. No sugar OR sweeteners of any kind. No soy (yes even you vegetarians). No dairy (you’ll live). No legumes including peanuts (vegetarians excluded). Minimal starchy veggies but they are certainly allowed. No processed foods- if it comes in a box, don’t buy it.
What this REALLY is: This is a serious long, hard look at what you put in your body every single day. This is realigning your approach to food. This is you FUELING your body rather than just feeding it. I read something recently from a popular instagram trainer that made me think. “Those 5-10 pounds are late night pizza with your man...a glass of wine or two with a girlfriend...a cookie that’s warm and perfect...those 5-10 pounds are memories.” I am paraphrasing here but i disagree. While I understand the message here (and I actually really like it because it gives you permission to enjoy certain things in life that you, of course, should) I think that if that same someone would be happier without that 5-10 pounds, it might mean more to them to lose it. There’s a chance that this person would finally have the self confidence to wear certain things, carry themselves a certain way or engage with others better. This requires sacrifice, dedication and commitment. As I’ve said before this is NOT a weight loss group but that can be a very nice side effect. What my main objective here is to change the mentality we have towards food and fuel. You are either feeding a disease or fighting it. When you look at food as fueling yourself instead of just mindless eating, you reevaluate how you see certain foods.
Emphasis: Good fats, greens and colorful vegetables, protein and micro- and phytonutrients.
What you think you need that you DON’T: Booze- Uh….no you don’t need that glass of wine at night. You DON’T! If you do or think you do, you have a drinking problem. Thinking you NEED a luxury that you most certainly do not, can become habit/addiction fast. Coffee with sweet and creamy dressings- No you don’t. This is a perfect way to try new ways to enjoy your morning java. SO MANY!! Try it blended!! I have several I will share but bulletproof variations are exquisite. SUGAR- You most definitely do not! And by God it is in EVERYTHING! Whyyyyyyyyy?????? To turn you into an addict. This is real! Sugar addiction is REAL!! I will explain in more detail but if you can commit to 30 days without a scrap of sugar or sweetener (fruit excluded but kept to a minimum) in your diet you will see DRAMATIC results. Processed foods and complex carbohydrates- I promise it is possible to go without bread, pasta, rice, corn, boxed foods (instant potatoes, boxed dinners, canned pastas and soups, and any pre-packaged meals). You can and I’ll show you how.
What about fruit? There will be allowances for fruit, especially getting started. The body needs to adjust so it’s not fair to “crash” it. But certain rules will go around it. Fruit should be limited to the first half of the day and fueling demanding workouts (not every workout).
What can I expect, results wise if not weight loss? You can expect to sleep better, feel more energized because you are teaching your body to use different sources of energy outside of the sugar/glycogen system, the system your body should be reserving for flight or flight type circumstances. You will recharge your body’s natural hormone levels and insulin levels. Some folks have seen gross reductions in gut issues, skin issues, anxiety/depression issues and allergies (none of these are guaranteed or should be expected but some folks, myself included have noticed some or all of these). You will definitely experience a reduction in gut inflammation which will naturally flatten the stomach area. I’ve seen these results in elite athletes as well as typical SAD ingesting non-athletic folks.
What about being on the go/travel? There are a LOT of portable options. Things you can take with you on trips or just to the office. You will learn and start to prep for things like lunches at work, snacks after workouts at lunch hour and quick meals to put together. You will also find universal things that are easy to find across the nation and how to order at restaurants or survive work parties or catered meals. You really only need a mini fridge or access to a refrigerator, and a microwave.
You will be forced to cook and meal prep. Get in the kitchen and get over it. Put your hands on your food. Prepare it. Cut it up. Season it. Cook it. LEARN SOMETHING! If you’ve never cooked a day in your life or find it hard to do so, this will hopefully change that. There are a lot of variations to clean eating and philosophies like Keto, Whole 30, etc. They are all beneficial but the bottom line is to get back to real, whole foods that come from the earth as close to their natural state as possible. Get away from meals and foods that are prepared for you. You have no idea what’s in them. Would you take a medicine that you were given blindly even if you don’t know what it’s for? Here. Take this. Not sure what it’ll do to you but it tastes great! Because that’s exactly what you’re doing. Know what goes in your body. All the way down to where its cultivated. Get as local as you can. Eat food made the way your grandparents and great- grandparents made it. Eliminate what you don’t need.
Eat clean for 30 days. That’s all. 30 days that could potentially change your life. It definitely did mine. 30 days is nothing and you can go back to your normal dietary choices but it’s worth committing to these restrictions for one month. 30 days is nothing in the grand scheme of things. You can suffer anything for 30 days. What yo get out of this measly little month could change you, your life, your family, your entire outlook on food and fueling.
Now a warning: If you’ve read this far you’re definitely ready for a real commitment and this warning won’t be so bad. The first week you’ll be jazzed. You’ll be all in and feeling great about your new choices. Despite some potential frustrations with the restrictions you’ll be happy to find ways around it even in the midst of questioning it. The second week, you’ll be hating life. The sluggishness of being without sugar will have you feeling run down and weak. You will be grumpy, irritable and not feeling like yourself. You’ll be on the struggle bus and questioning everything. DON’T GIVE UP!! This is your body’s natural response to learning how to use alternate fuel to power your body. Not only in exercise, but just in day to day life. The body is an incredible machine that can adapt to even the most extreme conditions. This is no different. You can learn to run on different fuel. Sugar and the glycogen system is delicate and should be reserved for ONLY fight or flight extreme power situations. It is a shallow well of energy sources and burns hot quickly. Fat burning is virtually infinite. It’s also associated with aerobic threshold, but we’ll save that for another day. Even without exercise you can change your body from a sugar burning jet pack to a long haul diesel engine.
Try it. I promise you won’t die. It’s 30 days. 30 DAYS! Do it. Do it for you. No one else will. No one else is in charge or control of your body or what goes in it. Only you. Do right by you and give it a break from junk.