Honestly, if you asked me if I would ever blog about this topic a year ago, my answer probably would have been no. Why? I love me some potato chips. Particularly cheddar and sour cream Lays, Cheetos, and Pringles. I've always eaten fairly healthy. My mom always made well balanced meals and taught me to eat my fruits and veggies. On the other hand, we could also put down a huge pizza and entire pints of ice cream. I guess you could say we appreciate food.
College is hard on anyone in the food department. Freshman year you are given a magic card that you can swipe and get all the food you want. It is your first time away from home and no one is telling you what to eat. Freshman 15 anyone? After freshman year, you live on your own with a kitchen. You and only you are in responsible for your meals. On top of that, you are super busy. Ramen noodles, frozen meals; anything easy and fast is usually the norm.
This summer I lived with my parents while Jake was at training. My parents have been on a major healthy eating kick due to health reasons and because they like to try new things. They have tried all the trends; gluten free, vegetarian, Atkins, you name it. I was bored this summer and decided to jump on this clean eating thing.
I started reading about things that companies put in food products. I became grossed out with the chemicals and the crap that just doesn't belong in food. I researched what different things do to your body and why they aren't good for you. I started this crazy habit of looking at labels of everything I was eating to see what was in it. There were times I wanted to throw up thinking about the kinds of stuff I had been putting in my body. I found that even products that are advertised as healthy might not be that great for you and still contain chemicals. I learned the best way to ensure quality food is to eat products as close to nature as possible.
I learned how to feed myself with all natural products. I learned how to make healthy, flavorful dishes and to satisfy my hunger without sacrificing quality, such as the avocado tomato quinoa bowl. My entire relationship with food changed. I learned to listen to my stomach instead of my head and only ate when I was actually hungry. I began craving foods that were good for me. Along the way, something weird happened. I stopped enjoying the foods that I use to love. The thought of putting a Cheeto in my mouth made me gag. I sincerely wanted to eat things that were good for me, especially fresh pressed vegetable juice.
So here's how it happened. I:
-Drank green smoothies for breakfast every morning
-Eliminated all processed food
-Added in as many fresh fruits and veggies I could possibly fit in
-Ate protein in different sources (quinoa, eggs, chicken, beans, yogurt)
-Made smarter choices when eating out
-Cut out most gluten-heavy foods
During my period of eating entirely clean, I was feeling great, had lots of energy, and lost weight. I will say that my goal was NOT weight loss, hence why I don't have before and after pictures. My goal was to have a different relationship with food, and that is what happened. Am I happy I lost weight in the process? Yes, who wouldn't be. Throughout the time I was eating completely clean, I lost 14 pounds. Losing weight has never been easy for me, so this was a complete shock.
Eating clean is a lifestyle, but I will say it is really hard to keep up with. Through our vacation time and our move, it was almost impossible to eat clean. We lived in a hotel for over a week and take-out food was inevitable. Since we've moved into our house, it has still been hard. Jake enjoys comfort food and I like to cook things he likes, especially being so far away from home. I still try make smart choices. For example, I have a side salad with my pizza instead of eating extra pieces. Or, if I cook something not as healthy, I do it is naturally as possible. I don't use ready-made products with preservatives, I make it from scratch. Jake also likes to snack, which means we sometimes have some very processed foods lying around. Sometimes I do eat them, but it isn't the same. I don't enjoy the processed food as much as I did before I started eating clean. I get sick to my stomach if I eat something highly processed. I crave food that is good for me and feel great when I have a "clean" day.
Is eating clean hard? Yes, it really is. It can get expensive, especially if you are drinking juice. Do I still struggle? Yes, sometimes I just really want dessert or can't stop eating the baked ruffles. Is it doable? Yes, if you commit. Is it worth it? 100%. If you are considering a clean eating lifestyle, I encourage you to try it! I can't wait to share more clean eating tips and I would love to answer any questions you have!