Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Movement Away From "Clean Eating"

The quest to "Eat Clean" may be sabotaging your success.

I recently came across a blog post from a personal trainer who was going on about why he doesn't eat clean and why you shouldn't either. Of course I was more than a little surprised to hear that but considering the source, (the man is in phenomenal shape), he may have a point. Here are some things to consider about "eating clean".

"Eating Clean" May be Code for an Eating Disorder
You know the type. At every get together they announce, "Oh I'm now gluten free, sugar free, meat free...." Every time you see them, some other food group has been entirely dropped from their menu. What may really be going on is a full blown eating disorder where only a very narrow selection of foods are considered "safe". Dropping entire food groups means that you will need to either eat something else to make up the lost nutrients or at the very least supplement to avoid dietary deficiencies. 

Known Vegan & Vegetarian Dietary Deficiencies:
Take for example, if you are vegan, you will need to supplement: vitamin B-12, iron, folic acid, calcium and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). These nutrients are found in animal products but poorly absorbed and converted by eating plant sources.
Also lacking in the vegetarian diet is Carnosine which acts as a well of energy for the body. It is found only in animal products and studies show it may protect against ageing.
Likewise Creatine will need to be supplemented. Studies have shown vegetarians to be deficient in Creatine which can cause harmful effects on both muscle and brain function.

Free range, hormone free meats are high in heart healthy GLA's

Thinking of Foods as Either Good or Bad is a Problem
Another problem is black and white thinking as it applies to foods. Really there is no such thing as a "bad" whole food. Words like "fatty", "rich", etc. can define any number of whole, natural foods such as avocados, coconut oil, sesame oil all of which are in fact good for you. So we need to take the food blinders off. The free range, hormone free meats from Wellness Meats contain more GLA or heart-healthy gamma linolenic acid than skinless, boneless chicken breasts. So is red meat really bad?

Celebrity TV Trainer Heidi Powell
Taking A Day Off
When I met with ABC TV's Extreme Weight Loss star and celebrity trainer Heidi Powell, she shared that she takes a day or so off each week from her usual training table program. Her point was well taken that consistently depriving yourself will more than likely have you falling off the wagon....permanently. Once again, it's this misconception of "bad foods" to cheat with which trip us up. Such foods become super attractive because they are forbidden. There's no need for labels like that.

Buffalo Chili made with Pinto Beans. Notice that can of beer!

Everything in Moderation
So personally, I'd say 90% of the time I "eat clean" if you want to call it that. What I call it is eating more single ingredient foods with a minimum amount of processing and additives. That means using natural herbal seasonings and whole foods picked from the garden. One thing we eat a lot of now is summer squash from the garden. I saute it in a little olive oil and process it into a creamy soup in the VitaMix. So delicious!  As our heirloom tomatoes are coming in, the same will be done to them. The Chili shown above is made with free range buffalo meat and wholesome pinto beans. On the side is a piece of homemade wholegrain corn bread and a can of hops based beer. Perfect!

Homemade Maple-Bacon Popcorn

So just remove the term "bad foods" from your vocabulary because really there in no such thing. The more you fixate on those thoughts, the more you will crave over-eating certain high calorie foods. Train yourself to have a SMALL piece of pumpkin pie, a cup or two of popcorn or slice of birthday cake. It is so much better if you can do that than stand there ruining the party by refusing such things because they are "bad for you". In the grand scheme of things, it won't make a major difference just as long as the bulk of your food intake is healthy. So live a little!

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