A couple of months ago (April 2008) I was browsing the internet and came across a message board thread of people discussing how they were changing their eating habits to "Eat Clean" and how great they were feeling. After digging in some more, I discovered they were following The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno. I hoffed at the idea of a fad DIET, but the more I read the more curious I became and eventually went to the website, Tosca Rena's website, and then looked up the book on Amazon. After reading multiple reviews and descriptions of this "diet" I learned that this in fact was not a fad diet (unfortunately the cover of the book makes it seem like one) but is a way of eating for a healthy lifestyle. Less than a week later I purchased her book, along with The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook, also by Tosca Reno.
The Eat Clean Diet is nothing new - athletes have been following this type of diet for decades to stay lean and healthy. Tosca Reno has just presented it in a way that speaks to ordinary people. So I know you're all asking - what the heck is Clean Eating? It is simply consuming food in it's most natural state (or as close as possible) in order to become healthy and lean. Here are the basic principles:
- 80/10/10 (this is straight from Tosca Reno's book). Your ideal body is 80% nutrition, 10% training/exercise, and 10% genes. You WILL NOT achieve the body you want if you don't feed it what it needs, when it needs it.
- Eat 5-6 meals a day (every 2-3 hours) in order to keep your metabolism revved and your blood sugar levels steady.
- Consume lean protein at every meal (20-25g): chicken breasts; turkey; fish; lean cuts of pork and beef; bison; tofu; fat free dairy; whey or soy protein.
- Eat complex carbohydrates with your protein, this includes whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. The balance of proteins and carbs at each meal is the key. The energy it takes to process the combination of these foods comes from stored body fat.
- Eat good fats everyday. Fats that come from fish (salmon, tuna), nuts, nut butter, flaxseed, and healthy oils are all excellent sources of Omega 3's and Omega 6's.
- Drink lots of water, 8-10 cups, every day
- Eliminate (avoid as much as possible) overly processed foods, refined flour and sugar, saturated and trans fats.
I have to say, I love this way of eating. I feel great, I'm seeing changes in my body composition (loosing body fat %), and I have more energy! My husband is having great results too! It simply WORKS. This way of eating takes some getting used to mainly because it's essential to plan your meals (weekly and daily), but it is so worth it. The best part is, I've never felt deprived of anything. I'm eating so much food my body doesn't have time for cravings. My husband had a hard time giving up his usual nightly dessert of ice cream. But once he got over his body's addiction to sugar, and the habit of the dessert ritual, he stopped craving it. We now use natural sweeteners rather than sugar, like honey, agave, and stevia.
Here are some sources for more information:
Eat Clean Diet www.eatcleandiet.com
Clean Eating Magazine www.cleaneatingmag.com
Whole Foods www.whfoods.org