Eating Clean: How to Start

Friday, March 11, 2016

It seems everywhere I turn on social media, my friends and people I follow are talking about eating clean. And all of their posts make them seemingly perfect at it. "Fakebook" makes it look like these clean eaters have no cravings, they never slip up, and they just are so perfect no one can eat as healthy as them. Am I right?

I am one of those clean eating people. The one who posts healthy meal pics, juices, and talks about how much I love my cauliflower pizza. But I will also be completely honest and say I DO slip up. And there are days my chocolate cravings are - Out. Of. Control.

I have not always eaten clean though. And I understand learning how to eat clean and making that leap into a healthier lifestyle change isn't necessarily easy to simply start doing (am I right again?).  Let me tell you, I get it. I was there - THAT person who could NOT resist the bag of chips, box of soda cans, frozen meals, and packets of donuts (mmm... donuts... my weakness!). But there came a point in my life when I knew I had to make some eating changes. And to be completely honest, when I started I didn't even know the term "clean eating". I just knew I had to be healthier. What prompted me to start learning about clean eating was my sons food allergies and the start of me having to read EVERY single food label I purchased, but that's for another blog post at another time.

But seriously, the start of your clean eating journey can be hard. You might feel like you're having to make huge sacrifices, or like you're doing it alone, or heck, even that you're not doing it right. I mean, you walk into a grocery store and there are over 47,000 (literally) food-like products on the shelves. Aisle after aisle of overly processed foods and chemicals sitting there, in their attractive boxes and cans, waiting to be bought. How in the heck are people supposed to eat clean with an over abundance of processed food inches away at the turn of every corner in the grocery store?

However you're feeling about starting your healthy eating journey, it's not wrong. It's just not the place you should want to stay mentally forever. There comes a point where you have to pony up and start the journey. So HOW do you start to eat clean AND feel happy about it? Let me give you a few of my personal tips.

Tip #1: Educate Yourself
Netflix has a wealth of documentaries and series that can educate you on WHY you should eat clean. These documentaries are seriously eye opening on the food industry and give sound reason to really drive home the important of clean eating. You can also listen to podcasts on nutrition, read books, and talk to those around you who already do.

Tip #2: Don't Drink Your Calories & Sugars
Often times when we think about clean eating, we ONLY take the eating into consideration. What we  should also be thinking about is clean drinking too. Soda's, juices, flavored waters, processed teas, and so much more really aids in the destruction of our diet and ability to make healthy choices. If you're going to start with one thing to change in your diet, start here. It will be the building block to a healthier eating lifestyle.

Tip #3: Cut Out Fast Food
I feel like this one is pretty self explanatory, but I wanted to mention it regardless. Fast food is not clean eating, plain and simple. There is nothing you can purchase at a fast food restaurant that will be a healthy choice because of the QUALITY of ingredients, as well as hidden factors to take into consideration such as additives and age of food items. There are healthier fast food options if you HAVE to eat out (think Panera, Chipotle, etc.) but if you can, avoid them all together.
Tip #4: Ask for Help
Did I do this alone? Nope. Was it because my husband was right alongside me in the beginning, making changes and eating cleaner day after day too? Nope. His changes came much later than mine. My initial support of healthy food changes came from my online support and challenge groups. The people were (and are!) absolutely amazing. We cheered each other on, helped and gave advice when needed. We were honest with each other, and simply became friends who did life together. I can be the one to help you. I'll be your shoulder to cry on, the applause when you have a victory, and your  fearless clean eating leader. 

All you have to do is ask.

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