Tag Archives: Clean eating

Why You Should Add Avocado to Your Diet

Foods high in fat are not permitted in a clean diet. However, there are foods that contain “good” or “healthy” fats, and one of them is the avocado.”A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger. That’s why diet experts have long urged Americans to go easy on avocados in favor of less fatty fruits and vegetables. But now nutritionists are taking another look. They’re finding that most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated — the ‘good’ kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. Thanks to this new understanding, the U.S. government recently revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados” (WebMD.com).

Here are some additional health benefits of the avocado:

  • Avocado is a great source of potassium, which may help regulate blood pressure.
  • Because of the avocado’s carotenoid diversity, it has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • “Avocados contain ‘oleic acid’, a monounsaturated fat that may help lower cholesterol” (Pyroenergen.com).
  • Avocado can aid in the prevention of breast and prostate cancer.
  • Avocado can help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • The “good” fats found in avocados are good for hair, skin, and nail health.
  • Avocado can help to regulate blood sugar.

Find more nutritional benefits of the avocado here: http://www.avocado.org/avocado-nutrients/, http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-avocados.html, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5

Never bought an avocado before? No worries! Here are some pointers on what to look for when choosing them at the grocery store. “For immediate use, select slightly  soft avocados that yield to gentle pressure  on the skin. For use in a few days, buy firm fruits that do not yield to the squeeze test.  Leave them at room temperature to ripen” (Mealsforyou.com). An avocado is ripe when it is somewhat soft. When buying avocados, I usually make sure mine are firm to touch – this way if I don’t eat them the same day, they won’t go bad! If you buy your avocados firm like I do, you will most likely have to wait 3-5 days for them to ripen. If you want to slow the ripening process, you can throw the avocados in the refrigerator. I usually only eat half of the avocado and save the rest for later, so you can also use the fridge to make sure the other half doesn’t go bad too quickly. Avoid avocados with sunken, dark spots or cracks.

There are many ways to add avocado to your daily diet. You can add a few avocado slices to your eggs in the morning or with your chicken at night. You can make a clean guacamole to enjoy with whole grain chips or throw a few slices into a salad – “Recent research has shown that absorption of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—increases significantly when fresh avocado (or avocado oil) is added to an otherwise avocado-free salad” (WHFoods.com). One of my favorite ways to eat avocado is over a lean turkey burger topped with a pinch of salt! Avocado isn’t only a healthy option, but it can also aid in weight loss. When compared to butter and cheese, avocado is the best clean and “waist-friendly” option! Check it out:

This recipe from Tosca Reno’s “The Eat-Clean Diet” is a fun way to spice up an Italian-style dinner while staying on track!

See more of Tosca’s “Bruschetta with Tomato & Avocado” here:  http://www.eatcleandiet.com/food_and_recipes/clean_recipe/bruschetta_with_tomatoavocado.aspx

When eating the fatty fruit, remember that although healthy, they are also high in calories. Practice portion control!

Pictures from: http://www.avocado.org/avocado-nutrients/, http://sigonas.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/california-hass-avocados-are-here/, http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com/2010/08/avocado-dip.html, http://www.avocado.org/nutrition/

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Why Are Vegetables So Awesome?

Vegetables are essential to incorporate into your diet when striving to obtain optimal health as they are low in fat, high in vitamins and minerals, and are great sources of antioxidants and fiber! Five to seven servings of these low-calorie veggies should be consumed daily. Vegetables don’t only offer outstanding nutritional benefits, but they can keep you satisfied as well. The picture says it all!

I do not own this photo.

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A Simple Introduction to Clean Eating

If you put a bag of potato chips in your body, your body will look like a bag of potato chips. It’s as simple as that. What you put in your body determines how your body looks and feels. If you put healthy foods in your body, you’ll look and feel great. Simple enough, right?

Clean eating is simple, but it’s difficult to master – at first. When beginning a clean diet, some women find that it takes a lot of dedication and preparation and are quick to give up and revert back to past eating habits. It’s easy to call up your local Dominos and order a large pepperoni pizza on your lunch break instead of bringing a smoothie you blended earlier that morning and it’s easier to grab Panda Express on the way home instead of cooking for yourself after a long day at work or school. Of course it’s easy, that’s why it’s called ‘fast food’, but it’s also the reason many women have a hard time staying on a healthy track. If you’re not a buff in the kitchen, no worries! You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to eat clean. You just have to be focused and dedicated to your new, clean lifestyle!

So, what exactly is ‘clean’ food? In order to eat clean, you must first eliminate all of the processed junk out of your diet. Remember, this junk is the reason you are here today. Alcohol, food high in fat, and all ‘white’ foods (sugar, bread, white rice, pasta, white flour, etc.) are NOT clean food options.  Now that you know what types of food you must get rid of, you must replace these unhealthy choices with clean ones. Lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are important staples in a clean diet. Chicken and turkey are great sources of protein. Personally, I’m a big fan of fish for my protein, so I incorporate a lot of salmon, tilapia, and shrimp into my daily diet. Eggs are also a great source of protein. The vegetables you want to get a lot of are the green vegetables – spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and zucchini are my favorites. I also incorporate cauliflower, sweet potatoes, black beans, carrots, and mushrooms to my diet. Although I haven’t listed many vegetables, don’t forget that there are so many to choose them! You can find a list of vegetables here: http://cookery.newarchaeology.com/vegetables.php. Be sure to add fruits to your diet as well. Fruits such as mixed berries, bananas, apples, oranges, and any other you may prefer are all great options. Whole grains can be found in old fashioned/steel cut/rolled oats, brown rice, and whole grain bread! When snacking in between meals, choose healthy options like almonds or other sources of ‘good fats’, greek yogurt as it is high in protein, and protein powder to use in shakes.

I will be posting a video soon in which I will be going through the grocery store to show you which foods to choose and those you should avoid. One important tip to remember when shopping is to always look at labels – if there are a lot of ingredients, chances are the product is not a ‘clean’ option.

Here is an example of one of my clean eating days:

  • 8 a.m. – Protein Pancake (1 whole egg, four egg whites, 1/4 cup of oats – use Pam and cook in a skillet, top with sugar-free syrup and a handful of walnuts)
  • 11 a.m. – 1/4 cup brown rice, 1/2 avocado, 1 turkey burger (meat only, no bun)
  • 2 p.m. – Mixed Berry Protein Shake (1/4 cup Chobani vanilla Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup milk, 1/2 cup berries, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 scoop Glutamine – blend), handful of almonds
  • 5 p.m. –  Salmon with spinach and broccoli
  • 8 p.m. Chocolate-Peanut Butter Protein Shake (1 scoop chocolate whey isolate , 1 scoop Glutamine, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, 1/3 cup milk, ice – blend)
  • 10 p.m. – (1 hour before bed) Banana with peanut butter

I know I didn’t write it in my sample diet, but I drink lots of water! I always have a water bottle in my hand.

Preparation is extremely important when eating clean. You should eat about six small meals a day in order to get your metabolism burning all of those unwanted calories – there are 3,500 in one pound, so the more you burn, the better! Skipping a meal or waiting long periods of time between meals can slow your progress even if you are exercising. There’s a saying that diet is 70% of a healthy body while exercise is a measly 30%, so it is crucial that your diet is on point! Many fitness professionals tend to prepare large amounts of food on Sundays or when they have time before the busy week begins. During their preparation, they’ll cook all of their vegetables, proteins, and whole grains like brown rice then place them in different containers, so they are easy to grab on the go and great to bring to work to heat in the microwave. (already portion controlled) If you’re prepared and all of your meals are planned, you can only be successful!

Within the next few weeks, I will post a video my own food preparation that covers things like cooking in bulk, portion control, and packing the meals away for the week.

Now, you’re probably thinking it’s so expensive to eat healthy! Well, you’re wrong. Yes, it’s true that organic food does cost a bit more than processed food, but if you look at the big picture, you’ll realize that spending a little more now will save you a load of money in the long run. When you think about it, buying all of those frozen ‘health’ meals or lunches and dinners at fast food places actually costs more than it would if you were clean food shopping. You’ll save money by not having to see the doctor for high blood pressure, by not developing diabetes, by not paying for a dietician to help with weight loss to get your health back on track, etc. By eating clean, you take your health and your finances into your own hands. You can have a fat wallet while you reap the health benefits a clean diet offers!

I just wanted to give you guys a brief overview of the clean lifestyle. I’m going to be continuously posting clean eating tips, recipes, and nutritional facts, so check back every now and then to get some more insight!

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