Lets break this clean eating thing down in simple terms. Eating clean is the practice of eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. It also means staying away from the junk that typically makes up the Standard American Diet (S.A.D) These types of food include man-made sugar, bad fats (hydrogenated, trans-fat), preservatives, white bread, and any other ingredients that are unnecessary. An easy way to remember if a food is clean is: “if man made it, don’t eat it.”
A person that eats clean generally practices the following:
- Eliminates refined sugar
- Cooks healthy meals
- Packs healthy meals
- Makes healthy choices when dining out
- Drinks a lot of water
- Eats 5-6 small meals per day
- Eliminates alcoholic beverages (or significantly limits it)
- Always eats breakfast
Eating clean can be a major transition for a majority of people due to addictions to sugar, white bread, and fast food. It takes discipline in order to make eating clean a habit but it is possible and has so many long-term health benefits.
What are protein shakes and are they part of a clean eating plan?
Protein shakes are a good way to supplement your daily protein intake. They are not a weight loss solution.
True weight loss and health comes with a mix of exercise and healthy eating, of which protein shakes are a tool.
If you find that you are not consuming enough protein, then go with the shakes. Personally, I believe the best way to digest your protein is through food, but this also takes the dedication of prepping all your protein sources in advance. I do chose to drink 1-2 protein shakes a day because they fit into my busy life of running after McCarthy and refueling between classes.
Should I have a cheat day while clean eating? and if so how do I go about it?
No you are not allowed a cheat DAY! But you are allowed a cheat MEAL. I know this sounds harsh, but why would you throw all those calories you burned off back unto your body in one day? By having one cheat meal a week, you are dramatically spiking caloric intake. By doing this once per week, it increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function and conversion of T4 to T3, etc.) doesn’t down shift from extended caloric restriction.
It’s important that you understand that despite the name of the term, you shouldn’t spend an entire day once a week eating whatever you please. Instead, you should designate one day (usually the weekend, when you’re more likely to be out and about) during which you will cheat on your diet one time. This can include the main course of a meal or the addition of a dessert–but probably shouldn’t include both, unless the dessert is a healthy one. That means if pizza, hamburgers, bread, cake, cookies, ice cream or anything else has been banned from your diet, you can have one of them at one meal or snack time on the same day each week.
I’ve listed some amazing resources below. Enjoy~~*