Tip of the Week #19: Get your beauty rest!

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We all know were supposed to get at least 8 hours of sleep right? But why? How will that help your health and weight you might ask… Here is how:

  • Decision making becomes a blur– Since you aren’t getting enough sleep you ability to make clear decisions is effected. Your willpower is low. Then you may reach for a “pick me up” aka caffeine or something else that’s a “feel good” food or drink to make you feel better from being tired. When you seek out these foods that usually aren’t the best choices, you body tends to crave those junk foods in the long run. Hence how late night snaking becomes an issue, usually your either bored or tiered.
  • Hello hunger hormones – Leptin and ghrelin are the two hormones that either tell you your hungry or full. With lack of sleep the hormone ghrelin (the hormone that tells you you’re hungry) is produced more throughout the body, thus increasing your appetite. Ghrelin tells you when your full, and when you haven’t had enough sleep or a lack of sleep, it doesn’t function properly as well and doesn’t tell you full, leaving you to eat more. Talk about a recipe for disaster. And if you really want to get into how hormones play an effect, cortisol (your stress hormone) is effected and its a big triangle you don’t want to mess with.

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Tips to get more shut eye:

  1. Do your best to stick to a schedule, even if its the weekends or you have the day off from work, your body will get into a natural rhythm and start to automatically wake and fall asleep at the same times.
  2. Turn off lights, tv, computers, phone and anything else that produces a light.
  3. Watch what you eat for your last meal or at night time. Foods thatare spicy and/or can cause heartburn tend to keep you awake. Along with caffeinated teas, coffee, alcohol and sodas.

 

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I DID IT! My Journey through my First Fitness Bikini Competition

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Sorry this post has taken me so long to write, I’ve been going through a little soul searching after my show (which I plan on doing another post on that next … but its been an interesting ride , that’s for sure! )

BUT anyways…. Well…. I DID IT!!! And holy crap was it hard! Probably one of the hardest things I’ve done so far, and funny thing is I cant wait to do another!!!

How was it? Really fun yet stressful and exhausting too. But it was all worth it, wanna know why???? Because I placed Top 5 in both the classes I entered in!!! =)

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So going into this competition, quite honestly I wasn’t expecting to “win” anything because in my mind, I had already won with myself losing 85 pounds. And my thought process was if I won something , then hell, more power to me! Ideally my goal was to make it to a competition and I had done just that.

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Back stage during the show, fixing up spray tans and getting oily and ready to step on stage I was actually pretty calm. I have a  major in theatre so the stage isn’t really scary to me it was more of the omg I just don’t want to trip on my heals or forget my poses/transitions (which I did  hahaha).

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During first callouts, when they called my number I almost remember looking down at my number to make sure that was in fact the number they were calling. As I walked forward the look on my coaches face was priceless, as he nudged my posing coach and automatically grabbed his camera. That moment right there is one of the reasons I’m going to do another show in the future. You could see that he was very proud and excited that they called my number, especially since it was my first show. Then the second class I entered in they had called out 4 numbers and then who’s do they call next? MINE! so I made 1st callouts in both the classes I entered in! (first call outs a pretty much placing the top 5) – which was funny at the time because I didn’t realize that’s how it worked so I thought they were just calling my number to call my number hahaahah.

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As time goes on, and people start coming in the door for the show, we all start talking about the treats we brought for afterwards. Some made cupcakes and such…. I made a little something called slutty brownies. what are slutty brownies you may ask? Amazing!! …one layer of cookie dough, one layer of Oreo (I used cookie dough Oreos) and a layer of brownie. yummmmmmmmmmm and boy were they good.. but they made me sick =(

As the “show” started, (they do pre judging in the morning and then a “show with music and everything towards the night for an audience) My boyfriend and his family came, my aunt and my father came to support me… unfortunately bikini goes on stage last so I got to mingle with them a little before and during the show and you could tell they all were very proud of me.

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My aunt mentioned going to dinner afterwards so I’m back stage thinking about food haha, Evans dad was randomly taking pictures of the “hot” girls and my dad was joking with Evan the entire time about needing to workout , or maybe just needing a beer instead haha. After the show, besides eating 3 of my brownies, a red velvet brownie another competitor made and a macaroon…  we went to Hacienda ( I decided Mexican food was much needed) and I downed 2 chicken enchiladas and a chicken taco… topped with chili and cheese and everything haha. Then when we got home I had a few Oreos dipped in almond butter, a sandwich, and some fig nutons. By this time I was definitely in a food coma.

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The next morning, sine the family has made bbq ribs in front of me like 3 times during this prep I told Evan that’s what I wanted for dinner so he prepared that all day. In the mean time I ate a pumpkin pop tart, a small bowl of spaghetti, 3 waffles with a massive amount of fruit on top and by this time I was sick. .. And by the time the ribs and bbq was read it was all I could do to down one fricken rib.. I felt bad since he cooked all day and I couldn’t even bring myself to eat any of it….

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quite honestly I wasn’t planning on eating all the things I did, I wanted to still keep my hard work at bay but since I basically had some issues with binge eating before (which is what my next post is going to be about ) it was almost like I couldn’t stop. It almost got to the point of embarrassment with how much food I consumed and I wasn’t proud of it at all, yet I still kept eating. . . . as the water weight came back on and some extra weight as well from all the crappy food .. I started feeling lethargic, unmotivated and questioning if this competition was a good idea …

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As these last few weeks pressed on a kept in touch with my coach and telling him how much I’ve gained was a wake up call in itself. I told him I needed more goals to shoot for because a part of me had been prepping for sooooo long for this competition that I almost felt like a “what’s next” moment and didn’t know exactly where to go. But with that being said, I’ve learned my lesion and man , oh man, cardio is SO much harder when you have crap in your system .. it literally does NOTHING to fuel you for a intense workout.

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So all in all, I had a blast, was it worth it still after the aftermath of binging. yes, because I’m still learning to love myself obviously.. and I’m still working on processing how I see myself as well… I know I’m not perfect, no one is. Its your choice to either learn and grow from certain screw ups .. or you can let them overpower and consume you. But untimely its all up to you.

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Tip of the Week # 18: Quality vs. Quanitity

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When it comes to the food you put into your body, its more than just “calories in and calories out”… The food you consume is either going to benefit you nutritionally or its not, its either going to give you energy, vitamins, minerals, fiber and everything else or it may make you feel lethargic, worn out or give you a sugar rush that will most likely die within a few hours. So when picking out your food according to price vs. nutrition is a huge thing that a lot of people have a hard time doing.

All the time I hear “eating healthy is expensive” Yeah sure, some of it can be, not gonna deny that. But… I dare you to go to your produce isle and look at how much a bag of 10 potatoes is, or how much a bunch of spinach or romaine is…. a bag of potatoes is about $4 (and there usually are like 10 potatoes in there!) Then go over to the lettuce options you have (not he pre-packaged pre-made salads the actual bunch of leafs… they usually are about $1 $1.50 each bunch ) If your buy 2 or 3 of those, make your own salad mix A. you usually get more than the pre-packaged salads and B. its usually half the price. Key to buying healthy foods is to know where you can save money.

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Now that I got that rant off my chest with a little example were gonna discuss how quality is so much more important to quality. Sure have a few cookies or a pop tart here and there but not every day. Your goal is to get healthy right? Well here are some things to consider when you reach for that junk food.

  • Fake sugar and sugar in general – Now I’m not saying a little sugar is bad. Sometimes you need a little to keep your sanity hahaha.. and sugar from things like fruit aren’t as bad as your actual table sugar…. When you eat sugar or too much sugar is spikes your insulin levels .. which can result in diseases like diabetes and whatnot. When  you insulin levels are spiked you body is constantly trying to “burn that sugar off” first. And with that insulin being spiked your body is going to have a  harder time getting to that fat burning zone. Needless to say sugar any kind, fake or not, your body isn’t used to the amount we normally put into it  now-a-days. Do you really think our systems as humans were meant to eat potato chips, Oreos and sugary cereal all day? or at all for that matter? Limit your sugar intake and you’ll see a change, guarantee it. (I’ll do a post on how to curn sugar cravings and other options you can use that are better than sugar soon if ya’ll would like.)

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  • Ok so as we talked about Oreos and Cereal …. lets take a look at that. So  yeah its yummy don’t get me wrong and like I said, enjoy a fricken oreo here and there (you need to find a balance) but do NOT eat the whole pack in 2 days haha. So when looking at cereal, have you actually looked at the ingredients in Captain Crunch? (I’m picking Captain because its one or was, one of my favs =)) Besides looking at how many calories are in the food and calling it done, I want you to grab a box of a sugary (usually Kellogg’s) cereal and go over to Kashi cereal. Look at the ingredients on the bottom of the nutrition panel. Do you recognize everything in the Captain Crunch? Do you in the Kashi? I bet there is less in Kashi as well. Now…… here is where people don’t realize. . . . yeah Kashi is $4 and Captain is probably $1 .. $2 I don’t know.. So with that and looking at the ingredents, I bet one of the first few ingredients in Captain is “Enriched Bleached Flour” .. Yup! Its exactly what it sounds like, I might as well go grab my flour, bring it down to the laundry room and make my own. sad to say but yes, its true… they bleach it. and I bet the ingredient sugar isn’t far behind it on the list. On the flipside, Kashi probably says something like “Whole Wheat rolled Oats” or something. Now that should like something healthy right ? … and it definitely doesn’t sound like a chemical shit storm… Pay attention to ingredients and look for as minimal as possible.

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  • Lets talk about nutrition (the main point). So which do you think will fill you up faster? A burger from a fast food place? Or a salad? Well the thing is, they both “fill you up” just depends on how long your going to stay full for, which is going to provide your body with the nutrients, vitamins and fiber your body needs to run at top notch and which one is healthier (because being healthy is the main goal here). If your keeping track of your calories (which you should be because you’d be surprised how much you actually eat sometimes). You will notice how easy it is to get up to 1800 calories by eating crap foods. I mean good grief, 2 chips ahoy cookies is 150 calories alone, and between you and me… I cant just eat two at a time, its usually like 4 or 5 ( which equals 300+ cal) haha. Whereas, if you were to cook up 4oz of chicken and some fresh broccoli or whatever veggie you’d like .. the calories is going to be around 180-200 in that. So now that you see you would get to consume more food by eating healthier foods, you have to stop and think about which one is going to “fuel” your body. 4 cookies or a piece of chicken and veggies. The choice is yours but I think I made my point… plus I don’t know about you… but id rather eat a lot, then only have a small amount of food and feel groggy all day.

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  • One more point, sure at first eating healthy sucks (been there, I used to live on ramen, Tostitos pizza and all kinds of horrible things that I usually don’t eat now .. only for a treat do I do that)  But once you start getting used to it, its really not that bad. You start to get creative in the kitchen, you get a fun cookbook, you start to have fun looking for different spices and herbs. Learn to make it fun, get the whole family in on it and don’t look at it as a chore, your taking care of yourself. I personally like to think that my body is the only one I get, I either spend the money on fresh food or I will spend that money at the dr. later on in life. You’ll also notice a significant change in things like energy, sleep patterns and much more.

Plus I saw brown rice, dry beans and frozen veggies at the dollar store … so don’t tell me its expensive, you’re making excuses.

And don’t feel like you have to do everything at once, I didn’t, take baby steps.. this way you don’t quit or get overwhelmed.

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Healthy Protein Bars

Some people know how to read nutrition labels and know what to look for when choosing out food. However, there are those either getting started on making healthy choices and they think just because it may say something like “high protein” or it comes from a commercialized diet plan (i.e. Slim Fast, South Beach, Atkins, or even something at your health store for that matter) it could be worse than a candy bar in some cases. I’m going to show you what to look for when picking out a good and nutritious protein bar, which macros are going to help you throughout the day. So here are some good bars I recommend along with a lesson about bars so you don’t think your being healthy and depriving yourself from a milky way when in all reality you may have just …well… ate the Milky Way. lol…. IDK about you, but I’d rather have the candy bar if that was the case! =)

*** macronutrients
                                 – carbs, protein, and fats.
Pure Organic
Pure Organic Bars (My favs: Cranberry Orange, Wild Blueberry, Chocolate Brownie)
Nutritional Layout: (used Chocolate Brownie for this example)
  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carb: 27g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Sugar: 16g
Upside and when to ideally eat: All organic with no artificial sweeteners, gluten free, non-GMO, minimal ingredients and made from all whole foods. Real food, nothing fake whatsoever.
Downside: I would not eat this bar at night that’s for sure, its more of a breakfast mid-afternoon bar. There is a high amount of sugar that could possibly spike your blood levels too soon before you head off to bed. Now, the sugar is coming from fruits, nuts and seeds so its good sugar but its still sugar. Eat it in the morning and keep a watch on other sugary things you consume throughout the day.
When looking at Calories:  You ideally want to shoot for anything under 200 calories per bar. Whole food based bars can be a little tricky when it comes to this since they usually are a little higher because a high amount of fruit and nuts. (these are good calories and kinda rules out the fact with the high calories.) But usually anything more than 200 would almost be a meal. And there are those bars like that out there and sometimes say to eat the bar and drink 8oz water with it…
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Quest Nutrition Bars (My favs: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Cookie Chunk, White Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter … all of them lol. )
Nutritional Layout: (Used Apple Pie for Ex)
  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 9
  • Carb: 24
  • Fiber: 18
  • Protein: 20
  • Sugar: 3
Upside and when to ideally eat: Any time. I love these bars! They are almost perfect… if they could make a plant based one I would be the happiest girl in the world because I have a hard time digesting any dairy (hint hint wink wink @QuestNutrition ) – but ive ironically gotten better at it through this contest prep Im in so that’s exciting!! I miss some dairy haha.
Downside: they use sugar alcohol which hasn’t shown anything bad as of yet, I wish they would start sweetening with stevia.. And only like 4 net carbs in most of them, some less. net carbs are the carbs you count because fiber technically is a carb, but you subtract the sugar alcohol and fiber from the carbohydrate and there you have your “net carbs”. <— little lesson right there! =)
When looking at Protein: Higher is ideally better since the protein will help keep you full. But you need to be aware where the protein is coming from too. Is it from nuts, whey isolate ect.  ??
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Power Crunch Bars: (My fav: Mint Chocolate, French Vanilla Cream, Wild Berry Cream)
Nutritional Layout:
  • Calories: 200
  • Fat:12
  • Carb: 10
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 13
  • Sugar: 5
Upside and when to ideally eat: Another one that is pretty much ok to eat whenever. Since there is a bit more carbs in this one I wouldn’t ideally do them right before bed or anything. And the protein to carb ratio isn’t too huge compared to some other choices you can make. But these remind me of those wafer cookies I used to eat when I was a kid, I bet if you dipped it in almond milk it would be yummy…. hum ill have to try that.
Downside: lower protein. Higher carb. but still a good choice.
When looking at Carbohydrates: So let me clarify this, carbs aren’t “bad” … whether your trying to stay low or don’t care too much here is what you ideally look for in a bar when it comes to carbohydrates. Carbs can serve as immediate energy and sustained energy too. If your consuming the bar after your workout (which by the way, you should always have some protein and carbs right after your workout to fuel you muscles- this is called the anabolic window) I would shoot for 30g or less. And if there is more carbs in the bar than protein you might has well have a cereal bar…
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Victory Bars (my favs – fudge brownie, cookies and cream, peanut butter)
Nutritional Layout:
  • Calories:200
  • Fat:5
  • Carb:25
  • Fiber:20
  • Protein:21
  • Sugar:8
Upside and when to ideally eat: Whenever. These are along the same line as the quest bars. They do have more of a “protein bar” type of feel to them with them being mostly a solid bar.
Downside: Higher in sugar but still not bad at all.
 
When looking at Fats: Keep saturated fats at a minimum but it is ideal to have some fats in your bar. The fats are basically going to either make up some calories in he bar or it wont if its a lower fat. But fats aren’t bad either… its usually from nuts in the bar the fats come from.
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Kind Bars (my favs- Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, Carmel Almond and Sea Salt …. all of them hahha)
Nutritional Layout: These have a wide range between carbs and sugars… they are all kind of different .. but yet all good.
  • Calories: 180
  • Fat:12
  • Carb:17
  • Fiber:7
  • Protein:7
  • Sugar:11
Upside and when to ideally eat: Mornings or mid day. As you see they aren’t really a “protein” bar its more of a carb bar hahha or granola bar if you will. They have tons of flavors and different forms of kind bars now too. There is the Kind Strong, Mojo, Healthy Grains and they even have granola now! So you have lots of choices but like I said they are more of a breakfast bar.
Downside: Sugar is going to be higher in these since the sugar will be a natural form of sugar. I believe they are made with cane sugar but I might be wrong.
 
When looking at Sugar: This can go either way but .. lower the better. Some bars have natural sugars ( cane, stevia, tapioca syrup, ect) while some bars have sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol ect. ) Now they haven’t shown any evidence saying that sugar alcohols are necessarily bad for you but some people have issues with them so try it  out and be your own judge. I personally know if I eat too much sugar alcohols (also found in things that are labeled sugar free or chewing gum) I retain water. . . . With natural sugar try not to have it be too high..
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Clif Bars (all if them. Blueberry Crisp, Mint Chocolate Chip, White Macadamia Nut )
Nutritional Layout: ( these range as well – used crunchy peanut butter for example)
  • Calories: 250
  • Fat:6
  • Carb:40
  • Fiber:5
  • Protein:12
  • Sugar:10
Upside and when to ideally eat: Another morning bar!! Love these, these can ideally be used as a meal if you pair it with some protein say a shake or something because of their high calorie content. They have tons of flavors (I love the holiday season because that’s when they come out with pumpkin spice and gingerbread!!! YUM) They are a higher carb bar so it will give you some sustained energy for your day. these are more like a granola bar as well.
Downside: Very high in carbs (which is fine, as long as your not eating these bad boys before bed hahha) and usually higher in sugar.
 
Everything else: Look at the ingredients, if its a HUGE list of 11000 things your cant even pronounce … don’t buy it. If sugar is like the second ingredient, then just go buy a candy bar instead. Look at the protein, then carbs, then calories and of course the ingredients. =)
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Luna bars ( all .. I like the peppermint stick a lot, along with Smores, Chocolate Fudge Brownie)
Nutritional Layout:
  • Calories:180
  • Fat:2
  • Carb:27
  • Fiber:3
  • Protein:9
  • Sugar:13
Upside and when to ideally eat: Morning, mid afternoon bar. By now I hope you can see the difference between breakfast bars and anytime bars. They have tons of fun flavors and even though they say a “woman’s bar” men can eat them too.. its just marketing and they have more vitamin B and folic acid in them.. whoooo what a difference right? hahha
Downside: lower in fats (which depending on your goals isn’t really a downside) and higher in sugar.
My favs:
 LOOOVVVEEE Quest bars they are probably my favorite when it comes to what they actually are. 20g protein low carb and a good amount of fat. That being said I don’t eat them all the time, they are not ment to be eaten as a meal replacement either so try to get your nutrition through actual food, your body will thank you for it!
Also love kind bars, kind bars are more of breakfast bar to me since they are more of a “granola” type of bar.
… I pretty much love all these bars hahha. I didn’t post any of the bad ones =)

My Current Meal and Supplement Plan (Fitness Comp Prep)

A lot of people have been asking what my diet looks like, what I eat, when I eat and how they can get their metabolism running faster… the key is to eat super clean foods every 3 hours so your body doesn’t even have a chance to feel hungry. I also focus more on counting my macronutrients (protein, carb, fiber and fat) more than my calories..

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… so here it is!

I always make sure I drink 8oz water right when I  wake up.

Supplements at waking:

  • 200-300 mg caffeine (or a pre-workout, depending on my mood)
  • 500-1000 mg Green Tea Extract
  • 1-2 g Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • 1000 mg White Kidney Bean Carb Intercept

Meal 1: (don’t wait more than 30 min to eat after you wake up)

  • 1/2 cup Steel Cut oats prepared with water.
  • Splash of almond milk
  • 1/2 banana cut up inside it for sweetness
  • sprinkle of cinnamon =)

***This is usually the time of day I workout (around 60-90 min)***

Meal 2: (Post-workout)

  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice. Mixed with 10 oz unsweetened Almond milk. 1 scoop glutamine powder, 1 scoop greens, 1 scoop carbohydrate blend, and 1 scoop BCAA’s.
  • With other 1/2 of banana.

Supplements :

  • 1 Multi-vitamin
  • 1-2 g L-Carnitine
  • 1000 mg White Kidney Bean Carb Intercept

Meal 3:

  • Medium size salad with 2oz grilled chicken/shrimp or turkey (usually cut into chunks)
  • 1 cup brown rice or quinoa. (or 1/2 baked sweet potato)
  • 10 almonds.

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Supplements :

  • 200-300 mg caffeine
  • 500-1000 mg Green Tea Extract
  • 1-2 g Acetyl-L- Carnitine

Meal 4:

  •  1 scoop protein powder of choice. Mixed with 10 oz unsweetened Almond milk. 1 scoop glutamine powder, 1 scoop greens, and 1 scoop BCAA’s.
  •   1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup of  carrots or 3 celery sticks (or both haha)

Meal5:

  • 3oz Grilled Salmon/Tilapia (seasoned with Ms. Dash – no salt)
  • 10 spears of Asparagus
  • As big of a dinner salad as I want! …. (Dressings I use are all oil based – usually Newman’s own or Annie’s Brand.) about 2tbsp. I also add salsa sometimes too (its healthier than dressings…)

Supplements:

  • 2-3 g CLA
  • 2-3 g Fish oil

Meal 6:

  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice. Mixed with 10 oz unsweetened Almond milk. 1 scoop glutamine powder, 1 scoop greens, and 1 scoop BCAA’s.
  • 1/2 cup nuts or seeds (almonds, cashews, pecans, pumpkin, sunflower)

Supplements before bed:

  • 2-3 g CLA
  • 2-3 g Fish Oil
  • 2-3 g Glutamine

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WATER WATER WATER ALL DAY!!!!!! DRINK UP

**The supplements and meal plan that I’m on is geared towards my goals for preparing for the fitness competition. I’m not stating that people should take these supplements because everyone is different and have different goals. This is just what I do one a every day basis and it works for me. **

Clean Eating 101 – Its a Lifestyle not a Diet!

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to tha...

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to that of the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. Temporary image as original is non-commercial use only. If you have a better image please replace this. Thanks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So some of you might not know what I mean when I speak of “clean eating”, so here I’m going to kind of go through what it entails and what it all means to “eat a clean diet”. (basically my diet- give or take some cheats here and their =))

What is Clean Eating??

  • Clean Eating is based off of eating whole and natural foods. It cuts out all processes man made products for the most part and focuses eating mainly things that come from the Earth to feed your body. (Nuts, Fruit, Veggies, Lean cuts of meat, and Legumes). It gives your optimal nutrition to function property and when done correctly can leave your feeling amazing!
  • Realistically there really isn’t fitness or weight loss goals that can be achieved without it. Its the basics of most nutrition and diets (with out cutting out natural sources) and it doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or hungry.
  • Feeling health, being healthy and loosing weight or maintaining a good weight is mainly based around nutrition. People seem to think that weight loss ideally comes from working out and spending hours at the gym, yes it does help but nutrition is about 80% of the battle, whereas, fitness and physical activity is 20%

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What are the basic Principles?

  • Avoid all processed food. Whole grain bread and natural cheeses are ok, its the stuff with 80 ingredients that you cant even pronounce.
  • Eat Whole Foods. Things that haven’t been messed with like veggies, fruits, grass-fed meats, natural nut butters and milk, and unsalted and processed nuts and seeds. Herbs and Spices will become your best friend, so will natural oils.
  • Get used to cooking your own food! This way you know what’s in it, how it was prepared and you don’t have to second guess whether or not its healthy or not. Makes it SO much easier! Pre-made meals does not count as “clean eating” even if its a lean cuisine meal haha.
  • Eliminate the sugar! sugar and fake sugar really isn’t good for us. You will use very little natural sugars in  this diet because you wont need them! (stevia, honey and agave nectar are some you can use)
  • Include Protein, Carbohydrate and fat within every meal- Your diet will mainly consist of lean meats, a healthy starch (such as a sweet potatoes or brown rice), a ton of veggies and fruit here and there. You’ll fell more satisfied with this way of eating because you will be eating for optimum nutrition. You’re giving your body what it needs and once you get past the food addictions (things like craving sugar and bad carbs) you wont really have any trouble eating this way for the rest of your life.
  • Eating 6 smaller meals a day! – eating 6 smaller meals revs up your metabolism because your constantly giving it healthy foods, therefore its receiving its proper nutrition, but then again your pretty much eating every 3 hours so there is either no time to even get hungry or have your body “feel” hungry because you wont be going hors without eating.
  • Drinking Calories is a Big Fat NO- sugary drinks are obviously a no-go. Make water your first choice by far (if it get boring you can add fruits to it) but you can also have unsweetened tea, and coffee with little skin milk and stevia, low-fat milk, and nut milks.
  • Physical Activity becomes apart of your day- yes just like any other diet you read or see, you have to ideally get moving. No it doesn’t have to be 3 hours at the gym everyday but even a walk around the block is better than nothing.

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What to Expect from Eating Clean:

  • More energy and alertness
  • Clearer skin, whiter eyes, and stronger hair and nails
  • Provides a natural detox
  • Weight loss (if there is weight to loose)
  • Leaner body
  • Motivation and a sped up metabolism
  • Feeling more healthy all around and more happy as well.

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How to Read Nutrition Labels

So reading nutrition labels can be scary, its ok to admit it. Half the time all I see when I pick up a product I have never heard of it looks like “kjsdkfbsjdfbosb” is in it… sometimes I can pick out what I think that could possibly be and other times I don’t even try because its obviously something insane!

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Here are some of the things that are a basic that I think everyone should know just in general but also know to kind of look out for when purchasing foods for themselves and family. I’m going to give your the basics of what everything means as well! =)

** Basic things I check is first what’s in it? How many ingredients are in it ? Carbs, protein, sugar and then calories… ***

  1. What’s the serving size? (go look at the serving size of your saltines, I bet its around 3-4 crackers. Do you eat that many.. honestly? No you eat like 10. Been there done that! Make sure you look at the serving size, say the labels says 4 crackers and that there are 3g sugar in 2 crackers (that means there are 15 g sugar in those 10 crackers). This goes for calories and everything else too, not just sugar. Keeps you eating the right proportions is knowing the serving sizes to begin with! =)
  2. Ingredients: They are labeled in order of quantity and volume, meaning that if sugar is like the second thing on the list don’t bring it home! The higher up whatever ingredient is in the list, the more the product contains of it and the lower the ingredient on the list the least of it. Watch out of hidden words like “dextrose, glucose High fructose Corn Syrup, Syrups, Aspartame.” These are still sugars you want to avoid. They put these ingredients as different names in hope of people not knowing what they are so they will buy more of it. Even when looking at the actual grams of sugar it contains, they don’t split it up and say where the sugar is coming from (like fructose comes naturally through fruit) So be sure to look at the actual ingredient list and know where your “sugar” form is coming from. Not all sugars are bad, its the syrups and fake sugars to watch out for!
  3. Calorie Count- How many calories does it contain per serving? This is where people can get confused when it comes to nutrition. Usually people just look and see if it contains a lot of calories or not, not even looking at the nutrients. In example something that contains a high amount of calories doesn’t necessarily mean its a bad food- it may contain a lot of nutrients. So don’t just look and see that it has 400 calories and then put it back onto the shelf, look and see where those calories may be coming from. Also don’t go after every food you can find that has little to no calories either. Just because it has 0 calories doesn’t mean its a healthy for you option. There are lots of things (unless its like fruits and veggies) contain 0 calories that have a million ingredients and fake sugar galore!!! Quality Vs. Quantity is a good example here.
  4. Where are your Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients at? – (DV) Daily Value is considered ideal and most sufficient when it comes to a basic diet. If it contains anywhere from 10-15% of your DV, its usually a better choice! The higher the better! You need all those nutrients to sustain energy, and keep your metabolism up and running good!!
  5. Sodium -When you’ve had too much sodium it raises your blood pressure. Also some foods have more than 3,000 milligrams alone in one serving when your daily amount is 2,300 (which I still think is too high personally- I would shoot for no more than 1500 ). The way I look at it too, the more sodium usually means its highly processed and should ideally stay away from. Things like frozen premade dinners have around 800 or more….. where as a green bell pepper has 4mg pepper.
  6. Carbohydrate- Here’s something tricky when reading carbohydrate on the label, it also includes complex carbs, fiber and sugar… I know how annoying?! So ideally shot for around 150-300 carbs a day at MOST! (keep in mind, depending on your level of physical activity could very with this and what kind of a diet your on as well. ) Some people go to extremes and do very low carb diets (which I’m not a huge fan of- because your body uses carbs as fuel) *note: I mean you should eat “good carbs and not “bad carbs” when I state that you should eat them. Some examples of good carbs include: Fruit, Veggies, 100% Whole Grains.. Bad carbs include: Refined grains and sweets with way too much sugar or fake sugar.
  7. Protein –  Depends on if your trying to build muscle, but usually shoot for around 40-50g a day. 35% of your calories should come from a clean protein source.
  8. What Kinds of Fats? – There are many types of fat and not all fat is bad for you. Your body needs fat to survive and function properly. The ideal type of fat is (Unsaturated fat), your usually clear if it doesn’t contain too much and/or (monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats) These come from oils and other foods like olives, avocado, nuts, seeds and natural butter spreads (like almond butter or peanut butter) and fish . The ones you want to stay away from are the… (trans fat and saturated fats) If your food contains lots of this type of fat, just put it back and don’t even try to justify it. Its not healthy and not worth it! This usually comes from animal sources whether that be from the animal meat itself or something that comes from the animal, like dairy or eggs.
  9. Fiber- Always look for high fiber in anything, not if your eating enough veggies and fruits (which you know if you are because you will be eating them all the time..right?! ) then you don’t really need to worry about getting enough fiber, but always good to look for (shoot fore 3g or more)
  10. Sugar- The lower the better, but make sure your making sure there is “fake sugar” in it because that even worse! Shoot for natural sugars from things like fruit, veggies and some whole grains rather than the sugars in pre-packaged and processed foods. Your tummy will thank you! Try not to consume more than 30g sugars a day (Which is still kinda high)

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