02 January 2014

Eat Clean: How is it really going?

Hey peanuts!
Welcome to 2014- we made it.

I don't know about you, but this time of year always feels like a breath of fresh air to me.  A really cold breath, but a breath none the less.

I love the holiday season and all the hustle and bustle that surrounds December, but if we're being honest, I feel a bit on edge the entire month.  It's like from the middle of November up until January 1st, I'm constantly slightly stressed out.
It's the jam packed social calendar, the fact that I really should have started thinking about Christmas shopping in October, and trying to maintain a good diet/work out routine on top of everything that gets to me.
The entire month is non stop.  There is absolutely no time to recharge. 
That, more than anything else, is what I like about the New Year.
It's a chance to get back to what makes you normal, what makes you who you are.

The truth is, as I get further into adulthood, I like normal.
Going to bed before 10 PM is not only okay, it's glorious.
Sunday Funday isn't a weekly occurrence.  And I'm not even mad about it.
A fridge full of snap-wear with my meals for the week makes me happy.

So, that being said, I think it is time for an Eat Clean update.
I posted about my efforts to eat clean here.
And I have to say, I'm just not sold on the idea.

I'll preface this next part by saying I am not an expert.
I have no formal nutritional education, so everything I write about healthy diets is simply my opinion based on what I've gathered over time.
I get most of my information from books, fitness periodicals, and other blogs and obviously everything you read online isn't true.  I do quite a bit of research in hopes that it helps you guys out, but in no way are my tips and thoughts on the subject hard and true facts every time.

With that, here's what I have decided thus far.
Having a completely clean lifestyle is impossible.
Again, that's just for me.

Here are a few reasons why:

1) Frankly, it's far to expensive to eat clean when it comes to certain foods.
Take bread for example.  If you want to eat a wrap or have some toast with avocado on it, you're looking to spend up and over $5 for just one loaf of bread.  And that bread tastes like cardboard.
Now some of you reading this might be thinking "Well, bread is the enemy and it's not at all a clean food anyway" and you're on the right track for sure.  A lot of bread is not good.  But, I'm going to use it from time to time so right away "Eat Clean" goes out the window.  Especially when you're trying to do it on a reasonable budget. 

2) You start to develop a guilty complex about using simple, prepared foods in recipes.
How do you expect me to find the time to can my own tomatoes?  Really.  I have noticed myself reading the back of cans and even if I can pronounce all the ingredients, if there are more than three, I feel bad.

3) Cheese.
That's all- just cheese.
In general, you're supposed to be allowed to eat cheese on a clean diet if you follow certain guidelines, but serious eat clean folks say it's a no.  For that reason, it feels like a cheat.

4) Even with all the planning and meal prep and shopping, sometimes, life really does just get in the way.  Yeah, you planned to eat that chicken and quinoa for dinner on Thursday... but you guys- half priced sushi.  I want to be able to go out to a restaurant and not think: "Rice isn't clean!  Rice isn't clean!" 

So let's make a change.
Why not just try to be healthy?
We can eat bread, and meet a friend for dinner, and make homemade pasta sauce without feeling bad about it.  We can do those things without gaining fat.  We can do those things and still maintain a healthy diet with a plan and goals. 

I'm still going to plan my meals each week.
I'm going to choose fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats over processed foods; that's not changing.
I just know, that for my personal life-style, eating clean isn't cutting it.

I think that when it comes to going healthy but not entirely clean , the emphasis is on the prepackaged foods you'll now be allowed to buy.  I mentioned earlier that I read labels, and that shouldn't change.  Just focus on the ingredients.  If you can't pronounce it, skip it, but don't feel bad if there are several natural ingredients in something you're going to buy.

So 2014 is going to be about eating healthy, versus eating clean.  I'll still post clean recipes if and when they come up and fit into what I'm making.  Often times I make a clean meal without even intending to.  But be on the look out for fun, delicious ideas for keeping a healthy diet that doesn't weigh on your guilt or cost you a fortune. 

A sneak peak of tomorrow's post:

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Carrots

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