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Domestica’s Top 5 Guidelines for Eating Clean

I spent years living off caffeine-induced energy and mid-afternoon sugar hits to get me through the day.  You know what I’m talking about — the office vending machine gets slammed between 2-4 pm as you and all your coworkers stumble like comatose zombies to get the afternoon fix. But the M&M’s (or if you’re like I was, the Caramel Frapp) is simply spiking your insulin to deliver a short-lived surge of energy and then bringing you back down faster than a parachute-free skydive. Ever wonder why you get home from work and feel like tearing everyone’s heads off? Toddlers aren’t the only ones who suffer from our dear friend, Mr. Sugar Crash.

Although it takes time and dedication to see big results with your weight loss goals, there is one thing that has an immediate effect — eating clean!  Higher energy levels, stronger hair/nails, healthier skin, fewer infections, easier menstrual cycles, less moodiness — these are just some of the benefits of eating clean.

Domestica’s Top 5 Guidelines
for Eating Clean

(and how I went from a size 12 to a size 2)

5. Eliminate Refined Sugars

Think of everything in your local bakery, those fancy frapps, and your entire office vending machine. That pretty much sums up the refined sugar you should not be eating. And please do not think that artificial sweeteners are the answer to cutting out refined sugar — because they’re not. Your body treats both like poison but chemically-derived sweeteners have been proven to stimulate your appetite (not the best thing for someone trying to lose weight). Start training your taste buds to live without sugar! You’ll be shocked at how easy it is.

I started by simply ordering my fancy coffee drinks with one less pump of sweetener.  Then, after a few weeks, I reduced it again by another pump. I kept going until I didn’t need a single pump of sweetener to enjoy my coffee. Now, I even drink it black! Pigs are flying somewhere, I’m sure.

4. Healthy Fats Only

I have never once counted fat grams. True story.  So long as you are consuming good fats while still keeping your calories in check, you’re body (and your brain!) will thank you. So stay away from the potato chip aisle, deep-fried…anything, and other man-made type fats.  But it’s a good idea to start consuming more good fats like avocado, raw nuts, healthy oils (coconut, olive, etc) and sticking to lean meats only.

3. If It’s White, You Probably Shouldn’t Eat It

White bread, white rice, white tortilla shells, white pasta…these are all refined grains.  Swap for whole grains as often as you can. Just because a pasta is brown, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s non-refined grains.  Many companies have played up the “multi-grain” and “all-natural” claims and will even add a teensy bit of whole-grain flour to make the product brown. Truth be told, it’s often made up of less-costly refined white flour. You pay more thinking it’s “healthy” and they increase their profit margin since it’s really just a refined product.

Don’t buy grain products unless the ingredients outline whole grains (preferably sprouted whole grains as they are even less processed).

2. Drink Up

Clean Eating is also about clean drinking!  And that means: water, water, water. If you missed it, read my article on why water is important with some easy tricks to remind yourself to drink more of it. Find a healthy water bottle (I love my Life Factory glass bottles the most — no need to worry about chemicals leeching into your H2O) and just like Paris Hilton and her silly dog/rat, make it a permanent accessory.

Of course eliminating refined sugars means you’re not having soda (do I even need to say it?!), but eating clean also means eliminating your alcohol intake. If you want your metabolism to operate like a fine-tuned machine, alcohol is like putting dirty oil in your engine.

1. Forget the Fads

This is not a short-term challenge or a low-carb this, caveman-diet that. You need to treat this like a path to a better you, for life. And that means, taking small steps toward healthier eating habits until they become the norm.  I promise you — clean out your diet and you will never look back.

Remember the mantra: If man made It — I probably shouldn’t eat it.

If you’ve read that list and are thinking to yourself, “wow, that sounds like a whole lot of suck!”, take heart!  It took me years to get my body, my taste buds, and my knowledge level to where I am today.  And the best thing about following clean eating habits is that you can live by the 90/10 Rule. I eat clean about 90% of the time and allow myself to indulge the other 10% or so.

In the beginning of my clean approach to eating I would often use that 10% to devour cinnamon buns, french fries and plates of nachos.  After getting more and more conditioned to how great it feels to eat clean, I now have the occasional frozen yogurt or glass of wine and not only get the mental benefits of indulging in something I want but by making smarter choices, don’t feel like a truck ran me over afterward. It’s a win-win!

If you’re starting to eat clean for the first time, do yourself a favor: go and purge your entire kitchen right now! You won’t regret it.

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

Discussion

13 thoughts on “Domestica’s Top 5 Guidelines for Eating Clean

  1. Nice post! I love that mag, My Ma gets me a subscription for it. A goal of mine is to one day drink my coffee black, but for now I’m still hooked on the creamo. If pigs are flying somewhere then maybe one day. 😛

    Posted by Jill | July 5, 2011, 12:26 pm
    • My friend Shannon brings up a good point — drinking coffee black is actually quite doable if you can just get past the first two or three sips. SO true! I only tried it black out of sheer desperation one morning when I realized I had a beautiful cup of hot coffee in front of me and not a single type of any kind of milk in the house. After the first sip or two, I was like “hey! This is actually pretty good!” Amazing.

      Posted by Natasha | July 5, 2011, 9:30 pm
  2. I can second what you’re talking about. I’ve recently started changing my eating habits…yes, no more Doritos…and I can say that already I’ve noticed big changes. I can run longer, do more and I sleep more efficiently (less time and feeling more rested).

    You refer to years, how long exactly have you been eating clean for?

    Posted by Erin Philps | July 5, 2011, 12:29 pm
    • I’ve been eating this way for about three years but living in the US has allowed me to get even more serious about it. There is just so much access to good, organic health foods here.

      And YES! No more Doritos!!! Those things were from the pit of hell! 😉

      Posted by Natasha | July 5, 2011, 9:28 pm
  3. Definitely think avoiding as much man-made as possible will make one feel better/live happier. Diet soda actually makes you crave more sugar – your body thinks it is sugar. I am big advocate for healthy fats, but think a low-fat cheese stick provides craving-busting fuel for on-the-go peeps. Like you said, small steps. Speaking of which, also start walking – easy so good for you.

    Posted by domesticashop | July 7, 2011, 5:19 am
  4. I concur with all of the above!!! It certainly worked for me and if you go back to eating something on the “no list” after several weeks of eating clean – it tastes like lard in your mouth. YUCK! (mine anyhow) For me it was Cheetos, not Doritos. When I think about the chemical make up of those foods it makes me ill.
    I saw your popcorn video – do you use coconut, palm kernel oil or EVOO for that? We simply made the switch back to a hot air popper, after years of microwaved, hydrogenated oil and chemical ridden popcorn in a bag. Like you said – no looking back!

    Posted by Rita S | November 27, 2011, 10:03 pm
    • Hi Rita, I use Sunflower oil. I was using EVOO but it kept burning. Even tho it’s a high heat oil it does not work well for this purpose. Just be sure not to use too much either. Luckily kernels are cheap so you can afford to experiment. 🙂

      Posted by Erin | November 28, 2011, 8:56 am
      • EVOO actually has one of the lower smoke points (375˚F) of all the “good for you” oils so I wouldn’t recommend it for popcorn (which has to get SUPER hot before it will pop). I use coconut oil (“refined” has a smoke point of 440˚F) or like Erin said, Sunflower oil (again, when “refined”, it’s 440˚F). You can see all the different types of oils and their smoke points here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point.

        Posted by Natasha Kay | November 28, 2011, 5:09 pm
  5. Well here we go! This sounds great! I know I’m going to have to take it slowly, but my husband and I are both looking for a way to strategically eat healthier so that our budget doesn’t take a hit. My biggest question would be how to do plan to eat during the day when I am gone from 7am to 9:45 pm 3 days a week? I am encouraged though and am going to look more at your recipes and hopefully get some life change strategies I can share with my husband and family. By the way, it’s really cute seeing your boys in your videos! I loved the one where they describe your blueberry bake in the morning! =)

    Posted by Erika Ann Hammond | May 21, 2012, 6:54 pm
    • Sounds great! There are lots of ways to eat clean on a budget…especially if you stop spending money on empty processed food that leaves you feeling hungry as soon as you finish eating! I shop at the Farmer’s Markets, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s…and have found a way to make it all work. You learn as you go. 🙂

      If you stop buying things that come in boxes/cans/packages (i.e. chips, pre-made dinners, etc), you’d be surprised at how much money you save!

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | May 21, 2012, 9:32 pm
    • To answer your question about how to eat well when you’re out of the house for so long — it’s actually quite simple — just takes some prep work. A lot of people with these types of schedules do one day a week where they prep a lot of things (i.e. hard-boil eggs, cook chicken breast, clean and cut-up all their veggies, etc). Then, you pack a COOLER each and every day. When I travel, I make a cooler full of food and it’s kinda the same thing I would suggest for you — fruit, cut-up veggies, hummus and whole wheat pita, quinoa salad (cold), whole wheat tortilla lettuce/turkey/tomato/cheese wrap, etc. Cheese + rice crackers, pb + an apple, pb + rice cakes — there are a lot of healthy snacks — just have to find the ones you like!

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | May 21, 2012, 10:36 pm

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