Hello my rockstars! I hope your year is getting off to an excellent start. This week we are going to explore clean eating and all that it entails. When I moved to California from New York, I was surprised at how popular Trader Joe’s was amongst busy professionals out here. I just didn’t get the allure. It seemed as though I was the only person on the West Coast that doesn’t shop at Trader Joe’s. The thing about Trader Joe’s that bothers me is that it is literally a store of packaged and processed foods. Even a majority of the produce comes in packaging, so it has gone through some sort of processing to arrive on the shelf. I couldn’t go to a friend’s apartment without seeing the eponymous bevy of packaged foods with the quirky packaging designs. Now I’m not here to vilify Trader Joe’s. I’m just trying to call attention to the amount of processing that goes into the foods we eat on a regular basis and how we could benefit from a diet based on clean eating practices.
So what is clean eating anyway? The foundation of clean eating is simple — consume foods that are whole, real foods. This includes vegetables and fruits, whole-grains, animal and plant- based protein, nuts, seeds and oils which are minimally processed, not packaged, or originating from a factory. In order to eat in a manner that constitutes clean eating, cooking at home would also be encouraged. Now, I know for a busy professional, eating this way can be quite challenging. However, with some advance planning, you can begin to allocate a few days a week to clean eating. This week in Nourish + Balance, look out for some ways you can employ clean eating practices into you daily meals.
One of the things about clean eating that I absolutely love, is that I am less inclined to mindlessly eat. Whenever I get a plate of truffle french fries or a bowl of Annie’s gluten free white cheddar mac and cheese, the whole dish is gone is a matter of seconds. Don’t even get me started on potato chips! Anyone who knows me, knows I cannot pass up a bag of potato chips. [Full disclosure] I can open a bag of potato chips (I’m talking about the regular size, not snack size) and before I know it… “Oh crap, I ate the whole bag of chips!”
Can anyone relate? If you can, you will most certainly enjoy this weeks focus. Along with clean eating, we are going to focus on mindful eating practices as well.
Mindful eating is fundamental practice which engages you to reach a state of full attention to your experiences while eating. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the moment and non judgmentally. Think back to the last meal you ate. Can you remember how it smelled? Can you remember how it tasted? Can you recall any of the textures? How long did it take you to consume this meal? Where did you consume this meal? Were you fully focused on your meal or where you multitasking doing something else while eating? When you are mindfully eating, you are fully present during your meal, utilizing all of your senses, calling attention to all of those aspects.
So if you are asking me, why should you even care about mindful eating, I will tell you that through increased awareness, mindful eating will help you distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. How many times have you emotionally ate a meal or snack? Or, how many times have you ignored the fact that you were full and kept eating anyway? Establishing a solid mindful eating practice will help you to navigate between your physical hunger and fullness cues, helping you to distinguish between an emotional cue and and actual, physical hunger cue. I cannot tell you how many times, I have finished a meal in 5 minutes minutes— literally inhaled it— and can’t really even remember what it tasted like.
I am beyond excited to get into both clean eating and mindful eating with you as both very easily go hand in hand. Trust me, if you’re anything like me and can finish a bag of potato chips without even blinking an eye, then this week’s features are for you! Not mention, you’ll stop taking your bad day out on your kitchen and treat it a bit more kindly. Don’t make that face, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You come home from a bad day, first thing you do is head to the fridge or cupboard and start slamming doors trying to figure out how you can eat your feelings. So let’s get real about how we are fueling our bodies and lives.
Yes, let’s do this!