In my last post I mentioned that I was on a bit of a health kick. I had my 1st meeting with my personal trainer on Wednesday, which was a bit scary but exciting at the same time. To keep costs down, myself and 2 workmates had decided to do it together. The training is less personal as its divided between the 3 of us but we all have the same goals at the end of the day - to lose fat and build muscle! - and we can help each other through it. We didn't get any training done on Weds cause we spent so long going through our weight/body fat percentage/metabolism etc and discussing diets (we really don't shut up - I don't think he knew what he was letting himself in for!). I still got loads out of the session as I now know what I should be eating and when. The other plus side of doing PT with my workmates is that we can help each other to avoid the biscuits in the staff room! Anyway, this diet chat got me thinking and I've decided to give this clean eating thing a go. Rather than a diet, where you are point/calorie counting, clean eating is basically a mantra that revolves around eating only natural, unprocessed foods - such as fresh fruit & veg, whole wheats and lean cuts of meat, such as chicken and turkey. I'm not saying I'm going to stick to it 100% (not sure where I'd even get almond butter?) but I'm going to try my best to stick to the main rule of this lifestyle.
I think I now have a better understanding of what my body needs in the nutrient side of things too. Obviously I'll get a lot of the vitamins and minerals I need from the fruit and veg, but I need to make sure I get enough carbs too. Carbs are essential to give my body energy - so I should eat enough of them to fuel my day, rather than cut them out all together. Swapping white bread, rice and pasta for wholewheat varieties will make sure I'm getting the right kind, and eating them earlier in the day (breakfast/lunch) will allow me to burn them off as I go about my day! Protein is needed to repair the muscles that are 'damaged' after working out, and the best way to get this is by eating poultry/fish, so I'm going to try and use them in my evening meals. Quinoa is a wholegrain which is rich in protein, so it'll also be used later on in the day as a substitute for rice.
I'm going to try and make evening meals that are made up mostly of protein (chicken/fish/beans) and fresh veg with only a small portion of carbs. This is proving to be a hard task for me because most of my meals usually revolve around pasta, rice or potatoes - and usually covered in some sort of unhealthy sauce or gravy! I've stocked up on veg but find they can be quite boring and tasteless without sauces, so to keep my meals as natural as possible I'm going to try and use different spices and seasoning for flavour. Hello, my name is fiiive spice!
Cottage cheese is commonly used in the clean eating lifestyle, but I decided to go for Quark instead. Quark is a soft cheese which is ridiculously low in fat (thumbs up!) and is also richer in protein than carbs! It has a bit of a sour taste but if you like cottage cheese you'll probably get on just fine. Apparently people also mix it with milkshake powders, such as Nesquik strawberry flavour, and eat it as a fat free alternative to yoghurt. So far I've had it with salad and smoked salmon and quite enjoyed it.
My fruit bowl is filled so I can have my usual banana and stawberries with breakfast, and snack on grapes and apples. I've also been having cucumber sticks dipped in low fat houmous as a snack and I bought my 1st ever grapefruit today, which I love! Grapefruit is full of antioxidants and vitamin C and has been proven to lower cholesterol, so I think I'll buy them more often!
And there you have it - my very 1st attempt at shopping to eat clean! The key is to make sure all the items have as minimal ingredients as possible - for example on the back of the smoked salmon packet, it says "Ingredients: Salmon. Salt, Sugar." Not quite perfect, but close enough. And definitely avoid anything with ingredients you can't even pronounce! Hopefully by doing this along with exercise I'll see some good results. I'll be trying to keep my blog up to date with my progress and maybe do a weekly round up of my meals so keep an eye out for that! If you have any tips or advice on eating clean, or just a healthy lifestyle in general, then please do let me know :)