First off I want to say this is not a fad diet, this is my story on how clean eating lead me to losing 20lbs and keeping it off. Over a year ago, I found myself 20 pounds over my comfortable weight. I had defiantly packed on the “I am in a happy relationship” weight. At first, I was really hard on myself: “How could I have gained 20 pounds–I don’t eat bad and I work out at least three times a week?!” While 20 pounds is a lot for someone of my height (5’3), I did the math and over three years that is gaining 0.5 lbs a month. That is barely noticeable, even if you do step on the scale daily.
I first tried dieting, as it had always worked for me in the past. To my surprise, the dieting methods that had worked in my early 20s were no longer cutting it in my late 20s. I then made a conscious decision: I needed to make a change and nip this in the bud. I have too much life ahead of me to not be in the best shape possible.
Then I started working with a fabulous nutritionist, Maria Mizzi. It was by far the most costly thing I had ever done for myself, but I can confidently say the help was priceless! I could have never lost the weight on my own. My nutritionist broke it down for me: it look me three years to gain the weight; why did I expect to lose it in three weeks? That is an unreal expectation.
We are so bombarded with trendy diets and supplements that promise quick results, but those are not sustainable. We then set some obtainable goals and worked week by week to clean up my diet. Turns out, most of what I thought was “not so bad,” was. Welcome to the world of clean eating! Once you go clean you will never go back!
At first we cut out the sugar. I thought, no big deal, I can cut the sugar. Then she said that meant wine too… I loved wine. I was honestly a little devastated. I did not drink that often (or so I thought), but I really enjoyed that glass of wine while cooking dinner. I would maybe have a glass or two, three to four times a week, which turns out to be up to eight glasses a week. Maria assured me I was not giving up wine forever, but said to give it at least two weeks and see how I felt. After the two weeks sugar free, I was feeling better and already down two pounds. I then vowed to stick with it a little longer.
I ended up going months without drinking and even now don’t quite enjoy it the same–I swear the taste has changed. You can read more about cutting out alcohol in this post.
As we worked week by week to clean up my diet, I absolutely fell in love with the way I felt. I even had a lady come up to me at the grocery store and say, “I can really tell you eat right, your skin is beautiful.” Mind you, my skin has never been a feature of mine, as I have large pores and acne-prone skin. The clean eating diet truly works to correct more than just weight issues.
My diet now consists of plant-based foods, not necessary vegan or vegetarian, but mostly dairy-free, and I eat less meat, more veggies. I steer clear of anything over-processed or with ingredients I cannot pronounce. I use minimal sugar and prefer sugar in natural forms like maple syrup. Good rule for “clean eating” is if it has more than 5 ingredients or a shelf live of longer than a week chances are you shouldn’t put it in your body.
I found through my clean eating journey that it is always best to cook yourself instead of going out. When you go out, you have no control or knowledge of how the food is prepared. You might be ordering the salad, but still you don’t know what is in the dressing. I joke that cooking clean is a trial and error process; I have made a few dishes that I would not eat myself, let alone serve to anyone. But I have also found some great “gems” as I call them! These recipes are so good, even my processed food-loving dad loves them. If you didn’t tell someone it was “healthy,” they would have no idea.
The Fit Foodie is a curated collection of clean cooking recipes! Some of them I have found, some I found then tweaked to “clean them up,” and others I have created myself.
Most importantly these recipes support a balanced and sustainable clean eating diet! No crazy restriction, no 20lbs weight loss in two weeks, just good recipes you will want to eat that will help you loose weight and keep it off for good.
I hope these recipes will help and inspire you to cook a little cleaner.