Thursday, May 7, 2015

Clean Out the Pantry! Ditch the junk, and start your clean eating journey!

Whether you are a woman, a man, big or small, short or tall, mom or dad, single or not - Our end goal is the same, to get healthy! Why we are doing it is different for everyone. We can be doing it for ourselves, for our families, to be a good role model for our kids, to lose weight, to get fit, to have the body you always wanted.

And let's be honest here - you wouldnt be reading this is your pantry wasnt filled with crap, and you werent looking for help!!

99.9% chance your cabinets are full of sugary snacks and salty, and over-processed junk food. Your fridge is filled with high fat, high calorie items. These are your first serious roadblocks. If you keep all this in the house, these are the first things you are going to grab when you bored, tired, stressed, hungry - and lazy.

It's time to throw out your junk food in a Blaze of glory (thank you Bon Jovi) so you'll stick to your
convictions. I put together a step-by-step guide (with the help of to help you clean out the pantry once and for all!! We are going to replace that junk food with healthy alternatives that will still fulfill your cravings, and jump start your path to a healthier lifestyle that you'll actually stick to.

Be Strong, Be Courageous: You're About to Make Some Difficult Choices

Ok....first things first. This is NOT going to be easy. You are going to need to summon as much courage as possible. You need to be VERY HONEST with yourself. Are you committed? Do you have a support system? It may sound silly - but overeating, eating poorly, is just as serious as other addictions. Over time, unhealthy habits can lead to obesity, health issues, organ failures, diabetes, diseases and death. This MUST betaken seriously! To make change like this stick requires doing it in a dramatic way so you won't be tempted to just slip into your old habits, and educating yourself so you have healthy options that hit the same places on your palate that are served by the otherwise awful food you may have in your fridge or pantry.

Out with the Bad: Throw Out the Junk, Over-Processed, Unhealthy Food That's Holding Your Health Hostage

FRESH START TIME! Head into the kitchen, and get a large trash bag. Open up all of the kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator, the secret draws in the bedroom or spare rooms that you hide your junk food in. Get ready to throw out (or donate, if the food is non-perishable and your local community pantry or soup kitchen is accepting donations!) your awful food. Here's your plan of attack.

1.First Pass: Throw Out All of Your Obviously Terrible Food

Candy, chips, cookies, soda, sugar-laden fruit juice—all of it. Don't worry, we'll head to the grocery store in just a little while, so you won't have to live without snacks for too long.

2. Second Pass: Learn How To Read a Nutrition Label, and Use them to Decide What to Keep

If you don't often read the labels on the food you buy and eat, start now, and use them to help you decide what to keep and what to throw out. Take a look at the USDA's dietary guidelines. Need help with the amount of calories? Look here on how to figure that out. Takes all the guess work out of it!

  • Read the ingredient listing: Ingredients are listed in order of decreasing volume. Whatever the product contains the most of will appear first on the list of ingredients, and so on in decreasing order. If you see fat, sugar or salt listed front and center, you can safely assume that the food in question isn't going to be among the healthier options for you! If you can not pronounce the ingredients - safe bet - throw it out. 
  • Refer to the nutrition facts:
    • First, check out the serving size. Note the size of a single serving and how many servings are in a package.
    • Then look into total calories per serving. Think about the serving size and how many servings you're actually consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the Percent Daily Value (% DV).
    • Limit everything listed between Total Fat and Sodium. Most people require no more than 56-78 grams of fat per day. This includes no more than 16 grams of saturated fat, less than two grams of trans fat, and less than 300 mg of cholesterol (for a 2,000 calorie diet – this is why knowing your personal set of numbers is important).
    • Get enough of everything listed between Dietary Fiber and vitamins. Make sure you get 100 percent of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need each day.
    • Percent Daily Value: The %DV section tells you the percent of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV (5% of less is low). If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), seek foods with a higher %DV (20% or more is high).
  • In general, as you think about the amount of calories in a food per serving, remember that for a 2,000-calorie diet:
    • 40 calories per serving is considered low;
    • 100 calories per serving is considered moderate; and
    • 400 calories or more per serving is considered high.

As you familiarize yourself with the nutrition labels, start tossing the foods that may have seemed okay at first blush, but that you now know aren't good for you based on their ingredients and nutrition facts. Those frozen "light" Jimmy Dean breakfast bowls? The sodium content in there—regardless of the "light" label—is out of control. Frozen Lean Cuisines? Weight Watchers told me its just 5 points....Stop it. Just because the advertising community says its healthy - doesnt make it so. You can make those same meals yourself, using fresh foods. Its going to cost you less because you can make larger quantities and feed your whole family. The same applies to most of frozen meals, so keep an eye out. Approach the foods you used to think of as okay for you with a new eye, flip them over, and decide based on the label. Odds are you'll be surprised.

3. Third Pass: Decide on the Difficult Things

What's left after 1st and 2nd pass? This is where you consider the difficult foods that you really want to keep but you know probably aren't at all good for you. I am not there with you, so I can't force you to throw it out, but I will give you this advice: you'll be more likely to stick with the food choices you're about to make when you get to the grocery store if you don't have your old staples to fall back on.

4. What about my kids? So, if you have kids in the house....I can already hear you. "My kids are picky eaters", "They only eat pizza and chicken nuggets", "but they like chips and candy, everyone had that growing up". "My kids are gonna miss out on being a kid" I hear you, I was there too!! And you know what? We are WRONG!! They are not missing out on being a kid by not eating junk! They are going to live longer and healthier lives. They are not going to have to worry about being obese, having health issues later in life. They are going to be more active, they are going to learn from you, they are going to gain confidence. They are going to pass this on to their friends, their children. Its a beautiful cycle you are creating! Of course this is going to be difficult. Depending on their age, its a lot of years of bad habits to undo! One step at a time. Limit the junk they eat. Start replacing it with healthier choices. Have them shop with you and show them how to read the labels. Have them prepare the foods with you. The more involved they are, the better they will be. And at the end of the day - you are the adult. You are the parent. What you say goes!!

It's easy to throw out chips, soda, and candy. It's difficult however to toss out the frozen pizzas you rely on for a quick snack when you're hungry in the afternoon, or those microwave burritos that aren't really bad for you, but they aren't good either. those pop tarts you keep to throw at your kids because you are running late in the morning, and say "well at least they are eating something". Don't try to convince yourself that you can keep bad food if you change your habits either. Like keeping the jug of ranch dressing in your fridge if you promise yourself you really will only use a tablespoon per serving. We all know you won't just have the tablespoon —breaking habits isn't that easy. If it was, would you be where you are right now???

When I tackled this job myself, I found myself with a large trash bag full of food that I probably should never have picked up anyway. And to be honest, I still do this "cleanse" every few weeks or so. Old favorites find their way into the house all the time. Especially with the kids. The more times you do this, the more knowledge you are yourself with the better. Once you start ridding your house and your body of all these toxins, you are no longer going to crave it. My son enjoys salty and savory snacks, so I had to limit and toss out different varieties of salty snack mixes, tortilla chips. For my husband he also likes salty & savory - so the cured meat in the fridge, corn-syrup laden dipping sauces and condiments, frozen dinners that may be quick to microwave, but have incredible sodium and fat content all had to go. Me? I like the sweets. Chocolate and cookies. If you're about tackle this yourself, don't worry—my pantry was as empty as yours. If you are on a budget, I suggest little by little. For everything you throw out, replace it with something healthy. Over the week, or weeks - your pantry will be back to fully stocked - just with better choices.

Stop, Think, and Plan Before You Go Re-Stock the Pantry

Now that the junk is in the trash and your cabinets are bare, it's time to think about alternatives. You might think to put the planning before tossing, but we put them in this order to force you to go to the grocery store with after coming up with healthy alternatives.

As you make your shopping list, replace the foods you normally would buy with healthy options you'll enjoy. Think about are the types of flavors that you like, and look for healthy alternatives that hit those notes. If you tend to enjoy salty and savory snacks, you want to find better foods that hit the same flavor profile. If you give up your beloved bag of potato chips for tortilla chips or popcorn, you're more likely to stick with your healthy lifestyle change than if you toss out a bag of Cheetos and hope you'll learn to love dried apricots. Here are some suggestions to get your list started.
  • Savory Foods: If snack mixes, beef jerky, and potato chips dominate your snack cabinet:
    • Pick up some turkey jerky over beef jerky, or at least check out the sodium content on the beef jerky you're used to buying to see if there's anything a little healthier.
    • Mixed nuts are always a good snack if they're eaten in moderation. Try unroasted and unsalted.
    • Air-popped popcorn is always a great alternative to chips, and you can season it yourself.
    • Tortilla chips and salsa or cut vegetables and hummus are also great savory alternatives to keep in the fridge or pantry.
    • If you love dipping sauces, hummus, guacamole and pesto are also tasty, savory alternatives.
  • Sweet Foods: For those of us with a sweet tooth, getting rid of the candy, chocolates, or baked, processed sweets that you may have lying around your house can be difficult.
    • Trade in Little Debbie and Tastycake for Greek Yogurt (0% or 1%)with honey, berries, or bananas. Add those ingredients into the yogurt yourself. Do not buy the already mixed together version. Those are higher in sugar content.
    • Try fruits that are naturally sweet, like figs, raisins, and dates, or develop a love for dark chocolate.
    • Icecream is your weakness? Freeze a few cups of sliced bananas and then process them in a food processor for a few minutes (you may need a small amount of water depending on how powerful your food processor is). The end result is soft-serve ‘banana ice cream.' You can dress this up by adding cinnamon, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and a spoonful of peanut or almond butter into the food processor before processing for a really great frozen treat.
    • Seedless grapes, blueberries, raspberries - place in the freezer for a day, then break them out as a sweet snack that can satisfy your ice cream craving. 
    • Take your frozen fruit, with some greek yogurt and blend together for a quick and easy smoothie! 
    • Of course Shakeology is ALWAYS an amazing choice :) 70 dense nutrient ingredients! 
  • Sour and Bitter Foods: If sour treats tickle your fancy, there's a really easy fix for you: citrus fruits and fruit juices.
    • Try some plain yogurt to get a little tangy bite into your mornings. 
    • Grapefruit is also a great option.
    • You can also try cheeses like feta or a nice brie with the rind on to hit the spot.
    • If bitter is more your style, make sure to add some dark chocolate to your shopping list (baking chocolate really hits the bitter notes well.)
    • Bitter food lovers can also munch on some raw zucchini, maybe with a yogurt based dip like tzatziki.

Try to get as many whole grains in your lifetyle as possible, and make sure that those whole grains are the first ingredient on the label. Try high-fiber breads that are 100% whole grains with 4 or 5 grams per slice, or whole wheat pasta. Gluten free? Millet, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Amaranth, and Oats are the way to go. Stay away from white bread, white flour, white rice etc.

Obviously this is just the tip of the iceberg. The key here is to find healthier alternatives to foods that you already love and try them on for size. If some of the foods you have or had in your pantry have healthier options, check them out when you get to the store—just make sure to read the label to make sure they're actually healthy and not just marketed as such. There are tons of recipes out there to make clean versions of your favorite dishes. I myself am adapting from different recipes I have found! (pinterest)

Find a Personal Motivator To Help You Commit

Well you knew this part was coming! Tie your healthy eating goals, your fitness goals to someting that can be your personal motivator. For example, resolve to do more of your shopping at a farmers market. If you eat meat, look into purchasing meat that is raised in more sustainable ways, fed a healthier diet (i.e.: grass-fed beef vs. corn-fed beef, eggs from pasture-raised chickens), and treated more humanely. All of these changes provide benefits for human health as well as local economies, animal welfare, and the environmental landscape."

Find a person or people that are going to lift you up, while on this journey. You want to surround yourself with like minded people. You do not need people churping in your ear that you are silly, stupid, or wasting your time. This is a commitment you are making to yourself. To change your lifestyle, to become healthy and fit. its a tough road, and a road easily derailed from. If you've ever been on the diet roller coaster before, you know how tough it is!

Stop and consider your reasons before you go any further. How many times have you done this before? What's different this time? Why do you want to make the change? Do you want one on one help? Would being in a group of like minded people help you? These are important questions to consider, otherwise you may be setting yourself up for failure. This is an important commitment to your quality of life, so don't fear trying something new, or taking a new approach.

Personally, I have been on this journey for a year now. Without the support of family, friends, and my coach - I dont know if I would have made it this far. Because of all of my experiences, and the love and support I was given - I have chosen to pay it forward and help others! I would love to be you free coach!! Please contact me here - and lets schedule a time to speak!

The key here is whatever you choose to do, make sure you have a motivating force behind it that makes you stick to your guns when the going gets rough and when you are tempted to buy a box of Oatmeal Creme Pies from the convenience store.

Finally, share that motivator with friends and solicit their support. Recruit your family, friends, or colleagues to join in with you! I offer online communities that will offer support, motivation, recipes, fitness - the more the merrier! Let all share in our journey together!