The Clean Eating Program
The Clean Eating Program
A New Way to Think About Healthy Food
When you think of ‘healthy’ food, what do you think of?
For many of us, this doesn’t exactly bring to mind a gourmet meal. Instead, you might think of healthy foods as being those typical ‘low fat’ sandwiches or crisps that have had all the moisture sucked out of them. Maybe you think of bread that is about as thin (and tasty) as a piece of cardboard!
Whatever the case though, healthy food doesn’t actually have to be this way. In fact, healthy food should be all the stuff that you really want to eat. After all, this food is meant to be really good for you; so it makes sense that it would be tasty and satisfying!
Where Diet Food Goes Wrong
Diet food, unfortunately, is completely unhelpful for the most part. This is food that has had the fat removed from it, based on the incorrect belief that fat causes heart problems. We now know that fat is actually good for us and even slows down the absorption of sugar as well!
What’s more, is that it’s fat that makes us feel fuller! And while it contains more calories, this simply means we need to eat less of it – and less of everything else as well.
What Healthy Food Really Looks Like
The first clue that healthy food should actually be tasty and even indulgent comes from the Mediterranean Diet. This is an entire continent of people who are in fantastic health despite eating a diet that would technically be considered unhealthy by many ‘experts’.
People on the Mediterranean Diet live longer and have great heart health – thanks to the saturated fat content and things like resveratrol found in red wine.
At the same time though, the Mediterranean Diet includes a ton of different fruits and vegetables all arranged beautifully on the plate and displaying a ton of vivid colors. Greek salad contains tomatoes, feta, cucumber, and pepper and is packed with goodness!
Meanwhile, the inclusion of oil on top actually ensures that all those nutrients are absorbed better.
When you eat like this, you actually enjoy your food and you feel full and satiated. Thus you don’t get cravings or feel the need to snack and you also get to enjoy eating – the way you should!
It’s not just the Mediterranean Diet that offers these benefits of course. The take-home message here is rather a very simple one: eat a varied diet and make sure you enjoy it!
How to Bulk With Your Diet
When it comes to diet, everyone has different goals. Just as some of us focus on losing weight and becoming leaner, others are more interested in building mass and growing in size. This is what we call ‘bulking’.
Bulking also happens to be much easier for some people than it is for others. If you are naturally an ectomorph, then that will make it hard for you to increase your weight and to grow and you will likely find that you’re naturally very slim and light.
There are ways to get around this though and it all has to do with the way you eat. Here are some points to consider…
You Need Energy
One of the positive sides of being an ectomorph is that it means you have free reign to really enjoy your carbs! In fact, carbs are necessary if you’re going to increase your muscle mass as the body actually needs a lot of energy in order to create and store muscle!
You Need Protein
Of course, you also need to consume plenty of protein to gain muscle. After all, this is what muscle is made out of.
The general advice given when it comes to building muscle is that you should aim to consume 1 gram of protein for every 1 pound of bodyweight. If you do this and train intensively, then you’ll grow in size and strength.
Timing May be Important
One factor of dieting that often gets overlooked is timing (although this is the entire focus of other diets such as carb backloading or intermittent fasting). Timing is important when it comes to building muscle though because the protein needs to be available right when your body is highest in anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone.
There are two times when you’ll be in this anabolic state: when you go to bed and approximately one hour after training. Keep in mind though that protein takes time to be absorbed by the body!
You Need to Rest
Another thing to keep in mind when aiming to bulk is that your body needs to rest. The more rested you are, the more anabolic you become – whereas when you exert yourself you are breaking down tissue and ‘catabolic’.
To grow, you need to start training and eating like a lion. Train just enough to stimulate growth and spend the rest of the time relaxing and eating!
How to Improve Your Energy Levels With the Right Diet
Wouldn’t life just be a lot better if you had more energy?
Serious – low energy is probably responsible for a huge proportion of our problems! It’s low energy that makes it hard to wake up in the morning, it’s low energy that makes us not really want to exercise and it’s low energy that prevents us from performing our best or really enjoying life.
Begin With Your Diet
The problem is that it takes energy to start changing your lifestyle and to do things like exercise more or sleep better to improve your energy… so where do you begin? The answer is simple: you begin with your diet!
There are tons of ways that you can improve your energy levels through your diet, here are just a few!
One way you can add more energy using your diet is just to consume more glucose. This won’t give you long-term energy but will instead help you to improve your energy in the short term and give you a small kick when you’re struggling.
And interestingly, one of the best ways to get that hit of glucose is to ‘cheat’ and have glucose from man-made, processed sources. A glucose tablet is one option, another is to eat Wine Gums!
Using glucose on a regular basis is not a recommended way to keep your energy levels up though. Instead, it’s better to use MCT oil, which comes from coconuts and other natural sources. This type of oil doesn’t get absorbed by the body in the same way as other fats and it encourages the body to produce ketones – a type of energy that has a lot of particular uses for the brain.
If you want an example of someone with high energy levels, then look no further than the Tarahumara tribe! This group of indigenous people are able to run hundreds of miles in a single go and they accomplish this at least in part thanks to chia seeds – seeds that are capable of absorbing several times their weight in water!
Iron is used to create red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. More iron = more oxygen where you need it – meaning in turn that you’ll have more energy.
Another way to get more oxygen around your body when you need it is to cause vasodilation and widen the blood cells. This can be done with any food containing nitrates – including garlic. But vinpocetine is a natural ingredient that goes one step further by ensuring the vasodilation occurs mainly in the most important regions of the brain.
Meanwhile, anything that can increase mitochondrial energy metabolism will greatly enhance energy levels – CoQ10, PQQ, and creatine all being very good examples (and all being found in organ meats).
The Easiest Ways to Cut Calories and Junk From Your Diet
If you’re trying to improve your diet, you’ll often find it’s easier to focus on the things you want to remove from your current eating habits rather than trying to add things.
And the best way to make that successful is to focus on just the smallest things that will cause the smallest change to your feeling of fullness and energy throughout the day.
Here are some very easy ways to cut calories and reduce the amount of junk in your diet!
Get Rid of Soda Drinks
One of the very best things that anyone can do for their diet is to remove soda drinks from their diet. That means no more Coca-Cola and no more 7-Up. Why? Because these drinks are absolutely packed with simple sugars while offering nothing healthy in return. They’ll make you feel hungry and they’ll add lots of calories while contributing to lipogenesis (fat storage).
Choose the Right Coffee
What’s just as bad or arguably even worse is when you stop by Starbucks on the way into work and grab yourself a large Americano. There’s nothing wrong with the coffee – rather it’s the large amounts of cream, full-fat milk and chocolate sprinkles that get added. Simply switch that morning beverage for an Americano or a black coffee/sea and you’ll instantly save yourself the damage – cutting your diet by 100-200 calories immediately.
Stop Adding Sugar
Another tip is to stop adding sugar to your tea. Once again, this adds unnecessary calories and then creates hunger pangs following your release of insulin that will suck up all of your sugar and leave you shaky.
Moreover though, adding sugar to everything makes gets you accustomed to things tasting sweet. In other words? You develop a sweet tooth. And now nothing you eat is going to be as satisfying unless there’s sugar on top!
Remove the Butter
Butter isn’t unhealthy for you as such, but if you’re trying to reduce your calories specifically then slathering this onto everything you eat really isn’t going to help! Get used to eating your sandwiches with just the spread and you’ll find it easier to lose weight!
Even when we’re dieting, it can be hard to turn down a nice dessert when everyone else is indulging – especially because we may feel as though we’re being boring or preventing others from enjoying their food.
The simple answer? Offer to share with someone! You’ll save money and calories!
The Power of Walking a Little Bit
Losing weight should never be the sole aim of any diet. Your diet is what sustains you and it is what your body uses to rebuild tissue, flesh and even brain matter. In other words, if you aren’t eating right then you won’t be performing right either. That should be the priority.
Still, though, many of us do aim to lose weight with our diets and that’s why it can be very disheartening when it just doesn’t happen for us.
And sometimes it’s genuinely doesn’t. Sometimes, we will work incredibly hard to try and cut calories and eat as sensibly as possible only to end up the same weight that we were to start with.
What’s going on?
This is something that fitness trainers will see regularly. They write someone a training program, give them a simple diet plan and then watch as… nothing happens.
Meanwhile, someone else might be putting much less effort in and still find that they’re losing a lot more weight! So what’s going on?
The answer is that exercise and diet is only one part of the equation. And in fact, there’s one more crucial element that plays a huge role!
No, I’m not talking about genetics in this instance. Though of course your natural metabolism and various other biological factors will have a big impact. If you don’t believe me, then just ask anyone who suffers with hypothyroidism or who has used steroids. That is the difference that the right hormones make. (And in fact, if you aren’t seeing any progress in your diet, you may want to consider getting checked for these conditions by seeing your doctor.)
What I am talking about is a lifestyle.
It’s everything that you do in-between your exercise and your diet that really matters. Try wearing a fitness tracker for a while and you’ll see the impact this has. If you are walking 15,000 steps every day to get to and from work then you are burning a heck of a lot more calories than someone who works from home and who rarely commutes.
The difference that aiming to get 10,000 steps a day makes to the way you feel and the weight you lose is huge.
Meanwhile, think as well about your job – is it active? Think about your jobbies – do you dance or do martial arts?
In the wild, we didn’t exercise for one hour a day and spend the rest of the time sitting down. Rather, we were consistently exercising, running and challenging ourselves. That’s how you need to be if you want optimal health and weight loss!