Success is closely connected to mindset. Whatever your dreams are, do you go after them with a strong start only to abandon them when they start to feel like a burden? I liken the 'burden' to the little complaints we start to whine about that grow into a pile of dirty 'mind' laundry, usually a self-sabotage of subconscious creation in an attempt to keep us from facing our fears, primarily fear of failure. That's ironic really, isn't it? Being so afraid of failing that attempts to accomplish are undermined with excuses, justifications, defenses, rationalizations, pretexts, evasions and lies...Ironic in that it leads us directly to the failure we're afraid will happen if we try. We humans are quirky, aren't we?!
The last Diet Support Group ended with homework which was just to write an answer to the following question: How much do you complain during the day, how does this affect your success in accomplishing your goals and why do you feel this is or isn't the case? I thought the above quote by Carlos Santana pretty much sums it up: Complaints are typically a form of self-deception because we feel 'entitled' and somebody, or something, gets in the way of our own interests. I'm just sayin' because I used to do a LOT of whining myself, to the point where even I got sick of me. The 'Why me?' pity party so often engaged in when we feel that we've been singled out and dealt an extra dose of tough luck, assuming most everyone else is getting a free pass, is totally at our discretion to attend. I say, show up with a stick of dynamite and blow that sucker to shreds! How's that for a hostess gift!
We cover the influence of mindset a lot in the support group and for good reason: it is the epicenter of where the cycle for success begins or gets crushed. Either way, it's all within you to decide which way you want to go. Most of the mental barriers we create when it comes to following through with dietary changes and exercise goals are temporary; the struggle for us is how we overcome them when they exert such strong influence 'in the moment.' The #1 thing to remember at that point: Who's in charge of you? Who's at the helm? Who's the master of your domain! The only sensible answer is 'You' and if you entertained any other notions, take them back! It's not due to a non-supportive family, a job, etc. While those may present obstacles, that's life and it will always have issues to throw your way. So, suck it up Buttercup and soldier on! The only way to ever get past this crossroads, this critical juncture, this moment of reckoning - is to take control and talk yourself through it. I make it sound so simple, right? Well, it is actually, once you do it repeatedly because it's just a series of habits that you're trying to change and it takes time, commitment, perseverance and patience. Those habits are the only difference between you now and the you of the future who has mastered your thought process:
Let's get back to the subject of clean eating! In the last Diet Support Group, we discussed 'clean' and 'better for you' swaps (click here for link: https://www.fiftyfierce.com/single-post/2017/07/10/Heavy-Contenders-Vie-For-First-Place), and now you're in your kitchen trying to figure out how to put all that together for a day's worth of eating. Knowing what foods fit the clean-eating guidelines will make it easier to design meals - use the list below as a source of inspiration (all ingredients should be fresh, organic whenever possible and non-GMO).
Ezekiel brand breads – Most often found in the freezer section, with several types to choose from, though not all are clean so read labels! They make tortillas as well.
Alvarado Street Bakery brand breads
Trader Joe’s brand whole grain breads – Two in particular that are clean: the Sprouted Multi-Grain bread and the California Protein bread.
Ak Mak Whole Wheat Crackers
Make your own-here's a link to my recipe: https://www.fiftyfierce.com/blank-voosm?lightbox=dataItem-ipmnk1og
Tortillas: Who knew it could be so difficult to find a clean version. Typically, the only ingredients are corn, lime and water. Trader Joe’s carries a sprouted wheat tortilla that is clean. You could also experiment and make your own. This is the reason I just switched to using romaine lettuce, plus it saves a LOT of carbohydrate calories.
Dairy & Non-Dairy: This tends to be a source of confusion for clean eaters.
Milk - Raw milk is the cleanest though it can be hard to find, so another option would be organic, full-fat milk. If it's not raw, it’s best to treat your milk as a fat and carbohydrate instead of a protein. As homogenization is processing of dairy, the lower fat, the more processed the milk is.
Cottage cheese – Full fat is best, but you can also use low fat, though avoid fat-free. Truly clean cottage cheese is difficult to find and remember, the lower the fat, the more processing is involved.
Yogurt – Choose Plain Greek. You can add your own fruit/flavorings if you need. Choose full fat, not reduced or non-fat.
Cheese – Buy the real thing and skip pre-shredded cheeses; they have anti-caking agents added.
Unsweetened almond milk – Make your own.
Unsweetened rice milk - Again, make your own.
Unsweetened soy milk – Purchase the organic variety that is certified non-GMO.
Unsweetened coconut milk – The canned version. Be sure to read labels! Light coconut milk is fine.
Eggs – A staple. Avoid the carton egg whites.
Chicken & Turkey – Buy organic, it’s always a better way to go.
Beef: Beef can be part of a clean eating diet - choose grass-fed, humanely raised beef.
Pork – Quality versions are clean though processed pork should be avoided (ham, bacon).
Venison – A lean meat; can be used in place of beef in most recipes.
Fish – Most fish is considered clean, though be aware of the mercury content found in most fish today. Be sure you are buying sustainably and avoid farmed fish. The Monterey Bay Aquarium web site provides info on safe-to-eat fish in any given season: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/conservation-and-science/our-programs/seafood-watch?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgba7-PuG1QIVkySBCh20Swj8EAAYAyAAEgLxEvD_BwE
Produce: This is the area to stock up on! Organic choices are more expensive but not always mandatory. A guideline to follow: choose organic for produce that has thin skin (apples, plums, peaches, nectarines, grapes, all berries) and purchase conventionally grown produce that has thicker skin like bananas, oranges, pineapple, etc. The 'Dirty Dozen' list explains the worst produce to eat grown by conventional methods.
Berries of all kinds
Any fruit you enjoy
Bell Peppers, any color
Squash, any variety
Onions, any variety
Any veggie you enjoy
Tea – Particularly green tea
Oatmeal – As in steel cut oats or traditional rolled oats. I use a Vitamix to make oat flour from steel cut oats.
Canned items - Read the ingredients: there should be no added sugar (sugar, evaporated cane juice, dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc…) listed on the label. Other things to check for: sodium content and BPA (bisphenol-A) -free liners.*
Dry beans and legumes – such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, split peas, etc.
Whole wheat or whole grain (think brown rice) pasta
Other whole grains such as millet, spelt, wheat berries, barley
Seeds – Quinoa, hemp, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia, flax.
Ketchup – Good luck! Make your own recipe at home.
Mustard – Check the label for added sugar!
Honey – The best choice is Manuka. Very expensive but delicious flavor and worth it.
Pure Maple Syrup –The real stuff. Also more expensive but worth it, use sparingly.
Molasses – Choose unsulphured.
Spices – Purchase fresh when possible but definitely avoid spice packets. Opt for garlic and onion powder without salt. Avoid the herb blends as many have added sugars, even Mrs. Dash.
Salt – Salt is actually a vital mineral and good quality salt is important.
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat pastry flour
White whole wheat flour
Coconut flour - has a nice sweet flavor, low in carbs, high in fiber, use about 1/4 of what's required per recipe instructions
Almond Flour – make your own (Vitamix owners rejoice!)
If you have gluten intolerance, research other flours on gluten-free sites.
Breakfast: Omelette, scrambled eggs, steel-cut oats, smoothies (made with fresh fruit, veggies, herbs, nut milks, naked protein powder, nut butters, Greek yogurt, etc.), tofu scramble, breakfast burrito, huevos rancheros, powerhouse pancakes, quiche, casseroles.
These are not novel recipe ideas but often forgotten, especially by those asking "What can I eat to lose weight?" Quality food of the clean persuasion, in the right portion amount, is always going to be my answer, and that includes all of the above. I find the question usually has more to do with habit (what foods can I eat that I don't eat now) and convenience (you'll have to start planning meals, shopping appropriately and preparing ahead of time).
In the next group, we'll go over more menu ideas. This week, the homework is to try a new recipe done clean. Take a photo, share it with the group next week and be sure to include all ingredients, including the recipe source. Extra credit for tracking macros (carbs/protein/fat), sodium and fiber, and calorie content per serving!
*BPA is linked to certain cancers and diabetes. Choosing BPA-free is a good place to start but know that this chemical is so pervasive it's almost impossible to avoid. Here is a source for further information - please take some time to explore this site! https://www.edf.org/blog/2016/04/04/epa-label-ids-safer-choice-cleaning-products