January 1, 2013

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“This year I’m going to lose x pounds.”

It’s a cliche.
Everyone has it on their resolution list every year, and yet it is the least successful resolution on the planet.

Why doesn’t it work?
People love to make things overly complex – counting calories, following the latest super foods, tracking organic/grain-fed … it gets overwhelming and becomes work.

Who wants eating to be work?
You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’ve had a bad day. You just want to eat.

Don’t make shopping and cooking a full time job.

5 Ways to Eat Cleaner

Photo from GoodFon.comVisibility in the Fridge
If you can see the food, you are more likely to eat it. Give yourself better options visually. Lay out fruits and veggies and a nice big jug of water on the shelves in the front. Push things like sauces, juices, and anything highly processed or sugary to the bag and into the drawers. You are more likely to eat what you see.

Get Rid of the Junk
Don’t have the snack foods laying around. If you have the option between an apple and a bag of chips, mostly likely you will snack on the chips. If the only options available for snacking are fruit, carrot sticks, dried fruits and so forth, you have a choice… snack healthy or don’t snack at all. This goes for quick/convenience meals as well. Don’t think “oh, I’ll just pick up one frozen pizza, in case I don’t have time to cook one day”. You’re making excuses before you’ve even tried. It is easier if you don’t have cheat options available, much like a recovered alcoholic doesn’t have booze in the house. What qualifies as “junk”? Anything that requires more than 3 steps from it’s natural state (animal/plant) to your plate is generally junk.

Essential gear: a Brita water bottle and a George Foreman grill
I am not just trying to sell you something, but these two products will make eating healthy ten times easier (at least). Carry a water bottle with you. I like the Brita ones with the filter because you can fill them up anywhere. The key is to make this easy, right? This will help you drink more water, and less juice/pop during the day. The George Foreman grill is actually easier than using a microwave to cook once you get used to it. Grill meat, grill veg, grill eggs, heck – grill fruit! All it takes is plugging it in, heating it up (a minute or two), and then putting whatever it is you want into it. It’s easy to clean too. This negates the need for any “just in case” convenience meals!

Compose meals by colour
This isn’t scientific by any means, but it is probably better than the system you are using to create meals. And yes, it is easy. For each meal try to include a protein, a “green vegetable”, and a “red/orange/yellow vegetable”. You can add whatever dairy and carbohydrate you need to complete the meal, sauce, and so forth. This way you are at least getting a better balance of the types of nutrients offered. Green veggies would be things like broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, zucchini, etc. Red/Orange/Yellow veggies would be things like peppers, tomatoes (yes, I’m aware it’s a fruit!), carrots, corn, etc.

Cut down on the wheat
Ok, so I am descending into “diet fad-world” here a little bit, but as something I have done myself and found to work well, I can attest for it. Instead of getting regular bread, get the rice flour or amaranth equivalent. Eat less bread and more rice. Use rice instead of potatoes for a meal (or use yams/sweet potatoes, thus covering your orange veggie!).

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Eating clean doesn’t have to be rocket science. Obviously the more informed you get about what you are eating, the more organics you eat, the better it will be for you. But we all have to start somewhere, and the reality is the more complex you make it to start, the less likely you are to follow through on it. Start with some simple changes, and see how it goes!

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Good luck, and all the best of the new year
to you and yours!

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