Posts tagged Clean

A Guide to Clean Eating

Considering healthy eating but don’t know where to start? Feel like you’re stuck in a nutrition decline? It’s easy to find yourself confused and misinformed when it comes to clean eating. One day you’re super motivated, the next you’ve got no idea what to do next.

If you want to find triumph with your clean eating labors, you’ve got to embrace meal planning and prepping food in advance. To help you get started, here are 5 steps to make it happen as swiftly and proficiently as possible.

Step 1: Plan Your Menu

This fundamental step is probably one of the most essential parts of meal prepping. If you don’t have a plan, you’ll be lost. You know the idiom, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This phrase never held so much accuracy than when it comes to nutrition and clean eating. Take some time to put together a provisional meal plan of what you’d like to eat throughout the week for meals and snacks. Don’t think of this meal plan as the end-all, be-all because it’s not – there can always be adjustments and will most likely be times where you have to make last minute modifications. That’s totally ok. This meal plan is supposed to work as your outline and standard.

Step 2: Grocery Shop

Using your fresh meal plan, construct a grocery list. Go to the store and get everything you need for the week. Having all the fit foods you want in your house leaves no excuse to grab fast food or reach for the cookies you have hidden in the back of your pantry.

Step 3: Cook

Choose one day during the week to cook and concoct the foods that will make up your meals and snacks. Most often Sunday is a good day for this because it’s commonly not a workday and it’s the day before the start of a new week, so your food will have less of a chance of ruining before you eat it. Fire up your grill (or oven) and cook up a bunch of chicken breast, steak, fish, burgers or whatever lean protein source you desire. Boil a huge pot of hardboiled eggs to stockpile in the fridge and peel as you need them. Make a huge pot of brown rice, quinoa or whole-wheat pasta to ration out for your meals. Clean and cut fresh fruits and veggies. You can do all of these takes concurrently. Boiling water for eggs and rice can be done in two separate pots at the same time while your steak and chicken cook on the grill. Find ways to save time and multi-task.

Step 4: Portion and Pack

Get yourself a lined tote or lunch box and some plastic dishes that aren’t too big or too small, but just the accurate size to fit your meals and snacks. Freezer and sandwich bags work well too for excess food you won’t require until later in the week. Spend some time dividing out meals and snacks for Monday through Friday in your containers and plastic bags. Put Monday-Wednesday meals and snacks in the fridge and preserve Thursday and Friday in the freezer. When Wednesday rolls around, transfer Thursday and Friday meals from the freezer to the fridge to defrost. If you prepare and bundle everything in advance, it will be easy to grab-&-go everything you need to eat for the day before leaving for work. If you have these foods with you all day, you’ll have no reason to eat out, saving calories and money.

Step 5: Pack Extra

Sometimes you get held at work or worse, stuck in traffic just at that instant when your stomach begins to growl. This is where those “just-in-case” added snacks you packed in your lunchbox will come in handy. Carry additional pieces of fruit, bags of baby carrots, packs of diversified nuts or almonds, and protein bars with you, and more often than not, you’ll be relieved you did. If you’re not equipped for the worst, you’ll end up falling off the wagon and decelerating your progress. Think ahead and plan for your entire day whether you’re going to work that day or not.

Building a meal plan for yourself is simpler than you think. But if you’re still a bit unconfident, here’s a mockup meal plan to get you started. Fine-tune this one to work for you and your routine or try it the way it is.

Simple Meal Plan:

  • Breakfast: 2 hardboiled eggs with 2 slices of toast and 1 cup berries
  • Snack: 6 ounces plain nonfat Greek style yogurt with 1 100-calorie pack almonds
  • Lunch: Large salad topped with 4 ounces grilled lean protein, 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, 1 tablespoon dried cranberries, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. On the side, 1 100-calorie pack of hummus with sliced baby carrots, cucumber, red pepper and celery sticks.
  • Snack: Protein bar
  • Dinner: 1-cup brown rice or other complex carb with 4 ounces lean protein and 1-cup steamed broccoli or other green vegetable
  • PM Snack: 1 cup sliced strawberries with whipped cream
  • Extra “Just-in-case” snack: 1 apple or banana and 1 protein bar

6 Anti-Aging Practices to Start at Any Age

Even in our late 20s, we should be thinking about ways to help keep our healthy and youthful glow for as long as possible. These 6 anti-aging hacks are ways you can prolong the aging process and start at any age. Who knows what kinds of things we would be willing to do when we’re older to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles? So, let’s begin now, and prime our skin for the future.

1. Moisturize

We’ve all heard the best thing for our bodies is water, and that’s not told to us from a child for no reason. Moisturizing and hydrating your body promote detoxification and helps us feel our best. Drink lots of fluids throughout the day, add fresh fruit if you’re struggling and want to change it up. Apply lotion when your skin is dry, or you live in a cold climate. Remember to hydrate yourself when you’re sick.

2. Anti-inflammatories

If you’re struggling to consume omega-3 fatty acids or don’t like fish, consider taking an anti-inflammatory supplement. Anti-inflammatories improve heart and immune health, keep our skim looking young and youthful and help our hair and nails grow. Also note, look for an anti-inflammatory supplement that is “molecularly distilled for purity”, or free of pesticides.

3. Wear make up

Not only does make up make us look younger, it also acts as a second barrier between our skin and free radicals. As you get older, lighten up your eyes with neutral colors, ditch the dark liner and concentrate on lengthening your lashes. Stick with nude or berry lip colors and invest in a good lip scrub. Consider using a bronzer for a more sun-kissed appearance and move your blush application to the tops of your cheek bones rather than the apples.

4. Eat more colorful foods

Antioxidants are nature’s best way to prevent free radicals from penetrating our skin and making us age. Eat more colorful foods that are high in antioxidants, like berries, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts and broccoli. Not only do they help you prevent aging, but they also help fight other diseases.

5. Use an anti-aging product with Retinol

Retinoids, or over the counter Retinol, is the only proven ingredient to help fight aging. Find a product over the counter first and make it the foundation of your skincare routine. Remember to remove your make up each night and wash your face beforehand. If you think you might already see signs of aging, consider talking to your dermatologist about getting a prescription strength Retinol cream, like Retin-A.

6. Sun Damage

Wear a sunscreen every day, even if you’re not going in the sun. UV rays are our skin’s worst enemy. Reapply your sunscreen as directed and limit sun exposure. Overexposure can lead to sunspots, skin damage, wrinkles and skin cancer.

The Top 10 Foods that Quicken the Aging Process

We’ve all heard the old adage; you are what you eat! It’s true, what you consume effects both your vital inner organs, the efficiency of your digestive system, mental agility, and energy levels, as well as your outward appearance.  Weight, visual age and the condition of your skin are all impacted by the foods you regularly consume.  

For instance, if your diet is poor, you use nicotine, consume excess amounts of caffeine or alcohol, you will likely appear older than your actual age. That’s why we’ve decided to call out the worst foods for your skin. We’re not saying to cut them out completely, but if you reserve them only for special occasions, your skin will thank you. 

Here are the top ten foods to avoid help prevent signs of premature aging. 

1. Nitrates
Nitrates are a color and food preservative contained in processed meats, such as deli meats and cheeses, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs. Unfortunately, while nitrites prevent salmonella and other harmful bacteria from residing in cured meats, they also form nitrosamines (cancer-causing chemicals) when you consume too many. That’s why it’s important to stay away from processed meat or buy organic whenever the option allows. 

2. Refined Sugars
While we love to occasionally indulge in chocolate, candy, cookies and baked treats, they don’t love our skin. The high levels of refined sugar contained within these tempting goodies are actually linked to weakening the immune system, causing skin to become dull, thin, and parched. They also rob the body of the collagen and elastin production needed to keep us looking radiant and youthful.

3. Saturated Animal Fats
Saturated animal fats can be found in the fat or skin on meats and even in your favorite cheese. Meats like pork and chicken, as well as high fat dairy products like milk and cream, are the worst culprits. Not only do saturated fats potentially harm your heart health, they cause unsightly blemishes on your skin such as blackheads and pimples. 

4.  Hydrogenated Oil
As delicious as they are, french fries, chicken wings, deep fried bar bites, and chicken fingers and the worst for you. Food that are fried in hydrogenated oils will not only increase your risk of heart disease if you consume them too frequently, they can also increase oil buildup on the surface of your skin. Instead of smearing your bagel with margarine, consider instead, a natural nut butter (like almond butter) and stay away from donuts in favor of a toasted whole wheat English muffin. You will greatly reduce the bacteria that can get trapped on your skin leading to breakouts.


5. Soda 
If you’re addicted to the sugar rush, or the effervescence of soda, you’re not only potentially damaging your oral health and leaving your teeth prone to cavities; you are rising your risk of type 2 diabetes. Soda also causes your skin to become dry, dull and flaky, since you’re replacing it for water. And while diet sodas may not contain as much sugar content, they aren’t any better for your health. Artificial sweeteners contain just as much moisture stripping caffeine, artificial colors, and flavor chemicals. 

6. Caffeine
Coffee… our morning comfort. Now, there’s a big difference between having a cup of coffee in the morning and having a whole pot. Caffeine is a diuretic, which not only dehydrates your body, it also dries out your skin and increases cortisol production, a type of stress hormone that’s linked to accelerated aging.


7. Olestra
Baked versus fried snacks?  Baked potato chips aren’t any better if you expect to have glowing skin. Why? These low-fat baked snacks contain a synthetic fat, Olestra. Olestra strips the body of essential fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K and carotenoids, or antioxidants, causing damage to our digestive systems, aging the skin, and even leaving the skin’s surface prone to lesions and blemishes.



8. Alcohol
While enjoying an occasional beer or a glass of red wine won’t harm your youthful skin, overindulging, and excessive alcohol consumption will damage your liver. This causes liver toxicity, leaving behind a trail of free radicals, and free radicals will cause vasodilatation, the condition behind skin blunders like rosacea. 

9. White Breads & Pastas
Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and baked goods are high on the glycemic index, they increase insulin production. So, they not only leave you at risk of type 2 diabetes, they also leave your skin prone to acne and skin inflammation. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and pastas are a much better option for your overall health than those of the refined white variety.

10. High-Sodium Snacks
Chips, cheese puffs, pretzels, snack crackers, even the low-fat versions of these snacks wreak havoc on your skin. All made with vegetable oil, they contain large amounts of sodium, to help make up for the lost fat flavor. Not only does a high sodium diet leave us prone to high blood pressure; it also leaves us prone to chronic skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.