How did your week 1 challenge go? Did you get your daily minimum of water? More than the minimum?
If so, yay you! You’ve probably seen a nice improvement in your energy. You’ve started seeing some improvement in your skin, and starting losing that dry, itchy “lizard skin” we all tend to get in the winter. And on top of that, you probably have seen a nice little dip on the scale, shedding that extra pound or two you may have picked up over the holidays.
If not, I blame myself – I didn’t do a good enough job of convincing you of all the benefits you’d experience, and persuading you to give it a try. And all I can say is – there’s only one way to find out, and you’ve got nothing to lose (except dry skin, low energy, and a few pounds).
But let’s get on with the next challenge. Are you ready? Here it is …
Week 2 – Clean up your act
By now, any last traces of holiday treats and leftovers should be gone. If not, it’s time to toss them out. And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of any highly processed food in the kitchen.
What is highly processed food? Or for that matter, what is processed food? The term can be a little confusing, because most foods are processed in some way.
Food can be minimally processed, for example cooked and seasoned with a few natural ingredients, retaining its nutritional value while making it more edible or palatable.
When we talk about “processed food,” however, we’re really talking about highly processed food or ultra-processed food – food that has been altered, sometimes drastically, to preserve or change the characteristic of food.
These foods are a major contributor to obesity and disease, and are often engineered to make you crave them.
Here’s a venn diagram:
It works something like this …
Raw apple picked from the tree – unprocessed food
Apple cooked, maybe with a little sweetener, to make apple sauce – lightly processed food.
Apple that’s gone through a series of processes and ultimately baked into a fat-free, sugar-free apple muffin – highly processed food.
This highly processed stage is where you get your unpronounceable, indigestible ingredients that your body has no idea how to deal with. I could get into a whole technical thing on how these chemicals impact your metabolism, the imbalance of nutrients to calories, and so on, but I think we both know it’s not really food, right?
Bottom line, you don’t need any of that in your kitchen. Get rid of things like packaged snack food (generally anything sold in bags or boxes), prepared meals, “diet” food or fat-free versions of things that inherently have fat, and anything that ends in “-ito”.
Your new healthy habit for the second week of January, then, is to fill your plate with the delicious, natural foods your body needs – fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow, whole grains, beans and legumes, healthy fats and spices, and lean protein. And isn’t it better to focus on what you should eat, instead of what you shouldn’t?
Make simple meals from real ingredients – roasted vegetables, salads, pan seared chicken or fish, big bountiful salads. If you need a snack, stick to fresh fruit and a few nuts, veggies and a little hummus – things made out of real food only. Check out the recipes section of my book Creating the French Metabolism for some very simple recipes and menu suggestions.
And please get in touch and let me know how your January is going so far!
Happy clean eating.