Single Ingredient Diet

Raise your hand if you’re on a diet. I really don’t like that word because it often implies restrictions, deprivation, and doing without things that we love.

It’s a short lived cycle for many before they revert back to what feels “normal” or “comfortable” to them.

I know with the start of the year many people are looking for diet plans to help them get started on weight loss.

I’ve recently done one comparing two low carb diets since that is what many people seem to view as the magic potion right now.

Find it here.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2019/01/09/low-carb-diet-vs-keto-diet/

Like each one of us are unique, so will be the vehicle or ways that will help us live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

Personally, I don’t endorse anything that excludes food groups unless it is for health reasons, or if it overall makes you feel better by abstaining.

What I want to talk about today is learning to think about how/what you eat in the form of single ingredients.

single ingredient

There is a term spun around the fitness community referred to as “clean eating ”

Personally I’ve never liked this term as it seems somehow a bit elitist. Simplified, it really means trying to eat food closest to it’s original form without lots of other stuff added to it.

Just real food.

Mostly I try and eat foods that fall in this category.

Then I read an article recently that made me realize I’m not alone in the idea of wanting to eat this way.

I love the idea of just making the focus on your “diet” single ingredient foods, while still being able to incorporate and enjoy those other things in life that are “extra”. For me, it is having dessert with the fam. For the guy writing the article, it was occasional beer and pizza haha.

You get it though, right? Focus on healthy, real, “clean” foods majority of the time, eat in moderation, listen to your body’s natural hunger and full signals, and allow for some fun stuff in there too. And when I say “single” foods, I don’t mean just eating one at a time.

You can certainly mix up a variety of “single” foods. I make lots of one pan dinners ( these are the cat’s meow by the way….) and they contain assortments of veggies ( sometimes some fruit!) and lean protein. The idea is to build meals/snacks with a single idea in mind keeping you closer to eating just real food.

 

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How about a summery pic since it’s winter time right now 😛 Did you miss my “Spotlight on Apples” post? Find it below.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/01/spotlight-on-apples/

For instance, my breakfast may be eggs, sauteed veggies ( whatever is hanging in my fridge) usually spinach is the base of it, berries of some kind, and milk. Some times a slice of multi grain bread if I had a longer training session. That isn’t a single ingredient, but it usually falls under 5 or less. Most of the time the eggs, veggies and fruit adequately fill me up.

Or it could be a bowl of non-fat Greek yogurt with a variety of berries and raw almonds.

Steel oats with craisins and walnuts is a fav before longer endurance workouts

Lunch is usually a salad crafted up depending on my mood. It contains lots of colorful veggies, sometimes some fruit, and of course adequate protein. A few whole grain crackers can go with it if I’m feeling like a need them.

Snacks, I usually try and keep it with fruit or add some cheese cubes with it as well.

Hardboiled eggs, raw nuts, cheese sticks, fruit and veggies are other single ingredient snacks.

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A lunch made of single ingredient foods…..

And chocolate. Sometimes, I may just want something chocolate. And yes, it is totally off single or less than 5 ingredients and that’s ok too.

You see where I’m going right?

Balance and moderation lead to a sustainable lifestyle.

This approach really gives you not only great flexibility in what you can eat, it will ensure you gather plenty of good, healthy nutritious, from all food groups in your day.

How complicated is this?

Simply put, anything that grows from ground and isn’t tampered with will make it easy. Also sources like dairy, meat, eggs, grains, beans etc

Are you a label reader? Learn to be. The ingredient list will quickly tell you what’s in your food.

Does the box just say “brown rice”?  Or is it rice with other added things you can’t pronounce?

Focus and learn about new fruits and vegetables. Learn how to make new recipes with them and incorporate them into your meals. Be willing to experiment and explore new things.

I’m  not talking crazy or restrictive here…..

listen there are some things I happen to like occasionally and don’t plan on giving up because they will leave the minimal ingredient list…

Chocolate, French fries, pizza, a fun meal out with hubby….

I don’t eat these foods often, but when I want it, I’m not gonna feel bad about it or think I’m “cheating” on my diet.

I really honestly, just want that stuff less and less as time goes on.

My point is, if people overall made an effort to eat more natural, as close to real food as they could, they’d easily lose or maintain weight, look good, and their bodies would reflect the healthier foods they took in.

Remember that old “you are what you eat” saying?

Don’t think for a moment your body won’t appreciate those healthy foods you offer it.

Start simple

At least focusing on single ingredient foods is fairly easy, right? I say single, but really even 5 or less is good too. I know some people way more extreme who say 3 or less. The idea is to do what works for you, with a focus on healthy, balanced and sensible eating that allows you to feel energetic, not be hungry, and helps maintain a reasonable healthy weight.

Perhaps, initially, just focus on what you eat, the types of foods. How do they line up with the idea of being just five or less ingredients? Basically, take inventory of your eating habits.

Then challenge yourself to do it at one meal. From there it could be how or what you snack on. Each step will help you to make better choices for yourself in the long run.

Awareness is the key to getting started and becoming more successful at incorporating healthier foods into your daily nutrition plan, this in the long run, will help you live a healthy lifestyle and not the world of yo-yo dieting.

Tell me, have you considered single ingredient foods as a way of eating and a part of a healthy nutrition plan in your life?

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Clean Eating 101

clean eating

There’s a lot of catch phrases and hot topics right now floating around in the health and fitness world. Sometimes they are confusing to the average person just glancing at it on a magazine cover or hearing about it in a news story.

There’s one that always confused me until I dug into exactly what it meant.  I guess I should say sometimes these terms are confusing because it can vary person to person in EXACTLY what it means.. meaning it can be subjective to that person.

The Paleo movement for example is one of those things. It can vary in interpretation and ideas depending on the person following it… from basic to extreme.

The thing I want to focus on today is the “clean eating” idea. I want to also give you some tips and ideas if that is something you may want to pursue or experiment with.

Perhaps I want to simplify the idea for you to take confusion from it and perhaps paint a simpler idea of it.

First, let’s give it a definition.  Clean eating simply means to work on removing processed or junk type foods from your daily diet and simply learning to eat more whole, real single ingredient foods. It’s about making better and more nutritious choices for your body the majority of the time.

I will also suggest when you begin eating more whole, real foods you’ll feel better. You’ll be more energetic and will be less bloated. ( for the rest of my little story whole foods simply mean as close to how nature made them as possible… or 5 ingredients or less)

Clean eating is not meant to be restrictive or keep you hungry. It’s not about depriving yourself.  It’s about learning to eat good food.  To have an appreciation for it that leads to health and wellness.

Clean eating is  a way to stay lean, healthy, and energetic.  I’ve slowly evolved into it, although I’m not what I’d call “ridged” in the process.  ( hey I still like birthday cake and chocolate sometimes! Thing is… I just can’t eat much of it anymore… which isn’t a bad thing either. ) As I said, not restrictive.

For me, I still enjoy some treats in life but this is where clean eating comes in varying interpretations depending on the person. Some are extreme and wont touch sugar.  I’m not totally ready for that 😉

Over time, I’ve simply learned what makes me feel better and I have learned to eat that way more. Not just that, I’m more conscious of how good nutrition affects my strength and athletic abilities. Feeding my body healthy foods goes a long way to keeping me strong out on the road.

Clean eating also needs to be viewed simply as a “lifestyle” and not a diet or some trend fad thing to pursue for a few weeks.  Actually, if you do practice eating clean (er) for a few weeks I’m pretty sure you won’t want to revert back to your old ways 😉

Next, let’s establish that you can’t fail at it. Each time you make better food choices, you’re winning.  If you begin to make efforts to eat this way, and stay consistent, you will slowly but surely work your way to doing it more and more.

With those simple thoughts in mind let’s look at some steps towards doing it:

Learn to cook your own food at home. You can control what goes in it, and control the added sugar, salts, ingredients etc

Learn to read labels. It’s not complicated. Know what you’re eating. Look at the ingredient list. There shouldn’t be a mile long list of ingredients.

Again, learn to avoid processed foods. This is anything typically in a bag, box or otherwise.  It’s also any foods you buy at a drive thru or that are precooked. Foods typically that are high in saturated fats, salt, sugars, refined foods and in general foods that don’t offer much in the way of nutrition.  These foods are often referred to as “simple carbs”.

Limit unnecessary additives like fats, salt and sugars when looking at foods. It might seem hard in the beginning but I’ll tell you, your tastes will change! There are things now that taste so “off” to me because I don’t eat them anymore and it really clips my desire for those not so nutritional food offerings. Once you get on track eating whole food, you’ll find your tastes changing for the better 🙂

Learn to shop for healthy foods which are usually found on the perimeter of the grocery store.  Meats, fruits, veggies, dairy products, etc are all usually found in the outer portion of the store. Of course, you can also find good sources of fruits, veggies, beans etc in the canned aisle. Just be aware of what’s been added to it. Opt for low sodium options if available. Make sure fruits doesn’t have added sugar.

Don’t think you’re going to make changes all at once. Aim for small gradual improvements and make those a habit.  For instance if you drink 3-4 sodas a day, don’t think you’ll just cut those all at once… well… you could but you’d probably go crazy. Try reducing it by one and drinking water in place of it.  If you don’t eat a lot of veggies or fruit, try adding one or two new ones in at your meals. Just go slow and take small steps towards doing it.  Make those changes every day,

Your goal should be having at least 50% of your plate filled with fresh veggies and fruits.  These are nutrient dense, the fiber is filling, and they are low on calories. It’s a win for you in all directions. Not only that these foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that make your skin and hair look healthy.

Other things would include plenty of protein in the forms of lean meats, dairy, and veggie sources.

Whole grain products, beans, legumes etc are also filling and a good source of vitamins and minerals.

If you are new to this idea… start small, start slow, but start. Ideally you’ll want to work on reducing sugar, or junk food, or anything that doesn’t contribute to good health. Remember this isn’t a fad or a quick fix. It’s a move to a lifestyle of healthier eating.

You’ll learn to make new choices and intentionally think about what you put in your mouth.  And yes, it will have to be intentional.

For instance, instead of chips and a coke for an afternoon snack, you might grab some fruit and raw nuts. You learn to change out sour cream for Greek yogurt ( trust me, you wont tell the difference) Choose whole grains over white bread products. Cut back on sugar and creamers in coffee, reduce sugary drinks for water etc.

clean snacks

Avocado makes a great substitute for mayo, and you’ll be getting healthy fats in your daily diet.

In summary, clean eating is trying to eat in a healthy manner the majority of the time foods that are as close to natural as possible.  It is minimal to no sugar, saturated fats or refined processed foods.

Remember, there are all thoughts out there on what “clean eating”  is from extreme to modest.. none are “the best”.  It’s based on a personal preference and beliefs.  If you make choices to eat better foods, you are on the right track.

If you try this for a couple weeks, I know you will feel more energetic, less bloated and sluggish and on your way to a more permanent healthy lifestyle 🙂

Do you practice clean eating? Have you tried it before? Is it new to you ?