"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food" -Hippocrates

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sarah's Story

CLEAN Eating can be challenging, and will require lifestyle changes. These changes can be overwhelming at times in the present moment, but the reward of health is the ultimate prize. As I was brain storming for The Clean Eating Challenge, my mind was flooded with ideas and thoughts, and quickly one person came to mind. Sarah. Sarah is a friend from High School that I have had the opportunity to watch transform through Clean Eating, Exercise, and Hard Work. I knew I had to ask her to share her experience. So Sarah so kindly answered questions I had for her, that I hoped would help you with your own Clean Eating Journey!

Here is Sarah's Inspiring Transformation. 
190lbs to 145lbs!!!
1. What inspired you, or made you decide to start "Eating Clean?"
"I was always overweight in high school and when I got to college I gained more weight. I went through periods where I would “diet” and exercise (all cardio) and lose about 10-20 pounds but then would gain it right back. After I graduated college and became an RN, reality hit me. How could I advocate a healthy lifestyle while not living one myself? I started “eating clean” in October of 2012 and lost 15-20 pounds in that month before I started going to the gym in November of that year."
2. What were some of the first changes that you noticed after you started eating more whole foods, and less processed?
"I took progress pictures and looking back I am so glad I did. It helped me to see small changes I probably wouldn't have noticed otherwise. I focused more on how my clothes fit, not the number on the scale. I also had more energy and a better mood!"
3. What are some of your staple food items that you always have on hand?
"Fresh fruits, vegetables and almonds because they are quick to grab when I’m on the go."
 4. What was your first month of "clean eating" like, and how well did you follow it?
"The first month I stuck to it mostly 100% because I was so eager to see results. It was really hard, but once I started feeling better and got results through the sugar detox it got easier. Studies show that sugar is comparable to drug additions and I completely agree. The longer I stuck to clean eating and said no to processed foods, I noticed my cravings became less. It's a process, but definitely worth it." 
5. What has been your biggest challenge throughout your "clean eating" journey, and how have you overcome it?
"My biggest challenge has been overcoming stress/binge-eating. I also travel a lot and this makes it difficult to stick to a clean diet. I do the best I can and get right back to it when I'm home."
6. Has your view of food and exercise changed at all? If so, how?
"Definitely. I always thought to lose weight I needed to do a “low-calorie” “low-fat” “low-carb” diet and do endless hours of cardio. I now know that it is more important to eat the right foods that may be higher calorie and to eat healthy fats and complex carbs to fuel my muscles. In the gym I focus more on weight training than cardio."
7. Any tips, favorite websites, or advice for someone just starting to “eat clean?”
"Social media has been my biggest influence in this journey. I follow countless fitness and nutrition Instagrams. From these, I find many recipes that help make clean eating fun and taste good! Clean eating doesn’t have to be boring. My biggest advice is to set a goal for yourself and when you hit that goal set a new one."
8. Lastly, what has been your key to success?
"Reminding myself where I started. I have fallen off track and taken steps backward throughout my journey. It happens. I’m human. But I remember that it’s a lifestyle change and I feel so much healthier and happier when I eat clean and exercise!"
I hope you found her as inspiring as I have! Thank you again, Sarah, for allowing me to share your awesome success!! 

  • Fore more information about "Clean Eating," click here

Friday, February 21, 2014

Clean Eating Recipes I've Tried

Quick, Easy, and Convenient Breakfast!

Clean Granola: Rolled Oats, Raw Walnuts & Pumpkin Seeds, Unsweetened Raisins, Raw Honey, Coconut Oil, Vanilla, Sea Salt. See amounts below! Perfect to top Plain Greek Yogurt with!

Clean French Toast! Fun weekend morning breakfast for all!

Homemade Hummus, is Simple and a Cheaper Alternative to Store Bought!

Chia Seed Jam-Perfect to Add to Plain Greek Yogurt to Give it the Fruity Taste w/out the Added Sugar!!

Quick, Easy, and DELICIOUS Cookie

Fun, Friday Night Pizza-Homemade, Fresh and Healthy

Creamy Avocado, Fresh Tomato, and Egg Combo

This fudge whips up quickly, and give you the perfect "Sweet" Fix!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Clean Eating-Meal Ideas

If you are joining me for my "Clean Eating" Challenge, or you are simply looking for healthier meal ideas...I thought I would be helpful share a few picture ideas of what I tried out this week.

1) Rolled Oats and Frozen Strawberries added 1/2 way through cooking
2) Plain Greek Yogurt, Homemade Granola, and Chia Seed Raspberry Jam
3) Organic Orange

1) Organic Apple with Natural Peanut Butter
1) Balsamic Glazed Salmon (Atlantic Wild Caught) 
2) Asparagus Sauteed in Olive Oil and 1 Tsp Garlic
3) Red Quinoa w/garlic powder
4) Baked Sweet Potato
1) Ezekiel 4:9 Bread Topped w/crushed Avocado, Drizzled w/Franks Hot Sauce, Tomato, and 1 Organic/Free Range Over Easy Egg
2) Homemade Banana and Strawberry Granola Bar

1) Leafy Greens, Red Quinoa (better for salads), Avocado, Tomato, Feta
2) Baked Sweet Potato

1) Homemade Trail Mix (recipe coming soon)

1) Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Milk Smoothie

Lastly, I would like to share a meal plan that I tried to follow this week. I am not suggesting this will work for everyone, but I thought I would provide an idea of how I set up my day...for the most part

Check these out too:

Why Clean Eating

Why Clean Eating? Think for a minute about what you had to eat today...Do you know where it came from? How it was processed and made? Do you know what all of the ingredients mean on the food label? Do you question if it's really "healthy?" The sad truth is that most people do not know all of the answers to these questions about the food they consume. And i don't blame them, labeling is confusing, "health claims" aren't always the most accurate of claims, and the abundance of options creates havoc.

Our food should be simple. and let me explain why i think this way. Your body has a process...(not so scientific sounding, by the way)
1. You place the food in your mouth- Chew and swallow (and of course enjoy the taste)
2. It travels to your stomach where it starts to digest the food and break it down.
3. It's broken down into nutrients, which your body then distributes to fuel your cells. Cells-the building blocks of life.
4. Let me repeat. It fuels your cells. Your cells make up your liver, pancreas, skin, etc. As a result, it would make sense that food is fuel for your body, and is needed to function properly. Hence the need for nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fat, water)

Our food is not simple though in the processed world we live in. We have instead taken Nature's Food sources, and added things like Sugar, Sodium, Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavoring, etc. Basically, we have added crud, that doesn't process as well in our body. Which then creates havoc...

If you are still with me in this post :)....you are hopefully starting to see the reasoning behind "CLEAN" Eating. Eating "Cleaner" foods, or foods closer to their natural state can have a very positive impact on your body.

SO if you are joining me for this "Clean Eating" Challenge, I would like to share my overall goals....

*The GOAL is not to be 100% perfect (if you are, that is fantastic), but if you are only 90%, 70%, 50%... that will most likely be a step in a healthier direction than before.

Next, I would like to share a general overview of the types of food to select...

For the next 30 days, I hope to encourage you, educate you, and guide you into healthier eating habits, to in turn establish a healthier lifestyle. Every person deserves to live a healthy life, but it doesn't come without taking ownership of it. It's time to take ownership of your food that you fuel your body with. 

Please email me with questions or if you would like continued updates and weekly email "Check-ins"


*Disclaimer: Although I am a ACSM-Health Fitness Specialist, I am not a medical professional or registered dietician. The information that I share on my blog is based on my own experience, personal knowledge and is what works for me. You should consult a physician before starting any exercise program or diet plan. If you choose to do any of the workouts or health tips featured on this website, you do so at your own risk.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Clean Eating Challenge!

Interested? Email Me: LivingNaturalandFree[at]gmail[dot]com

More information to come:
-Challenge Details
-Shopping List Ideas

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Steps to Healthier Eating

I have compiled what I believe are ways to make steps to healthier eating. Being aware of Food Style, Ingredients, Nutrient Density, Beverages, Snacks, Sweets, and what you use to Flavor your food...are all very key.

Everyday you can make small adjustments to your food choices to lead a healthier lifestyle.
*Disclaimer: I do not intend to cure or treat any diseases with this information. This information is based on my own experience, personal knowledge and is what works for me. You should consult a physician before starting or adjusting your diet plan. If you choose to follow any of the health tips featured on this page, you do so at your own risk.