How to Do Clean-Eating Right
As I continue to prep for my contest, I am doing 99% clean clean eating. Since doing my protein shake hell beforehand, this seems like heaven. I’m sure if I went straight from eating normal to this, it would be a little miserable. However, it looks like my hell week paid off in multiple ways. I’m doing clean-eating not the way a yogi would, but how a bodybuilder would. This turns a lot of people off who don’t understand that word—as if I’m food-loading like a steroid-using pumped out scary woman. I’m not, I promise! Read on to learn how to eat cleanly and enjoy it. I’m seeing differences in my health, body, and strength already after almost 2 weeks.
I can’t claim to be a know-all, be-all about this subject. Sure, I know how to live a healthy life, but this specific diet is more so Chris’ arena, since he’s done much more research into bodybuilding, contests, and the sort. So he set this up for me. Depending on the week (this is a 6-week contest), I’m either eating between 1300-1400 calories or 1400-1600 calories (like this week! Good thing too as we were in Iowa for family reunion…), keeping my protein and fiber count high, my fat, sugar, and carb count medium-low, and exercising away 800-1000 calories a day. Yes, I’m working really hard, lots of workouts. The eating part hasn’t really been hard for me yet, because like I said earlier, I came to this after just consuming protein shakes.
Now you know my “macros” (macronutrients). Everyone will have different macros depending on their goal and body composition. Comment below with questions and we can help you out. It’s not too hard to do this:
- Eat lean protein. I’m a strange “vegetarian,” but I’ll eat any meat or fish that’s wild-caught or hunted. Lucky me, I can eat canned tunafish! For you meat-eaters, this part and protein-macro-intake would be a lot easier. I rely on my tuna, usually mixing with a complex carb and lots of hot sauce (mmm!). Other lean proteins include other types of wild-caught fish, egg whites, tofu, and black beans. These don’t contain too many calories or fat, but are high on the healthy protein scale so they’re perfect. Another huge one is protein powder where you can get a lot of protein without too much carbs, fats, or calories.
- Stick to complex carbohydrates. What would I eat with my canned tunafish? A slice of whole-wheat bread (we usually stick to Rudi’s organic) or brown rice. My carb intake usually doesn’t stray too far from that—yes, of course I get carbohydrates from other things like fruits and vegetables, but I’m talking about the certain “category.” And don’t forget my main carbohydrate for breakfast—oatmeal. No, not the instant crap, the “quick oats” or steel-cut. Another great carbohydrate that actually isn’t too high in carbs is sweet potato and boy is it delicious!
- Fruits are not a free-for-all. We’re watching our sugars and carbs, remember? Usually, fruit is a free-for-all for me, and that’s when I see my sugar count skyrocket. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather you grab a handful of grapes than skittles. But for this contest, we don’t want grapes for fruit. The fruit you want to go for: bananas, apples, pineapple, blueberries and grapefruit. They have awesome benefits and don’t take you too far on the sugar or calorie scale.
- Eat your vegetables! Again, you don’t want every single kind, some are more vitamin-intensive and calorically-dense than others. I will usually have some kind of vegetable with every meal, combining it with my brown rice and fish, or with my open-face tunafish sandwich. Stick to these veggies: spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and carrots. Go for dark greens and use sweet potatoes as carb substitute.
- Stay away from dressings, heavy oils, and the like. This is why bodybuilder’s meals seem so bland and boring. Most of them stray away from any seasoning whatsoever. However, that’s not necessary—as long as you do the right seasoning. With breakfast, I pour cinnamon on my oatmeal. Hot sauce? Try every meal. Run free with garlic. Be smart, you know what’s right and wrong. Don’t drench your salad with ranch, go for straight-up balsamic vinegar. This doesn’t have to be bland, use your seasoning (hot sauce is my absolute go-to).
- Know your fibers: soluble fiber versus insoluble fibers. Right now, we definitely want fiber in our diet. And we want both kinds, depending on the situation. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel, making us have that full feeling and slows our digestion. Soluble fibers include oatmeal, beans, nuts, and oranges. Insoluble fibers are good for our gut too because they improve our digestion and have a laxative-like effect. These don’t dissolve in water so they pass through quickly and speed up the process of food and waste. Insoluble fibers include whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, and root vegetable skins.
Pretty easy rules to follow and understand. Let me give you an example of some meals that I cycle frequently:
- For breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal, 3 hard-boiled egg whites with Frank’s hot sauce
- For snack: 10 almonds OR banana OR apple OR grapefruit
- For lunch: 1 can tuna, peas, beans and Tapatillo hot sauce
- For snack: avocado, pepper, bean, and onion salad
- For dinner: pan-grilled cod, sweet potato, and salad
- For snack: protein shake OR carrots and hummus OR cabbage tuna wraps with 1 cup almond milk
That’s one day. You can add or take from the above, with the knowledge you now have. Here are some other meals that are smart for macros:
Alright, that’s enough picture overload. I was just saying to Chris, I may be on a strict macro diet, but eating all of this food is enjoyable. I get fish and “chips,” I get tons of yummy vegetables, I get tons of hot sauce. It really isn’t that hard. You can do it too and your body will thank you. You feel so good, light, and healthy. You aren’t starving yourself, you’re giving your body what it needs. And hey, if it fits the macros, go ahead and have an ice cream like I did during my family reunion. Clean eating is one of the best ways to stay hungry and fit!
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