Category Archives: Clean Eating

SLIM down CHALLENGE

Let’s face it. There’s never going to be a good time to start. There’s never going to be a Monday where you wake up magically not craving carbs and being lazy. There will always be a holiday, an excuse, a reason not to get started.


However there will always also be opportunity. You take from life what it gives you. You choose to change or take your circumstances for what they are

What’s holding you back, from starting now?

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CLEAN EATING BASICS!

CLEAN EATING BASICS?

 

Part of the problem with getting to the bottom of what clean eating is, is that everyone seems to have a different definition of what actually constitutes ‘clean’. You’ve got your bodybuilder definition, your paleo definition, your vegan definition, your celebrity doctor definition and on and on and on. Not only that, but those definitions can vary wildly from individual to individual.

What follows is my personal definition of clean eating, I don’t claim that it’s the ‘right’ definition; these are simply the personal guidelines that myself and my clients use to stay lean, strong and healthy. As always, clear it with your doctor before you make any changes to your diet.

So, with that in mind, let’s go over some things clean eating isn’t: it’s not a diet, it’s not calorie-restriction, it’s not about meal frequency, it’s not about depriving yourself of things you love and it isn’t about perfection.

  1. Not a diet.
    A diet is something you do for a month or two so that you can lose a few pounds and then return to your normal eating habits (and gain all the weight back, hence the term: ‘yo-yo dieting’). That’s short-term thinking, and clean eating isn’t a short-term fix – it’s more of a lifestyle change. If you want to be successful with eating clean, you’ve got to view it as redefining the relationship you have to food, and rather than trying to change everything all at once, take it slower, and focusing on continuing to improve your eating habits over time.
  2. Not calorie-restriction.
    Eating clean doesn’t mean not eating. You eat as much food as you need (i.e fulfill your metabolic requirements) to be healthy and have the energy to fuel your workouts and any other activities.
  3. Not about meal frequency.
    Meal frequency and clean eating are two separate things. Some people want to eat 5 – 6 smaller meals a day, while others prefer the standard 3 meals, but there’s absolutely no requirement for a specific meal frequency.  I personally, feel my best and advise my clients to eat 3 meals, and 2 snacks per day.
  4. Not deprivation.
    People often equate clean eating with sacrifice, but it’s actually about finding healthy alternatives to unhealthy food. So if you love cupcakes, you don’t need to give ‘em up, the challenge is to find a healthier cupcake (or healthy alternative). Sure it takes more work, but the results are certainly worth it. Also remember that as you clean up your eating habits, your tastes change and you get to the point where you actually crave healthy food. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.
  5. Not perfection.
    Clean eating is about eating healthy most of the time. It isn’t about 100% strict adherence to mythical clean eating ideals – if you really want the double chocolate fudge cupcake, then go for it – it doesn’t mean you’ve fallen off the ‘clean-eating wagon’. The key to clean eating is aiming to eat healthy most of the time, and still being flexible about it. 80 / 20.  I am a huge foodie, but I don’t stress about eating rich foods at restaurants, as long as I know they are REAL food, not processed.

    Life is TOO short to deprive yourself of ALL the fun stuff!

Clean Eating Guidelines

So, if all that isn’t clean eating… what exactly is? To show you what clean eating means to me, it’s actually easier to start with the things you need to avoid or cut down on.

Avoid these most of the time…

Like I said earlier, clean eating isn’t about perfection – any way of eating which requires perfection is going to be hard to sustain in the long run; eating is also a social affair, so it’s nice to be able to join in with friends and family. That said, to eat clean, you want to avoid the following most (e.g. 80% – 90%) of the time:

  1. Avoid processed food.
    Convenient, but you pay for that convenience because processed foods are usually high in chemical additives, trans fats, salts and refined sugars.
  2. Avoid most refined foods.
    This means refined flour, sugars (high-fructose, white, brown, and the rest), trans-fats etc. If you’re interested in cutting down body fat, of special importance is to cut out refined sugars, which due to their affect on insulin levels and hormone sensitive lipase, aids in fat loss.
  3. Avoid artificial ingredients and preservatives.
    As the saying goes: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. If it’s made in a lab, don’t eat it. This includes artificial sweeteners!  The only one I use is Sweet Leaf Stevia brand, none others!
  4. Avoid alcohol.
    The long and short of it is: alcohol is a toxin. It’s also an excellent social lubricant, so if you’re going to drink, make sure you keep it low to moderate.   I was a Wine, Craft Beer, and Liquor Rep for 11 years, so I have seen what it can do to the mind and body.  Not to say I do not enjoy my wine, but I try and watch how many nights a week I do have a  glass or two.
  5. Avoid soda and fruit juice.
    Don’t drink your calories: soda is loaded with sugar, diet soda is loaded with artificial sweeteners and fruit juice is also often loaded with refined sugar and of course, natural sugars.

If you just stick to the above guidelines most of the time, you’ll be well on your way to a clean eating lifestyle. As said before, it’s not about perfection, but the more you can cut out the above factors, the healthier you’ll be.

The problem you encounter with clean eating is when you try to create a one-size-fits-all definition. The truth of it is that everyone has a different genetic makeup and nutritional science is ongoing with new discoveries being made all the time. Is it any wonder why almost no one, including most of the experts, can agree as to what constitutes the ideal diet?

That said, these are the clean eating do’s we stick to:

Do this most of the time…

  1. Account for individuality.
    First and foremost, whatever eating habits you choose to make, you need to make it about you. In other words, you need to tailor your diet to: 1) your own food sensitivities and intolerances (if any) and 2) your personal preferences.
    For example: if you are gluten and lactose intolerant, then clean eating, for you would mean, that you would have to avoid wheat and dairy products. However, someone else may be sensitive to nightshades, so their version of clean eating would mean they need to avoid tomatoes, eggplants (but could eat all the cheese they wanted).
  2. Eat according to your goals.
    Eating to lose weight, maintain your weight, or gain weight (in the form of lean muscle, hopefully!) have different calorie requirements. Even though, for example, weight loss probably isn’t as simple as the often used calories consumed/calories burnt model(e.g. some researchers point to other factors such as the significant effect of hormones on fat loss), your caloric intake can still be a useful guideline to follow.
  3. Eat plenty vegetables.
    Veggies, veggies, veggies! Get as many veggies as you can: cruciferous, dark leafy greens, even potatoes. The idea is to make sure you have a variety of veggies on your plate (as many colors of the rainbow as you can get) and to vary the veggies you eat as often as possible and have them at EVERY meal!
  4. Eat fruits in moderation.
    Fruits are a sweet treat and a nutritious alternative to candies and other refined sugars, but it is possible to eat too many. Part of the issue with eating too much fruit is that it can lead to problems with the hormones which regular blood sugar (and we’ve already talked about how some research is pointing to how hormones contribute to fat loss, or lack thereof). Also, modern day fruits are generally much larger and higher in sugar than they would have been naturally (hybridization).
  5. Eat high-quality meats.
    (Optional) If you’re a vegetarian or vegan you have plant-based alternatives. For the meat eaters, aim to get your meat from grass-fed animals if possible, it is more expensive, but it’s also healthier – failing that, try to get organic or free-range. One budget-friendly option is to have fewer, but higher quality meat-eating days. For lower quality meats, you probably want to get leaner cuts, as chemicals can accumulate in the fatty tissues.
  6. Eat healthy fats.
    Healthy fats don’t make you fat, they’re good for you! Yes, even some healthy (i.e. from a high-quality source) saturated fats. You can get healthy fats from, for example, fish (e.g. anchovies and sardines), nuts and seeds (e.g. walnuts, almonds, chia seeds), avocados, eggs, oils (olive oil, coconut oil), dairy products and grass-fed beef.
  7. Use high-quality supplement(s).
    (Optional) In an ideal world you would get all your nutrients from the food you eat; however, this isn’t an ideal world, and many people just do not have the time for food prep. That is why I added in Shakeology, 3 years ago.  (check out my Shakeology Tab!)  It is made up of REAL food, powdered down at leak ripeness.

         Drink mostly water and enough of it.

  1. Pure, unadulterated water is the best way to stay hydrated, chuck the soda, chuck the fruit juice and stick to water most of the time, herbal teas and moderate use of coffee (remembering that caffeine has a 6 hour half-life in the body, so it’s best to drink it earlier in the morning). How much water should you drink? It differs depending on a number of factors, but rule of thumb: at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. You may also want to invest in a water filtration unit if you’re drinking tap water.

Hey, what about carbs!?!

You can get plenty of fibrous carbs from your veggies (and you can eat a lot of these), but what about your refined and complex carbs? First, as mentioned earlier you want to moderate the amount of refined carbs you eat, and as far as your complex carbs, that’s largely personal preference, but avoiding refined carbs is probably a good place to start.  I enjoy Whole Grain Bread, quinoa, whole grain orzo and pastas all the time!  Just read the labels, and buy organic when possible.  It is also a lot of fun to make your own bread!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

chicken-tacos

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serve in a lettuce wrap or on a bed of greens. Top with, salsa, olives, fresh chopped vegetables of choice, and/or sliced avocado.
Author: Simply Nourished Recipes
Recipe type: Slow Cooker – Whole 30 – Paleo
Serves: 4 serving
INGREDIENTS
  • 1-1¼ lb. chicken breast or thighs
  • ½ cup organic or homemade salsa
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander (optional)
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper (more for more heat)
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • Salad greens or bibb lettuce
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Toppings: Fresh chopped veggies of choice, olives, avocado, fresh salsa, lime wedge etc.
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place all ingredients except salad greens/lettuce and toppings in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  2. Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks. Return to slow cooker and cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.
  3. Serve chicken taco meat in a lettuce wrap or on a bed of greens, top with cilantro and add desired toppings.
NOTES
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Nourished Recipes so credit is given where credit is due. Thank you!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving size: ¼ of recipe of chicken Calories: 140 Fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 4 g Sugar: 1 gSodium: 300 mg Fiber: 0 g Protein: 26 g
Healthy living,
Ivy Johnson

 

Sugar makes you happy = you want more sugar.

Still life of various types of sugar in bowls

Sugar, in all its forms, is not an illegal drug.

But, you can definitely consider refined and processed sugar ‘toxic’ to a certain degree.

Think about it: When you don’t get your dose of sugar in a day, you feel anxious and uncomfortable.

Your energy level hits rock­bottom when you don’t get your ‘required dose’. It makes you crave endlessly.

Being separated from it completely is just unthinkable.

Now that’s definitely a dependency to a substance; an addiction.

How does it happen with sugar?

Here’s an explanation:

Sugar makes you happy = you want more sugar.

Do you remember how it felt when you took a bite of your favorite cake? Or how about that first swig of fizzy soda on a really hot day?

Just thinking about it can make you want to do it all over again.

This is because sugar triggers the release of dopamine ­- the neurotransmitter that sends ‘happy signals’ to your brain.

Now who doesn’t want those happy signals?

But that’s exactly the problem that too much added sugar brings.

Your body’s dopamine receptors, the elements that receive those signals, tend to become ‘weaker’ as you increase your processed sugar intake.

The effect your body will keep on wanting more sugar in order to feel ‘happy’ again.

You develop a tolerance to it, an occurrence that’s a hallmark of an addiction to a substance.

Sugar messes up your body’s systems ­ you think you’re not full, even when your body’s had enough.

There was probably a time when you can eat just a regular-­sized sandwich and you’d already feel satisfied.

Then, you decided to add some chips to the sandwich meal, and a cup of soda.

The next time ­ you found it delicious. You opted for that combo again the next day.

And then the next day it just didn’t feel ‘enough,’ so­ you went for some dessert.

The unending cycle of wanting more sugar in your eating process begins.

How does this happen exactly?

Your body has this sophisticated system of determining when your body has consumed the food it needs.

In ‘healthy’ systems, this is when the hormone called leptin kicks in, signaling you to stop eating because you’re already full.

Unfortunately, the sensation of fullness can also be numbed down by the excess of added sugars in the body.

The chaos that sugar causes, such as elevated insulin levels and increase in body fat, make it more difficult for leptin signals to be triggered and received.

The result?

You feel the need to eat more than what your body really requires.

Your body ‘forgets’ all about being satisfied with just a sandwich.

Sugar becomes a ‘celebratory habit’.

Many of us associate sugary, carbohydrate and calorie­-laden food, such as cakes, cookies, and pasta to pleasant memories of birthday celebrations and other special occasions. Even our childhood overflows with happiness due to sweet treats (think Halloween, Easter egg hunts, etc.).

Not only does added sugar make you feel happy, it also makes you ‘think happy’.

And this is why those who feel sad, anxious, or depressed tend to reach out for food that gives them comfort ­food that they associate with fun, blissful times.

With the modern man’s very stressful environment, comfort eating is no longer a rare occurrence, it has become a daily event.

All these point to one direction added sugar can become addictive, and the effects are scary.

What do you do when you need to get ‘rehabilitated’ for a sugar addiction?

Do you eliminate it gradually or do you go cold turkey?

One thing’s for sure, it can be difficult. But, it’s not impossible to overcome either.

You would want to take on that challenge with guidance from people who know the ins and outs of it, and will support you until you are completely ‘clean’ and ready to face the world of sugar-laden food.

Be Happy…  Be Healthy…  Be FIT!!!

-Ivy Johnson

Chicken Salad on Apple Rounds

chicken-salad-apple-slices

 

In a large bowl, combine:

  • Both diced chicken breasts of 1 rotisserie chicken, or 2 large cooked, and diced chicken breasts
  • 1 cup thin sliced celery
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 2 Tbsp tiny diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, or mashed avocado for dairy-free option
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 splash hot sauce, such as tabasco – optional
  • 2 Tbsp no-added sugar dried cranberries (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste (optional as well)

 

chicken-salad-prep

 

Combine gently, cover, & chill for an hour or two in the refrigerator. (Can serve immediately, but the flavor is better as it develops)

Slice 2 red, crisp apples into round disc’s about 1/4 inch thick.
Serve Chicken Salad on rounds.

OR

Serve on butter lettuce leaves

optional – sprinkle with green onions & sliced almonds

 

 

Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower Steaks w/ Blue Cheese Dressing

AN UNEXPECTED SIDE-DISH FOR THOSE WEEKEND BBQ’S!

 

buffalo-roasted-cauliflower-steaks-with-blue-cheese-dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads cauliflower, cut vertically into 1/2-1 inch-thick steaks (4 to 6 steaks total)
  • 2-3 Tbsps avocado, or extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 cup of your favorite buffalo-style sauce (look for minimal ingredients)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh parsley leaves, minced

Instructions:

  1. Whisk garlic powder and wing sauce.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees f.
  3. Place the cauliflower steaks on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes on one side, then remove from oven, and brush with wing sauce, flipping the steak over to the other side. Place the cauliflower back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so.
  5. Sprinkle with parsley, and Enjoy!

For the Blue Cheese Dip:
I mixed 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with High-quality blue cheese crumbles..that’s it!

 

 

Fresh Pico De Gallo

pico-de-gallo

 

Food Prep always includes a big batch of fresh pico!

So wonderful on top of eggs, fish, chicken, salads…etc.

Be sure to make a little extra to last you for several days. 🙂

Instructions:

  • Equal parts diced garden tomatoes and diced white onion.
  • The leaves of 2 bunches of fresh cilantro.
  • 3-5 minced jalapeño peppers.
  • Juice of 4-5 fresh limes.
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste.

Gently, combine and it’s all ready!

Quinoa Chicken Parmesan with Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

quinoa-chicken-parmesan-with-spiralized-zucchini-noodles-1

Isn’t this a perfect meal!?!
Gluten-free, CRUNCHY, Healthified Chicken Parm!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 large boneless, skinless Chicken breasts, cut in half, so they are thin (or use 4 small breasts, and pound them, thin & evenly sized)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup all natural shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup low-sugar organic marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees f.
  2. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. (I used avocado oil or olive oil spray)
  3. In a large saucepan, cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  4. Stir Italian seasoning into cooked quinoa, set aside.
  5. Season chicken with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Working in small batches, dredge chicken first in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in quinoa mixture, pressing slightly to coat each breast.
  7. Place chicken onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, and cooked through.
  8. Top with cheeses and marinara.
  9. Place into oven and bake until cheeses have melted, about 3-4 additional minutes.
  10. Serve immediately over spiralized zucchini noodles (I tossed my zucchini in a hot skillet with a touch of olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for 3 minutes before serving)
  11. ?CleanFoodCrush.com/Spiralizer
  12. Garnish with fresh basil.

Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips

salt-vinegar-sweet-potato-chips

Ingredients

  • 3 smaller sweet potatoes
  • 1.5-2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil, or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Instructions

Directions for 4-6 snack size servings:
    1. Peel & slice 3 smaller sweet potatoes as thin as you possibility can. (Extremely thin)
    2. A mandolin works really well for this.
    3. Pour 1.5-2 cups (depending on vinegar intensity you enjoy) apple cider vinegar or white vinegar over the sliced potatoes in a medium glass bowl.
    4. Pour room temperature water in the bowl just until potatoes are completely covered in liquid.
    5. Soak potatoes for 1-2 hours, then DRY well(pat with paper towels). This step increases the crunchiness factor.
    6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
In a large bowl, combine:
  1. The prepared sweet potato slices
  2. 2 Tbsp avocado oil, or extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  4. Combine & coat well. Spread potatoes onto 2 or 3 large flat sheet pans, in a single layer. They will not crisp if they are piled up. I have found that they are crispier when I use foil as a pan liner.
  5. Roast in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes per side (flipping once) until crispy. About 20 minutes total. Enjoy!

PROTEIN PANCAKES

I made Body Beast pancakes today and totally had to share!
I have been upping my calories and protein intake!
I found this amazing recipe in my Body Beast recipe guide that came with the workout and its honestly the bomb!!!! Its filled with awesome healthy recipes that are so delicious. My favs are the Turkey Meatballs , Turkey Chilli and Protein balls!!!

 

Body Beast Pancakes
Total time: 16 min
Prep time: 10 min
Cooking Time 6 min

Ingredients:
1 scoop BeachBody Hardcore Base Shake
1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 dash sea salt
2 large eggs
1 small ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or Skim milk
1 teaspoon safflower oil, (divided use)
Sliced banana and raspberries (for garnish, optional)

I used PB2, all natural peanut butter(warmed up) and some extra dark chocolate chips.
base shake
Enjoy!
xo-Ivy Johnson