What is Eating Clean??

What exactly is “eating clean?” I’ve been posting about eating clean on Facebook for a few weeks when I came to the realization that not everyone may know what it means. In trying to come up with a quick definition, I did what everyone else does – asked Google. 4,340,000 results returned.

I’m starting to think there are a lot of views about what eating clean means or that no one really knows what it means!

So here’s my list of what eating clean means to me.

Eating clean is NOT:

Counting calories. not all calories are created equal. The calories in McDonald’s french fries are not equivalent to the calories in an apple. When looking at calories, our thought should be quality vs. quantity. For instance, ask yourself – how is this going to refuel me?

Oh, and you can toss the idea of calories in vs. calories out while you’re at it, and if you have time (or don’t trust me) read the book Why We Get Fat? by Gary Taubes, PhD

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Point Conversions: Who has time to decide what they’re cooking, check the fat content, convert the fat to a point, write down all the points, then calculate all the points at the end of the day, oh, and don’t forget, if you blow you’re points by 3:00 p.m. – you’re screwed!

A diet: Atkins, Sugar Busters, Hunter/Gatherer, Raw Food, Vegan, The Cookie Diet, the whole food diet, DASH, the list could go on into eternity.

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A starvation diet: You actually get to eat. Actually, even better, when you eat clean, you eat until you’re full, and you eat when you’re hungry – how fun!

A guilt fest: When you eat the foods God intended our bodies to digest, there’s no guilt in the amount, time or quantity you eat.

So what IS eating clean:

According to WebMD, CNN, Prevention and Eating Well (I had to consult several sources to come up with a concise definition) – it means eating whole, fresh, as close to nature food as possible. Pretty simple, right?

If you go to the grocery store, put something in your cart, look at the ingredients, and can’t determine where each ingredient came from, it’s not clean. In fact, the fewer ingredients, the better. For instance, instead of eating a banana nut muffin, eat a banana and some nuts.

Here are a few ways I eat clean (and explain it to others):

– avoid processed foods
– shop the perimeter of the grocery store
– eat veggies at every meal, even breakfast (corn is not a vegetable)
– limit sugar, refined sugar, added sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. If I’m going to eat sugar, it better be the best darn sweet treat I can get my hands on!
– eat protein, healthy fats, and fiber
– drink half my weight in pounds converted to ounces in water per day (ex. a person weighing 100 pounds would drink 50 oz of water)

And most importantly, don’t stress about it and allow yourself to cheat on occasion. We’re human!

This sums it up:

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Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/eat-clean-diet
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/23/health/clean-eating/
http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/10_ways_to_eat_clean?page=6

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No Farms, No Food – God Made a Farmer {Part 1 of 3}

Let me start off by saying, I am not expert. I don’t have an alphabet soup of letters behind my name (nor do I want it.) I’m not even sure why people read this, but they do.

I’m just a mom – hell bent on making things better for my daughter, or at the very least not making things worse. I feel a strong desire to share with whoever will listen. As long as people are willing to read, I will share.

So here we go… This will be part one of three (genetic modification and processed food will be discussed soon.)

150-200 years ago, 90% of the world’s population worked on farms and produced their own food. Today only 2% of the world’s population produces food for the entire planet (7 billion people).

By making things easier (thank you agricultural and industrial revolution) we’ve essentially put a very important job our of business.

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It’s our job to keep the farmer in business. Between raising kids, jobs, family matters, social groups, church, etc., we’ve turned our backs on our food providers and turned to prepacked, convenience, junk.

Someone recently told me, “I don’t accept junk in my marriage, I don’t accept junk from my kids, so why do I accept junk from my food.” This made me think “Why do we settle for less when it comes to food”? Our literal life giving source, has been degraded to a 100 calorie snack pack of Oreos.

Small changes will make a ripple effect. Here’s how you start:

Visit your local farmer’s market. Most cities and town have markets on the weekend (and some larger cities have markets during the week). If you’re in a really small town, visit the produce stand on the side of the road. Just show your support for the local farmer, talk to them, shake their hand, thank them, give them business when you can.

I feel like the dial is gradually turning back to simpler, better quality food. Our health depends on our ability to eat the foods God intended for us to eat – whole, natural, home grown goodness. Let’s put sick care out of business.

“And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.”

For more information visit this website, and fill out the petition. It will only take 30 seconds. While you’re there, you can also learn more about current agricultural issues. – http://action.farmland.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Action_NoFarmsNoFoodPetition&s_src=NoFarmsNoFood&s_subsrc=farm-bill.asp

Overweight, insulin resistant, tired, in pain? Click here.

The Dog Days are Over

Ahh, after 12 long years or preparation (5 of which I’ve actively been involved), it’s finally here.

He’s moved 5 times, taken 5 “make or break it” tests (MCAT, USMLE Steps 1,2 3, and Internal Medicine Boards), gone on countless interviews (med school interviews, residency interviews, job interviews), studied an obscene amount of hours, stayed awake for longer periods than should be humanly possible, fell asleep in strange locations when he was post-call, missed family events, showed up at events exhausted, juggled being a dad, fur dad, and husband, put up with my complaining when he missed events due to work obligations, still rocked at being a husband, passed his board exam with flying colors, was inducted into the AOA honor society, took care of some pretty interesting patients, still found a way to laugh about even the most dire situations, wondered how he’d make ends meet, dreamt about life without student loans, complained a little, learned a lot, wished he’d picked a different career at times, and found a way to fall in love with it all over again.

And now he’s here – the commencement of a career he’s wanted since he was a little boy.

As he finished up the last 2 weeks of his life as a resident, I couldn’t help but reflect back on everything’s he’s sacrificed (time, relationships, money, etc.), and look forward to all the blessings ahead!

Kudos to my amazingly smart, kind, gentle spirited, handsome husband. I love doing life with you, #winning!

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38 weeks in, 38 weeks out

One of the most interesting times for me was the the time leading up to and after the birth of my baby. After about 30 weeks of pregnancy, I began to avoid mirrors. The drastic changes ocuring in my body were just too much for me to handle. I watched my body stretch week after week, my clothes became tighter, I became hungrier, I was hot all the time (summer pregnancies are a really bad idea by the way), I was swollen, my shoes didn’t fit, I had gas (both ends), I didn’t want my husband to touch me (unless it was to massage my aching back or feet), I was over and underwhelmed, and I won’t even begin to talk about the hormones.

I had neither an easy or difficult pregnancy. It was somewhat typical with the exception of a few hiccups, Gestational Diabetes and twice weekly visits to my OB/Gyn and Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists. Aubrey graced us with her presence on August 12, exactly 14 minutes after I was cut open in the operating room. She cried, I cried, we all cried. It was beautiful.

The last thing I felt was beautiful. Between a c-section recovery, learning to nurse, a nocturnal baby, well meaning visitors, and everything in between the last thing on my mind was my postpartum body. I continued to avoid mirrors. In fact, there were days where I’m not even sure I brushed my teeth, got out my pajamas, or did anything “productive.” The first 6 weeks were amazing, hard, lonely, exhausting. Then reality set in. I knew I needed to put on my big girl panties and figure out how to be a mom while still being “me.”

Kudos to the women who get their bodies back in 6 weeks. I love you; however, this is not me. In reality, my body is still not the same, and I’m not sure it will ever be. It’s been stretched, pulled on, cut open and sewn back up. It looks different, feels different, fits different.

I’ve had some moms ask me what I’ve done over the past 9 1/2 month, so I’ll share my advice – I’m still a novice, so take it with a grain of salt.

Weeks 1-6:
-Sleep as much as you can.
-Wear a belly binder – this helps with the “jiggle.” My belly looked like a bowl full of jelly for a while, and I needed something to keep it tight.
-Drink lots of water.
-Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.

Week 6-12:
-Start light exercise if you’re up to it. I started walking Aubrey in the stroller around the neighborhood. This helped with my mental health more than anything. A little fresh air goes a long way when you’re cooped up in a house with a newborn. I also was not realeased for exercise, so a walk around the neighborhood was actually a leisurely stroll.
-Drink lots of water.
-If you’re starting to fall into a routine, begin to plan balanced meals (5 small meals per day).
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.

3 months-6 months:
– Drink lots of water.
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.
– If you’re ready, up your exercise routine. For me, this meant working out at home and going back to the gym. I absolutely love the Tracy Anderson Post Pregnancy DVD. She focuses on rebuilding your core better than anyone I’ve seen so far. She also has a lot of unique exercises that can be done in your home with no equipment required. On the days when I was able to leave the house, I visited the YMCA for group classes. This was good for me mentally and physically.
-Focused on eating clean. Eliminate processed foods, soft drinks, grains and added sugar.

6 months – 9 months:
– Drink lots of water.
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.
– Continue building your exercise program. If you’re ready, take it up a notch! At the end of Aubrey’s 5th month, I enrolled in a mommy boot camp. This really helped me mentally and physically. I also incorporated interval training (walk/jog/run) when I had time.
– Focus on eating clean. During this time I kicked my nutrition up a notch as well, and did a detox (see older posts for my detox experience).
– Incorporate a daily protein shake to help build lean muscle mass.

Now going forward:
My plans are to continue drinking lots of water, eating clean, drinking protein shakes, working out and interval training. I’m still not where I want to be physically (I’d like to continue rebuilding my core), but I’m making progress!

I never thought I’d share this picture, but I promised myself I’d share my journey. I hope I can help one mom realize that postpartum weight loss takes time for some women (not all us of can walk the Victoria’s Secret runway 4 weeks after our babies are born.) The beauty of motherhood is after all is said and done, you get an awesome reward.

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I hated taking pictures when I was pregnant. The picture on the left is actually 1 week before I delivered Aubrey. The picture on the right was taken 6/16.

Visit my website for supplements and tools for weight loss, pain management, breast health, detox and protein or email me at JadaDanos@gmail.com.

Fool Proof Chicken Skillet Bake

20140614-121319-43999072.jpgI love a self contained food dish. Nothing makes me happier than a crock pot meal or a one skillet dish that requires minimal prep. One of our family favorites is the Chicken Skillet Bake. It’s a great any time of the year, super easy to prepare, and contains fat, protein and carbs (veggie) in one dish. My husband loves it, and I make it with chicken thighs (his favorite!).

The inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my favorite cooking books – Practical Paleo.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter or olive oil (divided)
1/4 of a white onion diced
1 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts
1/4 cup of capers
Juice of 2 lemons
4-6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs

Let’s cook…

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

I like to use a cast iron skillet. It gives the chicken a great flavor, and it’s just an overall great piece of cookware to own. If you don’t have cast iron, you can use a regular, oven-safe skillet (nothing anodized).

In your oven-safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter or oil over medium heat, add onions and cook until translucent, stirring frequently.

Stir in the artichoke hearts, capers and lemon juice.

Place the chicken pieces in the skillet, and top them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil.

Here comes my favorite part – place the entire skillet in the oven, and cook for 45 minutes or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

While your dinner is baking, take some time to spend with your kids, catch up on clothes, read a book, surf the internet, or just relax!

Until next time, happy and healthy living to you!

Don’t forget to visit my Plexus Slim page at http://www.plexusslim.com/jadabruce for detox products, probiotics, weight loss, vitamins, pain management and breast health or you can email me at JadaDanos@gmail.com.

What Got Me Started

Let me back up. I began my health crusade when I was 27 weeks pregnant with Aubrey. I went in for my first glucose tolerance test, and the only thing I had on my side was my pride. I gulped down the nasty drink, all the while thinking I was going to pass with flying colors.

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Why should I think any differently, I ran during my pregnancy until the 16th week, I worked out several times a week and I ate healthy (or so I thought). A week passed, then I received a somewhat frantic call from the nurse saying I had failed my glucose tolerance test – I actually failed it with flying colors! I was so angry and upset, but more than anything I was determined to clean up my diet.

I started out by making an appointment a dear friend of mine and Clinical Dietitian. Up until then, I believed a healthy breakfast was JIF peanut butter with whole wheat toast, a healthy lunch was a turkey sandwich on wheat from Subway, and a healthy supper was whole wheat pasta with canned spaghetti sauce. I had a lot to learn!

Which brings me to where I am in this moment. Because I had gestational diabetes, my risk for developing Type 2 diabetes in the future has increase exponentially. I also worry for the people I love, and even the people I just like.

The rate of diabetes in the country and world is increasing, and it can directly be related to our diets. Fast food, food that comes prepackaged, highly preserved and highly sugared foods are literally killing us. By trying to make things “easier” for ourselves, we’ve set ourselves up for nutritional failure.

Here’s a few facts for you from the American Diabetes Association:
Nearly 1 in 10 people have diabetes
79 million American have pre-diabetes (about 35% of the population)
$245 billion is attributed to the cost of diabetes (some which is your tax dollars)

So what do we do. Eating healthy is hard, and I’ll be the first to admit it. Yesterday, I was at a pool party, there was pizza, and I indulged. It was easy, it was there, and I wanted it. If I’m honest with myself, I think most people think that way about food. Unlike a drug addiction, if you want your fix, you have to have a dealer, spend lots of money, and there’s a risk you might go to jail if caught. With food, the addiction can be fed (literally) with a $1 box of mac and cheese from Wal-Mart. Every week I find myself shocked during my grocery trip when I realize the literal junk that FDA approves to be sold.

I’ll admit I’m a work in progress, but I’m making forward progress.

If you’re in this same boat, I’d like to share some resources with you:

This is an awesome article from National Geographic about sugar. It’s interesting that the crop that grew on the back of generations of slavery continues to enslave many today.
This is a great article about the food processing industry.

Know anyone with pre-diabetes or diabetes? They may want to give plexus slim a try. It’s not just for weight loss! Based on a clinical trial and anecdotal evidence plexus slim has been shown to decrease insulin levels.