With the arrival of the new year comes the flurry of resolutions to get fit, lose weight and eat better.
The hashtag #eatclean is a bit of a badge of honour on Instagram with a casual 37 million uses, but what exactly does it mean? Having scoured a few definitions, I feel the BBC Good Food’s definition is the best one “eating clean means enjoying whole foods in their most natural state, and limiting anything processed”. Essentially it is about eating food from nature and there tends to be an incline towards home cooking as opposed to buying anything from factories etc
Personally, I try to clean eat as often as I can but there are three key challenges:
It takes a while to prep a tasty clean meal, and when you’re out for work 12 hours a day and trying to cram a bit of socialising or exercise into the evenings, the struggle is real. To have a selection of great ingredients is a costly endeavour, especially when items such as berries turn to mush in a couple of days.
The third and worst part of clean eating is the guilt factor. When you are trying to be ‘good’ you can feel awfully guilty about ‘dirty’ foods like the odd burger or bit of chocolate (my favourite). That horrible feeling tends to do one of two things:
-send me into the immobilisation cocoon, essentially sitting on the sofa feeling a bit crap
-get me feeling like I need to do some form of exercise, so I am all over the laptop and my calendar trying to fit something in
For me the key to clean eating is that it needs to be flexible. If you find yourself with the time, make something lovely that you can eat when you don’t have as much time (I tend to make a few portions at a time). Similarly, if you don’t have much time, just do your best even if that’s just going for the Subway as opposed to the McDonald’s.
It’s not about having a regular ‘cheat day’ it’s about working out each day as it comes and listening to how your body feels. Sometimes a bit of pizza is what you need!
There are a few great books out there for inspiration if you want to try something new. My new favourite is Eat Well Everyday by Clean Eating Alice, she writes in a friendly accessible way and keeps it simple. I’m going to try and do one recipe a week to shake up our meal times.
The biggest tip on resolutions is start small and build up as opposed to starting big and burning out. This year my aim with eating is to limit take-aways to once or twice a month and to eat clean for at least two days a week.