REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
I was asked by a friend to put together a clean-eating menu plan. She just got back from a vacation. While I’m highly jealous of her trip, her request got me thinking of all of the times I’ve had post-vacation tummy (just not feeling 100%) and post-vacation drag (exhausted and in need of another vacation). Getting those things handled, in addition to being able to sleep in my own bed and walk around as indecently as I please are things that I look forward to post-vacation. It’s nice to get back into your own routine. It’s nice to eat the way you’ve found works best for you. It’s nice to get home and get your body working like “clock work,” again.
After careful thought, I’ve put together a very basic guide for a clean-eating reboot, rather than a menu plan. A menu plan is very specific. It’s complicated to make, as you have to account for bodyweight, composition, activity level, and even foods the person likes to eat. It gets pretty technical. Then, there’s my least favorite thing about menu plans, they’re so specific that if in a moment of weakness you eat something not listed on the plan, it’s as though you’ve failed. It’s like you’ve thrown in the towel.
There’s never a need to throw in the towel. A clean-eating reboot does not have to adhere you to a set plan, but rather general guidelines. I’m going to share some of these guidelines with you. Bare in mind that these are very general. You can adjust them to fit yourself as you see fit.
Get Non-Starchy Veggie Crazy!!!
My first guideline is to really focus hard on your non-starchy veggies. Aim for at least 4 cups each day. Try to make two of them raw. Have a cup of veggies with breakfast, a cup with lunch, a cup with dinner, and the last cup you can add whenever you would like. Remember, it’s at least 4 cups, so you can go over if you’d like. It’s easier than you might think to get all of those veggies. Tomatoes, onions, green pepper, mushrooms, and spinach all go great with eggs for breakfast. Salads or green smoothies make great lunches. A fun salad idea is to make zoodles (zucchini noodles), add chopped tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers with a little olive oil for a faux pasta salad. Green smoothies are great, but make sure you’re getting a full cup of veggies in that lunch. If you’re relying on that smoothie, don’t skimp on the greens. For dinner, you could go the salad route again, roast, or sautee vegetables. I love stuffing peppers or cabbage leaves. Zuchini or cucumber boats are also always fun. There are so many options. In the case of a reboot, be mindful of what you are topping your vegetables with, or cooking them in.
Eat The Whole Fruit As It Is
Have at least one whole fruit in it’s natural form. You can have more than one fruit. Just make sure you eat at least one fruit that is raw, in it’s natural form. I don’t believe in hard limits on fruit. There are far too many benefits, including the ability to detoxify the body, which is what you need most in a reboot (veggies detox, too).
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Drink 8 glasses of water each day. I know. I know. You’ve heard that a million times. It’s actually really important. On vacation, you find yourself drinking other fun beverages and hanging out in the hot sun. Few people keep up on their 8 or so glasses of water each day while vacationing. Rehydrating and cleansing the body from all of the crazy things you’ve put in your body, and exposed it to on vacation, is so important when it comes to getting it back to feeling it’s best… if not better!
Real, Whole Foods
I am a huge believer in whole foods. I can’t tell you enough, if you want a refreshing, clean-eating reboot, stick to whole foods. That includes the little things, like condiments, foods that are advertised as health foods, but yet you don’t recognize some of the ingredients (beware, these are many!). Your best bet is to make your food all by yourself. You can always batch cook and prep on days you have extra time. Salads are also very quick and easy.
Healthy Fats And Proteins
Make sure you get your protein and healthy fats. However, look for those hidden ingredients that you don’t recognize. I love eggs. Especially, in the summer. I like to boil up several at a time. It’s convenient and tasty when you can grab a nice, cold, hardboiled egg from the fridge. You can also have chicken, beef, or fish. There’s really no rules. For fats, coconut products (once again, check the ingredients), olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado, nut and seed products, ghee, and grassfed dairy products are all great choices for healthy fats.
Relax And Go With It
Don’t stress over it. Too many rules and too set of a plan causes stress. Do you know what stress causes? Cortisol release. Too much cortisol can cause aches and pains, poor sleep, fatigue even if you do sleep, weight gain, poor immunity, sugary cravings, low sex drive, GI “issues,” anxiety and depression. Basically, cortisol is everything you don’t want as you try to refresh and reboot.
When I get home from vacation, I can’t wait to feel like myself again. I want to flush out the bad quickly so I can feel 100% again. Quickly. I have to remind myself that I will feel better everyday that I am back in my routine. I have to remind myself that there are no fast fixes. I try to take a relaxed approach and enjoy the process. When I grocery shop, I go wild in the produce department. 4 cups of veggies per day is 28 cups for a week. That’s just for one adult! You might need a second cart. Luckily, it’s summer and seasonal veggies are fairly inexpensive. I don’t hold myself to any meal plans because my moods and appetite are ever changing. What sounds good one day doesn’t always sound good the next. The key is, make it your clean-eating refresher, if you follow the guidelines I’ve given, you will feel good. I usually feel back to myself within a week of getting back into clean-eating (I eat very clean on vacation, but it can be harder to catch the sneaky little things when you’re not in familiar territory, and those little things affect how you fee).
I don’t like hard rules when it comes to diet. Hard rules suggest you can fail and make it easy to do so. Guidelines allow you to be yourself and find what feels right for you.