Tips for Clean Eating

Woman stretching hands after waking up

Wake Up Without That Puffy Feeling

What does the term “Fat Monday” mean to you? In the New Orleans Mardis Gras, it is known as the Monday before Ash Wednesday marking the tradition of the New Orleans carnival king’s arrival. However, to those of us who devote our weekend to gluttony, Fat Monday has a very different, not so celebratory meaning. Is Saturday your cake and cookie night? Do you spend your Sunday afternoons trolling social media with a melting pint of Haagen Dazs? If so, you are probably all too familiar with Fat Mondays. However, Fat Mondays are ok; it’s when Fat Mondays become Fat Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays when you have to start to worry. When you start feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, there may be some simple mistakes you’re making.

1. You eat a late night dinner heavy on carbs and sugar
While a big dinner and dessert may feel like the perfect ending to a perfect day, it might not mean such a great morning after. Meals right before bed time force your body to concentrate on digesting food instead of getting a good night’s sleep. If you want some quality shut-eye, you’re better off eating a small serving of protein and swapping the mashed potatoes and fries for sweet potatoes. The complex carbohydrates and fiber in sweet potatoes will keep you fuller and reduce sugar cravings.

2. You’re eating too many sweets
If you’re getting a sugar high at night, you can expect a crash in the morning. Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietician, says, ” Refined, processed and sugary carbs are empty calories.” They require a lot of energy to digest, but leave you depleted of nutrients, Whole grain toast with almond butter can be a better way to fix the sugar craving while getting some nutritional value.

3. You’re eating lean meats and proteins late at night
Blatner says, “Protein takes the longest of any food group to digest, so too much of it will make your body work too hard and not be relaxed enough to get a good night’s sleep. To avoid this, try to get your protein by eating smaller portions of protein rich meals throughout the course of the day, rather than late at night

woman eating fruits at night from fridge
4. You eat too much fruit
Although fruit contains loads of vitamins, it also contains a lot of natural sugar, which can be harmful if you have diabetes and can also lead to a stomach ache. If you want to get your fruit fix, your best off with a handful of cherries, which contain phytochemicals like melatonin, to enhance sleep. Bananas are another great choice.because they contain muscle relaxants like potassium and magnesium to ensure a better sleep.

5. O.J., Coffee, or “Nightcap”
O.J. and coffee are traditional breakfast beverages and should probably remain that way. If you’re prone to acid reflux, orange juice is not the best pre- slumber choice and neither is coffee. Drinking java anytime after 2 p.m. can be enough to impede sleep and even decaf can contain some caffeine. Although alcohol can help to bring on sleep, the quality of the sleep may not be the good, According to Blatner, “Instead of getting a good night’s sleep, your body has to work to metabolize the alcohol. Chamomile or mint teas are both better nighttime options.” If you want a snack before sleep, try to keep it around 150 calories with a little protein so it doesn’t disrupt the sleep cycle and leaves you feeling energized in the morning.

If you’re a pre-bedtime snacker, we’d love to know how you keep the puffiness away? Drop us a line! We love to hear from you!

Baked eggplant with tomato and garlic

Clean Eating Tips

One interesting approach to nutrition that’s rising in popularity recently is called simply “clean eating.” And certainly, if it could help keep you healthy both before and after your wedding day, it’s worth a try, right? Well, we’re here to examine and evaluate this trend to give you the information you need to make healthy choices, and to decide if clean eating is worth pursuing.

But What Is it, Exactly?
Of course, before we can go any further, we need to define what clean eating actually is. In essence, the basic tenets of clean eating are eating five to six times a day (three meals and two to three small snacks), choose organic, clean foods whenever possible, and drink at least two liters of water a day. There are other details, like including lean protein, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate in every meal, but the three pillars of eating five-six times a day, choosing organic food, and drinking two liters of water each day are the basis of this idea. This sounds great in theory, but let’s examine it piece by piece to be sure.

Woman drinking water

Two Liters of Water
This is one realm in which clean eating is a little closer to being on-point, although of course, the truth is more complicated. How much water you should drink actually depends on your weight, location, and activity level. The rule of thumb is that you need between half an ounce and a whole ounce of water per pound you weight, every day. For example, a 150-pound person should drink between 75-150 ounces of water per day. The hotter and more arid your climate, the closer to the upper end of the range you’ll be. Likewise, the more exercise you get, the closer to the top you’ll be.

Eating Five to Six Times a Day
The idea here is that eating more often and in smaller portions is both better for weight loss and healthier in general because you’re spreading out calorie intake throughout the day and keeping your metabolism running smoothly. Sadly, the science does not agree here. Studies actually indicate there is no significant impact whatsoever to the frequency of eating, and that, in fact, eating more often makes you want to eat more.

Avocado sandwich

Organic Foods
Similarly, the need for the foods to be organic (and, by extension, GMO-free) in clean eating is not borne out by actual scientific knowledge. GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are largely a positive development, and allow crops to be fortified with necessary nutrients, more reliably protected from diseases, and be produced more cheaply. On the other hand, organic growing is volatile and has a huge chance of failure or of infested crops, because of the restrictions on pesticide use that organic growing entails. In short, while there are some legitimate concerns with the agricultural industry, organic food is not the answer and generally has no benefit to your health.

All that said, this one is pretty close to the mark. The majority of the other tenets of clean eating are highly questionable, though. Just eat a healthy, varied diet, with proteins, simple and complex carbohydrates, fruits, and lots of leafy greens and other vegetables, and you should be fine.