What you eat contributes to how you feel and how your hormones function. Scroll down to learn more about clean eating and the 7 Day Hello PCOS Clean Eating Challenge.
What is clean eating?
Let me tell you right now, never tell me to count calories. It just doesn’t work for me. My brain just isn’t capable of breaking down the different ingredients in a dish and calculating calories. Take a taco for instance: meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and beans… how am I supposed to pay attention to the specific calories in each food? It’s just not going to happen. I love apps like MyFitnessPal (add me sn: HelloPCOS) that do the hard work for me but even with those apps I never pay attention to the total calorie count. Want to know why? Because I eat clean, and when I eat clean my body knows how to use the nutritious foods and I don’t have to worry about counting calories.
Your body can break down and use spaghetti squash 100x easier that spaghetti pasta. Does that make sense?
So, what is clean eating? Clean eating is eating only whole, unprocessed, nutritious, and healthy foods. Eating clean works wonders for PCOS by helping to balance hormones, aiding in weight loss, increasing energy, improving mood, and decreasing skin issues.
Here are 8 steps you can take to eating clean:
1. Choose whole and unprocessed foods
The basics of eating clean is simple: whole and unprocessed. That means only eating real food. Meat, vegetables, fruit, beans, whole grain, gluten free, nuts, seeds, and seafood. All that good stuff. None of the cereals, white flour products, candies, cakes, or products with sugar. My go to rule is: if it doesn’t spoil within a reasonable amount of time… don’t eat it.
If you can afford organic foods, this is the best way to go. If you’re like me… and on a budget. Just make sure you get the best quality products and rinse anything with a skin (for example: apples, pears, and potatoes) well before eating.
2. EAT Lean proteins
Skinless chicken or turkey, eggs, shrimp, fish, and beans are good sources of lean proteins. Don’t over do it with the steak (try limiting yourself to once a week at most twice a week) and chose alternatives to ground beef. Trust me, ground turkey and ground chicken taste pretty much the same and it’ll treat your body better. Processed foods like hotdogs are not clean and are off limits.
3. Stay on the outer perimeter of the GRocery Store
The good stuff isn’t in the middle, it’s on the outer perimeter at the grocery store. Think about it what is on the outside? Fruit, veggies, and meat. What is on the inside? Cereal, cake, frozen dinners, and sweets. Spend a majority of your time in the grocery store on the outer perimeter- your trip will be shorter and your body will thank you.
4. Meal PLAN and Prep
I’m sure you’ve guessed the hard part about eating clean by now… you’ll spend wayyyyy more time in the kitchen. Sure, you can remix somethings in the drive thru to try to get them as clean as possible however, the best way to ensure that you are eating clean, whole, and nutritious foods is to cook yourself.
By meal prepping, you’ll save yourself time during the week and you will set yourself up for success. IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN… YOU ARE PLANNING TO FAIL. Mark my words, if you wait until lunch time to figure out what you’re eating… you will not eat clean. Especially if you’re busy at work and looking for quick and affordable options.
The way that I tackle meal prepping is going grocery shopping on Sunday mornings, cooking meals for Monday-Wednesday’s lunch on Sunday, and cooking meals for Wednesday’s dinner-Friday’s lunch on Wednesday. My weekend meals are a little more relaxed because I’m home and have time to cook and assemble a few times a day. Some people cook Monday-Friday meals on Sunday which is a good idea, however; I actually enjoy cooking and I don’t like left overs that much.
5. add Balance and variety
I seriously have no idea how people eat chicken, green beans, and sweet potatoes every single day. I just can’t do ittttt. Make sure your meals are balanced and add some variety. If you eat the same thing daily, you will get bored and that fast food pizza will start looking better and better.
Make sure you eat healthy fats like olive oil and avocados. Also, remix things a little and eat foods out of order. I love eating sweet potatoes in the AM with eggs and throwing strawberries in my salads for dinner. Try to eat a heavy breakfast (so that you can fuel your day), a moderate lunch, and a lighter dinner.
6. Eat 6 times a day
I’ve got good news: snacking is a vital part of clean eating. Yup, you should be eating six times a day… thats about every 3-4 hours.
Try breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, then dinner or breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, then snack. Which ever works best for you.
7. Drink PLenty of water
You should be drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water daily. That means, if you weigh 200 lbs you should be drinking 100 ounces of water daily. Water helps your body do everything from sweating, to digestion, to making your skin look radiant. Water is your friend. If you sign up for the challenge, throughout the week I’ll be sending emailing you tips on how I increased my water intake.
8. Read the label
If you’re eating something with a label… you should always be able to pronounce all of the ingredients. If you can’t read it… don’t eat. Also, if the item is clean… there really shouldn’t be more than 3-4 ingredients.
Ingredient list for apples: apples.
Join the challenge
So, there you have it the 8 steps to improve your happiness and health through eating clean. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I’ll discuss foods that help your PCOS and foods that hurt your PCOS.
On Friday, a free PCOS grocery list, meal planning printable, a few recipes, and superfood cheatsheet will be available in the resource library. Check back then.
As always, thanks for reading.