My Philosophy on Clean Eating

The main aspect of eating clean is that you eat as naturally as possible, preferably organic. This means that the products do not differ from there natural state, meaning, a banana in your kitchen doesn't look any different compared to a banana on a tree. So I try to avoid eating processed foods which originate from factories like white pasta, white rice, white bread, some canned products, ready-to-eat meals, breakfast cereals and any other products that contain high levels of refined sugars (often called: fructose, glucose, sucrose) or refined carbs. At the supermarket I also always check the list of ingredients. If there are any ingredients on it of which I can't pronounce the name or which I don't recognize as food I don't buy it. During the process of creating the desired end product, the natural foods that are going in are completely stripped from their natural nutritional value and are replaced with artificial food additives and preservatives in order to make them look better and preserve the foods longer. But our body is unable to process these chemical additives and treats these as toxins resulting in feeling tired and actually gaining weight. This is also the reason why I don't count calories because a smoothie of 250 calories is healthier compared to a coca cola light with zero calories for the simple reason that the smoothie supplies your body with useful nutrients and the cola light only contains chemical additives. 

Another key aspect of my 'clean eating lifestyle' is that I make sure that my blood sugar levels remain stable during the day and I specifically pay attention to the ratio of carbs, proteins and healthy fats in every meal, but also in my meals spread over the day and week. I also try to make sure that I have enough variation in my meals and that I eat at least one gluten free meal a day. For example, if I have a sandwich at lunch I do not have carbs for dinner and vice versa. Therefore it's so important to plan your meals! Then, if I eat carbs I always eat carbs with a low glycemic index which are so called 'slow carbs'. These carbs release there glucose slowly to the blood system, thereby making sure that your blood sugar levels remain relatively stable. The glycemic index is a measure for how fast any type of food raises your blood sugar levels. The higher the value for the glycemic index, the unhealthier the food is because then you will find more spikes you find in your blood sugar and insulin levels. The highest glycemic index is that fore glucose (GI: 100) since glucose is absorbt immediatley in your intestine and deliverd to the bloodstream. Nutrion with a high glycemic index (GI > 50) are, among others, the same as the processed foods I mentioned earlier. But vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, spelt products, whole wheat products etcetera have a low glycemic index (GI: <50) so incorporate these into your daily meals because avoiding a rapid raise in blood sugar levels is beneficial because subsequently you avoid low blood sugar levels that cause tiredness and hungry feelings. Additionally you avoid a high insulin production which actually stimulates fat storage and also prevents the breakdown of fats which will eventually lead to weight gain. For the same reason I make sure that every meal contains sufficient proteins. Proteins increase your metabolism and avoid fat storage by preventing insulin production. But since I work out a lot, it's extra important for me to make sure that I eat enough proteins after a bootcamp session to stimulate muscle growth and repair. Additionally, I make sure that my meals contain sufficient essential fatty acids. A shortage of healthy fats actually results in having difficulties with losing weight, dry skin, dry eyes, irregular heartbeat, high sensitivity to infections and poorly healing wounds. Unsaturated fats are the healthy fats and you can find these in for example olive oil, coconut oil, avocado's, unroasted and unsalted nuts, seeds and fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies). So I always make sure that I eat fish twice a week for dinner or in a lunch salad!

I also watch my intake of dairy products and try to limit it to once a day because the human body has difficulties with processing these resulting in intestinal complaints since research has shown that a high intake of dairy products damages the intestinal wall. Finally I make sure I drink enough water (minimum 1.5 liters a day) and that I eat 5-6 times a day (6 on days I workout). Five smaller portions are better than 3 large portions because your digestive system is then better able to absorbe all nutrients and by eating regularly your blood sugar levels also remain more stable. 

Of course I also have my cravings so I eat 80% clean and 20% not so clean. Before I adopted this lifestyle, every morning I eat one slice of bread with chocolate flakes and sometimes I still really want one and then I just have it. By giving into some of these small cravings I do not binge on unhealthy products and I do not crave it for at least a couple of days. 

After all, its a lifestyle and not a diet!

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