The Happy Healthy Hunny 2-Week Clean Eating Reset

Overview

What is clean eating? There are a lot of opinions on what “clean” food really is, but to me it means eating things that either

  1. are a plant,
  2. grew from a plant,
  3. ate a plant,
  4. ate something that ate a plant, or
  5. are products of either 3 or 4 – meaning something like milk.

Basically, not eating things that were made in an industrial plant.

The Clean Eating Reset is designed to help you start kicking cravings to sugar and processed foods so that you have an easier time sticking to a healthy lifestyle. Once sugar and nutrient-deficient processed foods are in our bodies, we want more and more of them. The only way to kick the cravings is to let these foods (or I should say “foods”) pass through your system so that your body forgets about them and no longer craves them. Processed foods and sugar are truly a drug designed to be addictive and need to be treated as such.

Why 2 weeks? Because two weeks is a time frame that you’re likely to stick to. A 30-day clean eating program can seem really daunting and big challenges that we’re not used to doing often lead us to feeling overwhelmed and then self-sabotaging ourselves. This doesn’t mean that you can’t keep going past the two weeks, but I do think you’ll have an easier time staying committed to the reset by starting with two weeks.

I’m also including tips and challenges for self-care because cleaning out negative thoughts from your mind is really important to living a healthy lifestyle. The vast majority of our unhealthy habits and choices stem from a negative emotion and if you can turn those emotions around and/or learn how to cope with them in healthier ways, you’ll see a huge turnaround in your physical health.

Thank you for trying out my Clean Eating Reset and congratulations on making a decision to work towards a happier and healthier You!

Clean Food List

Vegetables:

  • All vegetables are clean if they come fresh or frozen!

Proteins:

  • Meats such as chicken, turkey, pork, beef, and wild game
  • Fish such as tuna, haddock, salmon, and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Natural protein powders derived from plants, like the Vega brand
  • Nuts do have protein, but are considered more of a fat source
  • Beans do have protein, but are considered more of a carb source
  • Note: Foods like chicken nuggets and fish sticks do not count as “clean” because even though they started as a clean food, they were processed in an industrial plant. Keep proteins as close to their natural source as possible, unless it’s a ground meat product with no additives

Fats:

  • Nuts- raw, dry roasted, and/or salted are all OK
  • Nut spreads – with no additives like sugar
  • Seeds – such as Chia and Flax
  • Egg yolk
  • Avocado
  • Olive Oil & Coconut Oil
  • Animal fat
  • Whole Fat: Butter & Milk & Greek Yogurt (limit dairy intake)

Carbs:

  • Fruit – just like vegetables, they’re clean fresh or frozen!
  • Potatoes – regular or sweet
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Oats (minimally processed)
  • Whole Grains (limit as much as possible)

Beverages:

  • Water – lots of it!
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Fresh-squeezed fruit & vegetable juice
  • Coconut, Almond, and other nut milks are all clean if there are no additives

Self-Care

Tips:

  • Work on having a positive mindset focused “I can do this and whatever else I set my mind to”
  • Replace criticisms of yourself with compliments
  • Surround yourself with people who bring you positivity instead of negativity and lift you up instead of put you down
  • Smile at yourself whenever you look in the mirror to build confidence and self-love
  • Take time for yourself to do things you enjoy to remind yourself that your needs are a priority
  • Focus on your health and how you feel rather than how you look
  • Stick to physical activities you actually enjoy so that exercise doesn’t feel like a punishment or something you “have to do”
  • Always focus on the things you have accomplished instead of the goals you have not reached
  • Have the courage to follow your intuition and to follow the paths that you know are right for you, rather than letting other people guide your life. It will limit feelings of helplessness and build more self-confidence.

Challenges:

  • During the reset, have at least 80% of your meals be home-cooked, even if they were cooked at someone else’s home or by someone else.
  • Over the two weeks, set aside time for physical activity at least 6 times. It can be going to the gym, doing a workout at home, going for a walk around the neighborhood, or anything else that gets you moving. Make sure to only pick activities you enjoy!
  • Over the two weeks, set aside time for meditation at least 2 times. It can be as little as 5 minutes in total silence or listening to a soothing song and connecting with what you are feeling in the moment. Or it can be a longer guided meditation directed towards a goal you have.
  • Make a list of the ways you want to feel as a new “goals” list instead of one that is appearance-based and keep that somewhere you can look at whenever you’re feeling discourage or un-motivated.
  • Every time you criticize yourself or someone else makes a criticism of you, give yourself 3 compliments to negate the criticism.

What are your favorite clean eating recipes and favorite things to do for self-care? Comment below or on the Facebook post!

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy You,

Ashley


The Best Daily Supplements and Their Benefits

Let me start out by saying that every person has different needs based on their genetic makeup and diet so it’s important to know what vitamin deficiencies you have before starting a daily regimen. Surprisingly, there is such a thing as overdoing it with vitamins! The best thing to do is to go to your doctor to find out what you are lacking and then create a mix of supplements and vitamins that work best for your body.

Because we all have different deficiencies, a multi-vitamin isn’t a great option because they try to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution and that’s just not how our bodies work. By taking a multi-vitamin, you’ll end up overdoing it on some vitamins while still have deficiencies with others.

That said, let’s talk about some of the most common supplements and vitamins that can really make a big impact on your daily life and overall health.

Probiotics & Prebiotics:

A daily probiotic/prebiotic is hands-down my favorite supplement. There is nothing worse than dealing with digestional discomfort. Many of us suffer from bloating, going to the bathroom too much or not enough, and just general pain in our stomachs. There are different reasons for these issues – ranging from overdoing it on antibiotics to simply having an unbalanced fiber intake to having food sensitivities – but a good-quality probiotic can make a world of difference by fixing your gut bacteria. The best probiotics are ones that still have live cultures. These ones are typically found refrigerated either in pill form. The other way they’re refrigerated? As pickles! That’s right – eating pickled vegetables (that have to stay refrigerated) is a great source of probiotics. Other natural food sources of probiotics are: yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh.  Now you’re probably wondering what the heck is a prEbiotic. A prebiotic is the food for a probiotic, which means having prebiotics helps your probiotics to work better for you. Like probiotics, you can find a prebiotic pill, but there are also foods you can incorporate into your daily diet instead. These include: raw chicory root, raw or cooked onions, raw Jerusalem artichokes,  raw garlic, raw dandelion greens, raw leeks, raw asparagus, and bananas.

Fish Oil:

Fish oil is another one of my favorites that I will never give up. Fish oil is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can also be found in oily fish like salmon. Unless you’re eating a lot of omega-3 fatty acids in your food, a great way to get a lot of health benefits is to pop a fish oil pill every day. Some of the benefits of fish oil are: lowered risk of heart disease, improved mental health and cognitive functioning, supports eye health and vision as you age, and reduces inflammation.

Vitamin D:

I started taking vitamin D3 a couple of years ago because I was told it can help with the “winter blues”, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in warmer climates, chances are you get enough vitamin D from the sun. But a lot of us spend most of our time indoors and/or live in climates that are not sunny and warm year-round. So, if you don’t get a lot of sun exposure, taking vitamin D every day can have a lot of benefits. These benefits include: reduces depression; promotes bone health by aiding in the absorption of calcium; lowers blood pressure; aids in weight-loss; and reduces the risk of diabetes, heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

Calcium:

Calcium is extremely important for your health and best way to get it is definitely through your diet. Unfortunately, most people suffer from calcium deficiencies so a calcium supplement could be the way to go if your diet doesn’t include a lot of dairy, leafy greens, and beans. The benefits of calcium include: bone, heart, muscle, and nerve health and possibly protecting against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Vitamin E:

Another popular choice for a daily vitamin is vitamin E. It can be found in certain plant foods, but if you have a deficiency then a daily supplement may be the way to go. The benefits of vitamin E are seemingly endless, but they include: balanced cholesterol, disease prevention, skin repair, thicker hair, balanced hormones, improved PMS symptoms, improved vision, brain health such as helping those with Alzheimer’s, and improved physical endurance and muscle strength.

Vitamin A:

The last vitamin we’ll discuss is vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. There are two main sources of vitamin A, which are active vitamin A – found in animal product – and beta carotene – found in colorful fruits and vegetables. You want to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A either from your diet or a supplement because there are so many great benefits, including: eye health, immune support, reduced inflammation, skin health and cell growth, and cancer prevention.

These were just a few of the many vitamins and supplements that can help you feel – and even look – better and there are many more! Again, the best way to know what you need is to go to your doctor and get tested for deficiencies. I hope learning about all of the benefits mentioned above inspires you to take more control over your health!

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy You,

Ashley


How To Avoid The Dreaded Holiday Weight Gain

It’s that time of year again! A season full of social occasion after social occasion that feels like an obstacle course of trouble for anyone worrying about their waistline. I myself have fallen victim to the dreaded holiday weight gain- sometimes putting on 15 pounds in just a couple of months! And we all know it takes way longer than a couple of months to get that weight back off.

So how do you maintain your weight, or even lose weight, this time of year without missing out on all of the occasions and holiday traditions it has to offer? It’s all about strategy, self-control, priorities and keeping your eye on the bigger picture.

While the other tools for success mentioned above are very important, the #1 factor to staying in control of your eating over the holidays is strategy. That means looking at your week to figure out when temptation is going to strike (i.e. a work party, a gathering with friends, or a family celebration) and knowing how to plan around that event. A good rule of thumb is to stick to one indulgence per week. That doesn’t mean one full day of indulgence, but one meal or time frame for indulgence. I like to call this your “treat meal” rather than a “cheat meal” because you’re not cheating on your diet/healthy lifestyle if it is a part of your weekly plan… but that’s another article for another day. This means that if you have two events during the week where you know temptation will strike, it’s best to stick to healthy eating/drinking at one and eat off-plan at the other. For instance, if you have dinner at a restaurant with friends on Wednesday and a big family celebration on Saturday, you could stick to healthy choices in-line with your normal diet at the restaurant and indulge in more carbs/fats/sweets/alcohol at the family event – or vice versa! However, if you feel that you are someone who has a lot of self-control and are not an “all or nothing” type of eater, you could also choose to indulge at both events during the week without going crazy at either. Think of it as having two half treat meals rather than one full one.

Another strategy is to be selective about the events you attend. Yes, there’s a desire and almost obligation to socialize like crazy during the holidays as the events seem to be never-ending, but that doesn’t mean you have to go to everything. Look at your calendar and decide which events you don’t think you’d regret missing and knock them off the list. And if there’s something that can be rescheduled until after the new year when there’s not so much going on – such as that dinner with friends – then move it to a week where it will be your only off-track day. Repeat after me: “It’s okay to not go to every event and to not schedule everything within the same few weeks even if that’s what others want.”

Now that we’ve accepted that socializing – however frequent – will be a part of our holiday season, let’s talk self-control. Just because there’s 3 different pastas, potatoes, bread, multiple fatty meats, dairy-doused vegetables, endless trays of desserts, and copious amounts of alcohol does NOT mean that you need to eat and drink all of it even if it is your treat meal. Oftentimes when we’re on a diet or simply sticking to a healthy way of eating, we have feelings of deprivation and lots of thoughts of “I can’t eat this. I can’t drink this. I can’t have this.” So many “I can’ts” make us go crazy on food when we finally say “I can”. So when you do socialize and decide to let loose, remind yourself that you can have those foods whenever you want. It is your CHOICE not to have them on a regular basis but you are always ALLOWED to have them. Taking away that restrictive mindset will help you to have more self-control when you are around foods that you don’t normally eat.

Finally, let’s talk priorities and keeping the bigger picture in mind. If strategizing and self-control seem to be failing you, ask yourself what is more important to you: what you are about to eat/drink or your health. Sometimes we are just so darn hangry that the answer is going to be the food in front of us and we won’t care about those last 10 pounds on the scale in that moment. But oftentimes by asking yourself that question you’ll be able to keep your bigger picture in mind and know that those few cookies that will be eaten within a matter of moments really aren’t worth it. Sure, you’ll enjoy eating them, but how will you feel 5 minutes later? An hour later? The next day? Probably not very good. Now, I’m not saying don’t have any cookies or pasta or alcohol. I’m saying that if it wasn’t what you *planned* to have as part of your strategy for the week and self-control seems to be fleeting, focus on the bigger picture to help you stay strong and committed to your health goals.

And if you do gain weight, don’t beat yourself up. The holiday season is a field of temptation landmines that gets the best of us. But as long as you stay focused on your bigger goals and committed to your health, any setback on the scale will be minor and easily fixed. So go out there and have a happy and healthy holiday season – with a few extra indulgences 😉 You got this!

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy You,

Ashley


What is “Integrative Nutrition”?

We all know what nutrition is. It’s concerning the food and beverages we put into our bodies and how it all nourishes us. So what is “integrative nutrition”?

Integrative Nutrition is the concept that food isn’t the only important factor to nourishing our bodies. You can probably guess that fitness is also an important factor to your health, but did you know that your relationships (whether they’re romantic, friendships or family), career, spirituality, and so many other facets of your life play a huge role in your overall health?

My favorite question that really gets to the core of integrative nutrition is: “Why do you do what you do when you know what you know?” In other words: If you know how to be healthy and the steps you should be taking daily to feel your best, why do you continue to make unhealthy choices that keep you from being the healthiest version of yourself?

For instance, you know you’re supposed to eat nourishing unprocessed foods at every meal and your plan is to go to the gym every night. Yet, multiple nights a week you find yourself leaving work to go home to eat pizza or ice cream along with a bottle of wine and you skip your workout. Or you go out for drinks and unhealthy restaurant food with co-workers or friends instead of going home to your healthy groceries and taking the spin class you planned on taking. Or, if you’re a parent, you eat the chicken nuggets and mac ‘n cheese you made for your kids instead of the healthy meal you planned on making for yourself. Why do so many of us make these choices when we know what the right ones are? Are we stressed about our jobs and need to let loose? Are we in an unhappy relationship – or unhappy because we’re not in a relationship – so we eat and drink our feelings? Are we tired and overwhelmed from all of our daily responsibilities that we feel like we can’t put the effort into one more thing? Or are we simply giving into social pressure from friends, romantic partners, and/or family only to regret it later and beat ourselves up for it?

There are countless reasons we make unhealthy decisions when we know the right ones to make and it is my job to figure out why those decisions are being made. Once you know the emotional triggers behind your unhealthy choices, you can start working on healing those issues and before you know it making healthy choices for yourself will come easy. It’s all about learning the right healthy choices for you, figuring out the “why’s” behind your unhealthy choices, coming up with coping strategies that don’t involve food, and becoming the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy You,

Ashley