Eating your way to a healthier you

This week we have a special post by the amazing Melanie Rogers. Melanie, a San Diego native, grew up studying classical ballet. She has studied at the schools of San Fransisco Ballet, the Boston Ballet and the Joffrey ballet. Melanie’s professional career includes dancing as a soloist with the san Diego Ballet for 7 years. During this time Melanie encountered the healing and conditioning benefits of Pilates. While dancing, she completed her Master’s of Science of Oriental Medicine and has worked as an acupuncturist and herbalist in various multi-disciplinary health clinics.

In 2002 she completed her compressive Pilates training in New York, as well as received a second training from Kore Pilates in La Jolla. She was the Pilates director at Club One Fitness in Oakland, CA and has taught in private studios including Kore Pilates and Willow Pilates in New York. She is now part of the team of world-class trainers at Fitness Quest 10 in Scripps Ranch. She specializes in both private and small group training, as well as co-creator of many speciality bootcamps designed to incorporate strength training, Pilates, nutritional guidance and motivational support to get real life changing results.

Eating Your Way to a Healthier You!

Reaching personal fitness goals goes hand in hand with fueling your body properly. But we are so bombarded with many and often times contradictory food philosophy diet plans that you can go crazy trying to keep up with the latest and greatest in nutritional therapy. While these “diets” seems to fill our brains with varying degrees of confusion, there are some underlying similarities that all clean eating plans follow: the elimination of processed food and addition of whole foods. Although in further discussions I would like to discuss specifics and my own personal food philosophy that I try to adhere to, for this entry, I think it is important to first focus on the whole picture.

In the words of Michael Pollan (you MUST read his books!), I believe the greatest summary of any well-designed food plan is this:

“Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not too much.”

But Why eat clean? What is the benefit of eating clean?

Well if your diet is full of processed fast food and you feel amazing, have energy, a lean muscular body and perfect health, then kudos to you. Keep eating the crap. (Did I say that???) However, even if that were true, what is happening inside your body over the long haul may come rear its ugly head later in your life. Yup… payback’s a bitch. So, if nothing else, eat clean as your best insurance for preventative medicine.

“The Food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore

Now let’s get back to your current state of mind/body health and how eating clean can help you. Honestly, almost every disease or malady can be either enhanced or lessened by what we eat. In addition, we have personal biological needs, allergies and sensitivities that influence our health and how we should eat as well, but that is a topic to cover in a later blog.

Here are the benefits I saw when I became serious about eating clean 90% of the time. For me, that meant low-sugar fruits, lots of vegetables, meat, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and eliminating dairy and gluten (with limited or no grains).

Eating Clean gave me:

– More energy (less afternoon lows)

– Natural, healthy weight loss

– Way Fewer colds and flus

– Quicker recovery time from illness (less coughing)

– Clearer skin

– Better elimination (Your poops are important!)

– Less clearing of my throat/morning phlegm

So what are whole foods and clean eating? Are there different definitions based on different food philosophies? Absolutely. But here are the basics. You can almost guarantee a healthier lifestyle by following these simple rules.

Whole Food Eating Rules

– Whole, unprocessed foods. Foods that are found in their most natural state.

– Eat loads of vegetables and fruits, organic preferred

– Humanely raised meats like chicken, pork, beef, lamb

– Wild caught sea food

– Organic, whole, pastured raised dairy products

– Organic whole grains and legumes

– Healthy Fats (including coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil, avocado oil, grass fed butter)

– Raw (preferred) nuts and seeds

– Natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and stevia

What is off the table?

– No Processed food. Most anything bought in a box, package, bottle or bag (grains and legumes exception). This includes crackers, cookies, salad dressing, and chips…. Anything that is in a bag.

– No refined sweeteners: sugar, corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners like Splenda, sweet ‘N low, etc.

– Vegetable oils such as canola, soy, safflower, etc.

– Fried foods

– Fast foods

So where do you start? The BEST way to start is at home, with food prep. Cook up a bunch of chicken breasts, pre-roast butternut squash with spices, and have lots of veggies on hand for steaming and roasting. Make sure you fill your pantry with coconut oil, nuts for snacking, grass fed butter, and marinades and dressings that aren’t made with soy oil.

Do NOT start to stress and go overboard. It’s OK to have sushi with white rice every once in a while. You will not die from eating a slice of pizza. With that said, I definitely see negative results when I eat gluten… so for me personally I have to be strict with certain foods. If you have any specific health issues, doing research and knowing how your body reacts to various foods is extremely important and life changing. That’s another topic.

Notice I did not touch on coffee and alcohol… moderation is key and knowing how YOUR body reacts is important. Life has to fun also!

Look up recipes and grab cookbooks. Cooking these foods can be amazingly delish! I hope to share more about eating clean in the future!

Melanie Rogers

@MelbelFitness

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