Lately I’ve noticed there’s a tug of war continually going on inside me. It’s really only been in the past few months, but it has taken me completely by surprise! Over the years, my husband and many of my friends have admired my willpower when it comes to cutting out sugar or junk….that when I’m focused and determined to eat a certain way, I have no problem turning down sweets or doing without. That’s why this is starting to become an issue for me. Let me explain….
I function best when following MY “clean eating” regimen, but I’ve come to realize that “FOOD” blogging is a lifestyle that focuses on FOOD. I love focusing on food as much as the next person…I’m a self-declared foodie… always on the lookout to discover new foods. I love learning new things and flavor combinations, and reading about food, cultures, travel and food stories. And food really isn’t the issue…I still eat good food, probably BETTER food when I’m eating CLEAN.
But I’ve recently become aware that EVERY time I turn around, there are delectable desserts being dangled in front of my face…blogs being fed to me through many online sources…stumble upon, facebook, twitter, blog subscriptions, etc. These sweets, desserts and chocolate usually wouldn’t lure me in, but if it’s a dessert I’ve never attempted to make, then I start getting the inward chant to create. The food blogger in me wants to rise to the challenge!
Some of these recipes are touted as being difficult…like the elusive French Macaron, and I am inspired to replicate them! In fact, that one is on my ever growing list. But here is where my willpower wavers. I have no issues with store bought goodies or processed foods, but if I’m making sweets then I want to sample them…not once, but over and over again. Because seriously…we all know they’re good…nothing compares to homemade desserts!
I am in AWE of all the bakers and bloggers who focus on sweets…they make/bake/create a zillion desserts it seems, and appear to have an enormous amount of self-control. I am in great AWE of you!! If I could master that, my family would be forever grateful…though possibly quite addicted to sugar.
When I’m trying to focus on my CLEAN eating, there are certain things I don’t make. Maybe after a couple months I can add something periodically, but in the beginning I must abstain….other than a bit of dark chocolate here or there. Antioxidants, you know (wink, wink)!! So just throw the clean eating out the window you say? If you love to make sweets and eat them…go for it! Well, in the ideal world I could eat like that on a regular basis without my clothes getting tight or my energy level faltering, but we all live in the REAL world. Sugar is just not our friend.
Let me share with you my definition of clean eating, and the benefits I experience when I’m focused on eating clean. I know that everyone has a different definition of CLEAN eating, and that’s okay…we’re all different.
When I eat clean, I follow these top 10 guidelines and they work for me:
1) No white flour.
2) No sugar (I don’t believe in sugar substitutes like aspartame, but do use pure maple syrup and honey sparingly).
3) Limit my carbs (which are all whole grain, no refined) to 1x a day, if that.
4) No refined carbs (which basically means no white flour/sugar)
5) Drink my green smoothies daily.
6) Up my water intake.
7) Eat more salads.
8) Concentrate on being aware of my hunger cues….when I feel satisfied, stop eating.
9) Wait for the stomach to growl…or when I am really hungry to eat. Lately people are taught to “graze” all day which means we are scared of “feeling” hungry. But nothing is wrong with the feeling of hunger. In fact, have you ever noticed that food tastes better when you’re hungry, and starts to lose that flavor punch as you fill up? We’re actually designed so that we won’t overeat!
10) Fit exercise back into my regular schedule. I feel better when I am exercising…getting fresh air and those endorphins flowing. I actually get more done when I am active. Don’t you?
The BENEFITS I receive when I follow my top 10 guidelines are:
1) I have much more energy!! I mean A LOT more!!! Which is really important when you aren’t a 20-something anymore. As a mom of 3 active girls…I NEED a lot of energy. Who doesn’t?
2) My mind is clearer. I can think straight…I seem to process things better…which means I’m calmer and more patient.
3) I feel lighter because my body is not weighed down with all the stuff it doesn’t need. Since I’m adding good fuel, it burns CLEAN. My body knows what to do with it, and is much more efficient.
4) I feel happy! There’s no doubt in my mind that I am a happier person when I am following my guidelines. I’m a positive person anyway, but my outlook is even brighter and I feel deeply satisfied. It really is soul pleasing to eat this way.
5) I get more done around my house, with my children and have an overall sense of accomplishment. I feel like I can tackle anything.
6) EASY weight loss is a benefit if that is my goal, and maintaining weight is effortless.
So what’s a food blogger to do? I don’t have the answer yet. Baby steps I guess. I’ve been back on my CLEAN eating regimen for a few weeks now, and I have lost about 5 pounds. Pretty good considering I haven’t been able to been motivated enough yet to add the exercise back in…though I sure do NEED it…it more ways than one. I like that weight loss is effortless when I follow my guidelines.
No counting calories or points. It doesn’t feel restrictive because the secret is…when you are off white flour (refined carbs like white rice, white pasta, white bread etc)…you don’t crave sugar. See where the dilemma is…I’m not craving sugar, I’m drawn to the challenge of making “said” food, but then I know when I make it I won’t have the self restraint. Make sense?
You also may like:
Can a former vegetarian embrace a low carb lifestyle?
Zesty greek salad & a low carb update
Cream cheese pancakes ~ a sweet low carb alternative!
Peach pecan pancake & a healthy living challenge!
QUESTION for other food bloggers ~ How do you handle this? Any tips or advice for me?
QUESTION for everyone ~ Do you have certain eating guidelines in place that you like to follow?
***And speaking of food bloggers, I’m deeply honored to have been nominated for Babble’s Top 100 Food Mom Blog. I would appreciate your vote!! To vote click here and scroll down to Creative Kitchen. It only takes a moment, and would mean SO much to me! Thanks for all your support!!***