Well, congratulations! January is the month millions of people across the country say 'this is it, this is the year I take control of those bad habits!' I have to admit that I strayed very far from my clean eating in December 2017 - the fudge, the tuna casserole my mom made (thanks mom!) and the homemade lasagna. BUT - I let myself enjoy it; eating like that is not a habit for me and I knew come January I would turn a new leaf. Look out for lots of new recipes from me in the coming days and weeks, but first I wanted to share some tips about how to stick through clean eating, whether it is 30 days or if this is your 2018 resolution.
Do Your Research - there are so many great websites and resources out there that have a variety of recipes and tips for every diet out there. Nom Nom Paleo, Greatist, PaleoOMG, Elana's Pantry - these are some of my go-to websites and blogs for recipes that are paleo/ gluten free / Whole 30. Whether you want to try a paleo challenge, the Whole 30, gluten free, vegan, or the Mediterranean diet, set aside some time to really read about what is realistic for you to try. Here are my tips from last year for starting your first Whole 30 if this is the route you are going.
- Change Your Attitude - first and foremost, stop calling what you are doing a 'diet'!! Using this term limits your thinking, and the first step to getting clean habits to stick comes from within. 'Diet' has such a negative connotation these days, and people will automatically associate it with drinking chalky chocolate shakes and eating the world's saddest salads. How you perceive the clean eating really can make a difference, and from personal experience, has helped me stick to a clean, healthy lifestyle for about 5 years. If you think 'ugh, I am on this diet and I cannot eat anything fun' and change that thought to 'I have a chance to try something new', then you can start the shift from 'dieting' to clean living.
- Take Shortcuts - cooking for me is a hobby, but it is also a form of therapy to calm me down and allows me to clear my mind. I have accepted not everyone has that same attitude, nor does everyone live alone with their cat like me (what's up, Jazzy bear?!). If you fall in to the category of people that either 'hate cooking' or 'I do not have time to eat healthy so I am going to go grab take out', then I am happy to tell you there are shortcuts! While fresh veggies are always better, it is OKAY to buy frozen veggies. The best rule I stick to is that you have to read your labels - make sure frozen veggies do not have hidden ingredients. It is also okay to buy pre-chopped veggies (I am a lover of Trader Joes) if you do not want to do the prep work. Also, I highly recommend a slow cooker so you can do bulk cooking and are prepped for the whole week.
- Be Kind To Yourself - Is there a work happy hour you really want to go to, but are terrified you are going to make poor choices? Say you eat a salad but end up drinking a beer - it is okay! If you slip up a little bit, restart the clock but know that it is completely okay. When I am in a strict Whole 30, I do not stray at all. The remainder of the year, I am about 90% clean, and 10% I let myself stray a little. BUT if you are going to let yourself have a cheat meal, keep it to ONE MEAL, otherwise it will turn into a cheat weekend, then a cheat week, then suddenly its a month later.....I've been there, but you really have to be realistic. And don't beat yourself up if you sneak one french fry off your friend's plate.
Well that is it for me for now. This weekend I am trying brand new recipes. I am making an effort to expand my cooking knowledge this year. Also, my new years resolution is to take photography lessons, and I got a great camera and camera case for Christmas, so no more iPhone pictures! 2018 will bring a lot of change both in and out of the kitchen; Arizona has been an amazing place and it's only been about 6 months since my move out here. I hope to make it to the Grand Canyon and have plans to travel to Vancouver for a dear friend's wedding this summer. Come back this weekend for what I am making tomorrow in my slow cooker, and as always, enjoy yourself!