Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tosca Reno .. my hero!

Has anybody ever heard of Clean Eating? If you haven't, you probably will soon. Clean Eating is a whole-food lifestyle that's sweeping across America and Canada and is led by my hero, Tosca Reno.

Before the age of 40 Tosca was like most of us - a mother of 3, overweight, stressed out, tired all the time. By eating nutritionally-centered, minimally-processed food and working out with weights she transformed herself into this power-house known as "The Eat-Clean Diet Lady". She's now over 50 and looks better than anyone I know!

But what makes her my hero is that she is fighting the obesity epidemic through education, and particularly speaking out on childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Healthy kids come from healthy parents!!! Plus, she doesn't just talk the talk, she walks the walk. She's in the gym every day, she eats clean without exception - even while travelling in France (!!), she is on radio and television shows all the time, spreading the word.

Now, I'm no angel, and I'm not ever going to look like Tosca Reno because, let's face it, if it was easy we would all look like that. But I've been slowly introducing clean eating principles into my life over the last 3 years and WOW! I can honestly say that it's getting to the point where few things taste as good as clean eating feels. On the days where I eat clean I am more awake, have more energy, my skin looks better, my body works better. After a couple of days of going back to bad habits I find myself sleeping in later, my skin gets shallow and blotchy, I don't have enough energy to go for my runs. It's slowly getting to the point where it's becoming not worth it to sit down with a bag of chocolate trail mix, or crackers or chips. Not that I can ever see myself giving up eating the good stuff. When it comes right down to it I over-eat because it causes a chemical reaction in my body and calms me down. If I'm stressed or anxious eating is as effective as taking a Valium or a shot of whiskey, it chills me out. And if I've gotten to that point, calming myself down is way more important to me than any repercussions that might ensue.

Let's face it, when you're a mom you don't usually have the luxury of giving yourself a 'time out'. "Excuse me, kids. You keep pulling each other's hair out and beating each other black and blue; mommy's just going to go out for a run then take a bath. What? What do you mean you can't stay home by yourselves? Isn't 7 and 2 old enough? Yeesh!"

My point is, by eating clean when I can and forgiving myself when I can't I believe I'm a much healthier person. And that, ultimately, led me to starting this Blog. Nobody's perfect, goodness knows some nights I only have time to throw a frozen pizza in the oven, but if 4 nights out of 5 you're making a home-cooked, wholesome dinner (instead of the other way around), you and your family will be healthier for it.

It takes some planning though! Every Friday I make up my menu for the next 7 days. Then I take that menu and I write up my grocery list. If I can do the grocery shopping on the way home from work without the kids then my week-end is off to a good start. And then, that menu gets stuck on my white board in the kitchen. That way, when I get home and I'm 'too tired' to think of something healthy to eat - I don't have to think - I just read the menu and it tells me what to make!

The Principles of Clean Eating:
1. Eat a mini-meal every 2-3 hours to keep your blood-sugar levels even.
2. Combine protein and complex carbs at every meal (carbs should come from fruits, vegetables and whole grains)
3. Avoid all over-processed and refined foods (e.g. all the 'whites' - white flour, white bread, white pasta, white sugar (aka "the white poison").
4. Avoid saturated and trans-fats, eat enough 'healthy' fat.
5. Eat proper portion sizes.
5. Drink at least 8 cups of water a day.

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