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The Party in My Plants Podcast

How to Eat Clean! with the Clean Eating Queen:Terry Walters | December 01, 2016

Terry Walters was one of the earliest “clean eaters.” Her first book, “Clean Food” came out way before “clean” related to food in any way other than sanitary! But “clean eating” has since turned into a vague, trendy, catch-all phrase, right? Not anymore.

In this episode, we lay down the law about what clean eating REALLY is (and really isn’t), so you don’t have to keep hearing stuff from the organic grapevine. Oh, and spoiler alert: clean eating is pretty much the same as plant-partying!   Get excited to learn: What eating clean REALLY means to Terry (and how, like in the game of telephone, “clean eating” can be misinterpreted). The difference between being rigid with your healthy diet vs. having a tight grip on it. Why you need fermented foods in your life, like YESTERDAY! How pizza and hot sauce can actually be part of your “clean” diet. Why eating in season is a serious no-brainer. And so much more!

To listen to this podcast click here.

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marthastewart.com | Spring Clean for Cleaner Eating | EAT CLEAN LIVE WELL

marthastewart.com | Spring Clean for Cleaner Eating

Cleaner Kitchen, Healthier You

When your pantry is packed with processed junk and your crisper is a no-man’s land, making healthy food choices just doesn’t come, well, naturally. Terry Walters, author of “Clean Food” and “Clean Start,” believes that building a healthier lifestyle starts with putting a few organizational systems in place.

“I really am the queen of clean and ‘clean,’” she says. “People look at my pantry and say, ‘Where’s your food?’” Make no mistake, Terry and her family eat plentifully and well; her minimalist approach to food storage streamlines everything from shopping to cooking. Read on for her tips for maintaining a nourishing, no-mess kitchen.

Go for Glass

Toss: Cardboard boxes, cellophane bags, any and all things plastic

Try: An all-glass solution. “Buy pantry essentials like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and whole grains at your grocery store’s bulk bins, which allow you to purchase dry goods by weight in your desired quantity,” clarifies Terry. “Store them in mason jars. Using glass makes it easy to see what you have, which is handy when making a grocery list or throwing together dinner. To avoid discoloration and loss of nutrients, be sure to store them out of direct sunlight.”

 

Play Spice Roulette

 

Toss: Stale spices in haphazard containers

Try: “Quality seasoning is an easy way to add flavor and nutrients to your food,” Terry says. “I pour all my spices into uniform jars, and I replace them once a year. If you pay attention, you’ll notice they lose potency as they age, which reduces both taste and nutritional value.”

 

Get Drawer-ganized

 

Toss: Commercial “nutrition” bars (and other scary packaged snacks)Try: One drawer of healthy options. “Keep it stocked so that you can still eat well if you’re strapped for time,” Terry says. “In a perfect world we’d all make our own snacks, but I know that’s not always possible, so look for products with ingredients you can recognize and labels like ‘raw’ or ‘sprouted.’”

 

Green the Gaps

 

Toss: Soda cans, juice boxes

Try: A blended superfood snack. “I keep a green powder supplement on hand, and I throw it into smoothies for a quick nutrient punch between meals,” Terry says. “We don’t eat perfectly all the time –- who does? -– so this is a great way to fill in any nutritional gaps.”

 

Pick and Eat

Toss: Wan, waxy, out-of-season fruits and vegetables

Try: Locally grown grub. “Local produce not only tastes fresher, but it also lasts longer because it isn’t spending days or weeks in transit,” Terry explains. The fridge is another place to ditch the plastic: “Fruits and vegetables emit gas as they ripen, so storing them in mesh produce bags allows them to breathe,” she says. “Plastic leaches nutrients from living organisms like miso as well, so always transfer those products to glass containers once you’ve brought them home.”

Deconstruct Dinnertime

Toss: Canned soups, frozen dinners

Try: Make-ahead meals. “I rarely prepare an entire meal in one go,” Terry says. “Instead, I do what I call ‘upcycling’: I see what I have, and I think about what I can add to it. Maybe a grain I cooked on Sunday can be topped with protein and veggies, or some stock hanging out in the freezer can be turned into a soup. Double batches and piecemeal preparation are huge time-savers that require minimal extra effort.”

Stack and Store

Once you make a wholesome, home-cooked meal, ensure leftovers stay fresh by freezing anything that won’t be consumed in a few days. Terry recommends using glass containers with plastic lids. “They stack neatly, and you can see exactly what’s in them,” she says. “You can use the same containers for sensitive dry goods like chickpea and almond meal, which keep best in the freezer once opened.”

Terry is also a huge proponent of leftovers as lunch, reducing both processed food and unnecessary waste from packaging. “I send my kids to school with glass containers and sandwiches wrapped in parchment, and their friends think they eat gourmet meals,” she shares.

Do More with Less

 

Toss: One-trick gadgets and gizmos

Try: A handful of quality tools. “All any chef needs is a sharp knife, a wooden spoon, a large wooden cutting board, a cast-iron skillet, a Dutch oven, a glass casserole dish, and a blender or hand emulsifier,” declares Terry. “Less clutter means more creativity, and good basics will last forever.”

 

Know Your Building Blocks

If you find grocery shopping an exercise in frustration and overspending, Terry recommends taking a more minimalist approach. “There are certain things I always have on hand: dried beans, canned beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds,” she says. “I buy whatever produce looks fresh and delicious, and then I fill in any gaps as needed.” That means replenishing dry goods that are running low and, yes, buying the occasional special treat.

A different approach to shopping means a different approach to cooking. “I’m not a big menu planner,” she admits. “It’s not, ‘What do I want to make?’ but rather, ‘What can I make with what I have?’ I try to clear us out on a weekly basis so things don’t sit around unused.” Terry finds this tactic to be an excellent rut-buster. “It keeps me trying new things and thinking on my feet.”

Add as You Delete

While spring cleaning your diet is a wonderful intention, Terry insists that it’s only a starting point. “Make gradual swaps as you’re able,” she says. “Allow everything to transition: your taste buds, your digestion, your budget, your habits, your lifestyle.”

Terry suggests trying one new food each week. “Pick up an unfamiliar grain or an interesting piece of produce. Learn what to do with it and how to store it,” she says. “If you like it, buy a whole mason jar’s worth. In a year, you’ll have tried 52 new foods. Add variety and excitement to your table — don’t just take things away.”

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EverUp.com | The Only Nutrition Advice You’ll Ever Need | EAT CLEAN LIVE WELL

Josie Rubio | EverUp.com | March 28, 2016

Read more from our #WHOLEFOODS primer here.

What should I eat? It’s a simple question that yields surprisingly complex—and often conflicting—answers.

Both vegans and diehard paleo dieters, for instance, continue to wage their turf war, claiming their meals mimic those of our ancestors and are the way humans are “supposed” to eat. Every day, it seems, we hear about this or that new superfood, or new approach to nourishment, by yet another new wellness expert.

“Raw food is best! No, cooked food releases more nutrients!”

“Eat whole grains for fiber. No, don’t, you’ll get grain brain!”

It’s a wonder any thinking functioning health conscious human manages to sit down for a meal.

But eating doesn’t have to be that complicated. However you choose to fill your plate, there is one simple truth that all nutritionists and health experts will agree on, and that is: Eat Clean.

Clean eating isn’t a trend. It’s a simple concept based on choosing whole foods over processed foods, and observing how those foods make you feel and function so you can make the best choices for your body’s unique needs. “Clean food is minimally processed for maximum nutrition,” said Terry Walters, author of Clean Food, Clean Start and Eat Clean Live Well. “The processing of food can destroy essential vitamins and minerals.” When David Katz, MD, MPH, and Stephanie Meller of Yale University School of Public Health attempted to answer the question, “Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?” here’s how they replied: “a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants.” Essentially a paraphrasing of The Omnivore’s Dilemma author Michael Pollan’s famous quote: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

It’s simple. “There are foods we all need more of, no matter what else is on your plate,” said Walters: “Whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruit.”

Technically speaking, even food that has been cooked can be considered processed. But when foods are engineered for longer shelf lives, they often are loaded with artificial preservatives and flavors and lose nutritional value. Energy level, appetite, strength, endurance and mood all rely on getting enough essential nutrients, said Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD, coach and nutrition educator at Precision Nutrition. “When you’re lacking in key nutrients, your physiology doesn’t work properly. When your body doesn’t work as it should, you feel rotten.”

That’s why it’s important to eat nutrient-dense, unprocessed whole foods—to fuel your body with what it needs to “thrive,” said St. Pierre. When you nourish your body you feel vibrant and full of energy—and good, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.

Here are a few clean-eating principles.

Consider How Food Makes You Feel

“By learning how to listen to our own bodies, we have better long-term success in healthy eating,” explained St. Pierre. What he’s saying: There is no one size fits all diet. In Clean Food, Walters recommends keeping a food journal that logs daily activities, food intake and time of day, as well as your emotional and physical feelings (i.e., tired, cranky, bloated, focused). “When we embrace a specific diet or label, we look to the diet to make choices for us and ignore our bodies’ unique needs and responses to our nutritional and lifestyle choices,” she said. So for instance, maybe you enthusiastically take up the paleo diet but find you’re dragging by the end of the day, with way less energy, when you eliminate legumes and grains from your diet (even if you’re not training for a marathon). Or perhaps citrus fruits and tomatoes, which are wholesome, healthy foods, stir up your acid reflux. Or a piece of antioxident rich dark chocolate sends you into a sugar crashing tailspin at the end of the day.

As patterns reveal themselves, you’ll recognize the foods that make you feel your best—and those that don’t. Even within clean eating parameters, this can vary from person to person, depending on our individual food sensitivities, body types and needs.

Not only that, nutritional requirements can vary by decade. Both men and women in their 30s, for instance, need to bump up their intake of magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. Two foods rich in magnesium are beans and grains, which would be “banned” if you adhered to a strict paleo diet. 

Focus On Whole Foods

“Real, whole and minimally processed foods are loaded with high-quality protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that provide your body with the raw materials needed to optimize your health, performance and body composition,” said St. Pierre. Whole foods include nutrient-dense fresh produce, lean proteins and whole grains. Lean proteins, which help build muscle and make you feel less hungry, include grass-fed beef, fish (also high in omega-3s), beans and tofu. Whole grains are high in fiber and include everything from oats and brown rice to amaranth and quinoa.

“Fill your refrigerator and pantry with clean food choices” and leave the sugary, salty, fatty snacks behind, Walters said. “Make the hard choices just once at the grocery store, and not every time you open your cupboard.”

Enjoy Your Meals

Equally as important as what you eat is enjoying your meals. Throughout history, food and its harvest was something to celebrate and bond over; the dinner table a place to share communal wisdom, and refuel our bodies in kinship with others.

If you’re mournfully munching on a bowl of greens every day to achieve a perfect nutrient balance, then you’re missing the point. No one wants to—or should—stick with a misery-inducing meal plan. Meals should be pleasurable. Eat what you like. There are so many delicious, and nutritious meals to make, but at the very least “make incremental and steady improvements to your intake, slowly replacing processed foods with less processed versions,” said St. Pierre. “Try something, assess its results, and then make small adjustments as you see fit.”

If you currently eat a lot of crap, Walters suggests that rather than going cold turkey, trying one new clean food per week. “Even if you only like half of the foods you try, at the end of the year you’ll have 26 new clean foods in your diet,” she points out.

Not to mention that these days tasty and healthful options are everywhere. Farm to table restaurants are thriving, and wellness-oriented websites feature hundreds of delicious, nutritious recipes to make at home. “Clean foods are made from the freshest seasonal ingredients combined in recipes that feature a rainbow of color, and a variety of tastes and textures so as to bring out the best qualities of each ingredient and yield dishes that are delicious and satisfying,” said Walters. She should know. Her recipes include dark chocolate and blood orange truffles, pesto pasta salad, Thai curry and roasted pumpkin fennel soup, as well as a lemony artichoke dip that, she said, is always a hit at parties.

Clean eating is about making the best choices for you to feel good overall—it’s not about feeing bad when you indulge in an ice-cream sundae, or devour a plate of wings at happy hour, or don’t eat clean 100 percent of the time. Remember, Walters said, eating clean will look different for everyone. For one person, it could mean eliminating processed foods altogether, while someone else might employ the “80/20” rule (that is, eating well 80 percent of the time and during the other 20 percent, anything goes).

“It’s not about deprivation, rigid guidelines or harmful self-judgment,” Walters said. “Eating clean is about filling your life with foods that heal and nourish for sustainable health, and doing the best you can—one healthy choice at a time.”

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