In today’s America we work harder and are harder on ourselves than ever before. We all have the same 24 hours in a day no matter where you live in the world. However, for some reason, in America, we are all scrambling all day long and still feeling like we didn’t do enough. When this is our constant and we still feel like we are failing, so many things are going to get set to the side for when we “have more time, next week”. The number one thing that is going to get neglected is our health. We will make conceptions for the foods we eat and how we feel if we are trying desperately to get everything on our impossible to-do lists done. Only to lay in bed night after night wondering why we feel so horrible and how we still didn’t accomplish everything we set out to accomplish.
Part of the problem here, of course, is the impossible standards society puts on families. That idea we will have to save for another post. Today we are going to focus on how to change some of our typical habits by looking at a day in the life of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). First a little history on the S.A.D. We didn’t always used to eat like this, we used to take especially good care of the things we ingested, as the industrial revolution took over and we could potentially exchange more of our time to add more money to our bank accounts things began to change. Now we could afford to pay for other people to prepare our foods for us and we lost touch with where it all came from. These days, in a time of INSTANT gratification, our families expect convenience. If we want something, we expect that it will be here immediately or at least at our door step within two days (including Sunday). There are a lot of advantages to this system, however it has set back our health in a tremendous way. It is far more difficult now to buy, prepare and store our own foods than it is to go through a quick drive through. Just as an example: Does this look familiar?
Coffee or ‘designer’ drink with creamer, sugar, syrups etc.
Tea with milk and sugar,
Pastry (pop tart, pancake, waffle, muffin) with some syrup or spread
Bagel with cream cheese
Toast with butter and/or PB & Jelly,
cereal with milk,
oatmeal with sugar
cream of wheat.
At best, you’re rushing out the door and you grab a banana…?
Arrive at the office and inevitably someone has baked something so you grab a cookie or muffin while you pour another cup of coffee.
Before lunch you go to the restroom and notice the candy dish and take a couple ‘kisses’.
You brought your lunch so you’re having leftover pasta, or rice with chicken, or 2 slices of pizza from the take out from the night before.
Maybe you go out to lunch and get a 6’ sub with a diet soda and chips.
Perhaps it’s fast food drive-thru.
Or it’s an office meeting and lunch is brought in so you have a little salad with dressing and grilled chicken.
Running late from a meeting and grab a pizza or take out on the way home.
Throw some premade freezer option in the oven because it was easier than going out.
Dessert or after dinner snack:
Big bowl of popcorn
Scoop of ice-cream or popsicle
Leftover cupcakes from a birthday party
If this is a normal day for you, trust me when I say you are not alone! This is common in a huge majority of Americans. Like I said above, this day would be far similar than what I am about to suggest, or at least it seems that way at first.
Here are a few problems with this current program:
- This isn’t a sustainable way of living.
- Your body will not be able to live like this long term.
- Your organs will start to break down as it gets fewer and fewer nutrients
- Living in this cycle will lead to health problems down the line.
These sound scary, I am not trying to scare you into changing. The whole purpose of these blog posts is to help give you tips to change this lifestyle even if it is one simple swap at a time. It is a journey and this journey is meant for people who can see similarities in their own lives to the example given above.
When we are constantly stretching our body to the next meal or skipping meals can take a toll on your body as time goes on. We may feel better at first but we will start to break down over time. Each time you skip a meal your body will tap into hormones to keep you standing upright (again, a topic for another week). These hormones will throw your body off a normal cycle and other problems can start.
A few ways to start to understand if your current lifestyle is dragging you down, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night?
- Are you rested when you wake up from a good night’s sleep?
- Do you get tired in the middle of the afternoon or do you get another cup of coffee?
- Do you get lethargic between meals?
- Do your meals make you sleepy?
These are large warning signs that your body is trying to give you to tell you that something is wrong, something is starting to break down. This is the time to start making some changes. It is never too late to start making good changes for yourself! The most important thing you can do is start making positive health choices as soon as you can so your body can start to heal.
Let me give you a simple example of a typical day for a clean eater:
Eggs, bacon, and fruit
Egg muffins (can be prepared at the beginning of the week)
Breakfast hash: potatoes, bell pepper, onions, greens (can be prepared once a week and stored in the fridge)
Large salad with protein (prepared ahead of time in a large bowl and individual servings taken out daily)
Leftover dinner from the night before, packaged for lunch before you eat your dinner
Tuna/Chicken or vegetable salad in lettuce wraps or eaten with crackers
Best planned in advanced: any combination of Protein + Fat + Vegetable= Meal Please visit www.iamacleaneater.com for full meal plans with recipes that fit any diet and budget.
We at I am a Clean Eater, do not want to tell you what to eat we only want to help support you wherever you are on your journey. The message here is really about understanding what’s at the end of your fork and making the best and most informed decisions for you and your lifestyle!
If you would like more information please see our youtube video on this topic for further explanation: