It's Simple: Eat Clean


   By: Shawna Boodhoo

   2013-10-29 12:36 PM

I literally sat down to write this article with a bowl full of vegetables and a big glass of water, wondering when this healthy lifestyle I live by now originated from.  It started as a child with a mother who always made us eat healthy, limiting unhealthy snacks, which made the one Hershey kiss chocolate in our lunches everyday and chips on Friday nights that much more exciting! She exercised everyday, walking and workout videos at home, and that just became a part of our daily life growing up.  Then university life came, and I chose to eat what I wanted, blind to the fat, calories and sodium in the packaged and frozen meals.  As expected, that did my body no good.  After that I had a wedding dress to fit in and a busy career of teaching to begin.  I started to realize I needed to 'get back into shape' as everyone says. 

I considered many diet fads, the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet, the 'good carb vs. bad carb' South Beach diet, a high-protein diet, detox diets and good ol' fashioned Weight Watchers ( As I researched more, these diets will help you lose weight, but will it only be temporary?  I wanted more.  I took an intense bootcamp program where I was introduced to the Eat-clean diet.  I realized just how hard I could push my body to build strength and endurance, toning up and losing inches.  However in my studies, that's only 20% of weight control, which leaves 80% to healthy nutrition.  We were required to document everything we ate in a journal for 8 weeks, staying within our allotted calories according to our age, weight, height and daily activity level (  Basically, to eat right you need to go back to what we teach elementary children in health class, which is to follow the Canada Food Guide ( 

If you study this closely, it requires a daily intake of lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, a few low fat milk products, and some lean low-sodium meat and alternatives. Isn't this what many of the diet fads are suggesting?  This diet program is free and readily available.  We just need to be dedicated to continue it on a daily basis.  Fill your grocery cart with fresh produce (we will consider organic options in a future article).  Read the labels before taking a product off the shelf, watching for low-sodium, appropriate calorie levels and ingredients with preseratives.  Watch your portion sizes, such as baseball size fruits and vegetables, deck of cards size meat, lightbulb size grains and dairy products ( It is easy to count your calories with smart phone apps such as MyFitnessPal which counts calories in almost every food in its database, as well as considering your exercise activity that day.  "MyFitnessPal is a diet and fitness community built with one purpose in mind: providing you with the tools and support you need to achieve your weight loss goals" ( It's okay to treat yourself sometimes, go ahead.  There are so many ways to take the best care of yourself, but it all comes down to taking that first step to healthy living everyday.  You only have one body, treat it kindly. 

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