The Simplicity of Clean Eating (5 Things I Do to Keep It Simple)

Tossed together in 5 min into slow cooker and ready to cook!

Confession: I hate cooking.

Always have.

So my clean eating plan is super simple. It’s also quick. It has to be because I work crazy hours, care for my grandson, maintain a country property (I spent many hours just clearing my driveway last week), and run a fitness business. Oh, and I blog too. I don’t have a lot of time to cook, even if I did want to. Which I don’t.

People think clean eating has to be complicated though. I hear it from my patients, coaching clients, and even in my clean eating challenges. New recipes, different items on the shopping list, and trying to eat new things can seem daunting.

Thankfully, it’s much simpler than all that.

The Simplicity of Clean Eating

Here’s how a crazy-busy woman who hates cooking gets it done:


The Slow Cooker is my Best Friend

It’s almost wrong how easy it is to toss some stuff in the slow cooker. One of my go-tos is to throw in some frozen chicken breasts, dump a can of tomatoes over them, tomato paste and pile on the salt-free seasonings. When I get home hours later, I serve it with salad for a filling, clean meal.


Eat What You Know

Clean eating doesn’t mean having to source new recipes with obscure ingredients every week. Eat what you know. If you eat chicken, beef, and fish normally, keep that up. If you normally eat brown rice, eggs, sweet potatoes… those are all fine.

Basically clean eating means avoiding processed foods. So certain breads, white enriched pastas, chicken fingers and boxed pizzas are things to avoid. Replace them with whole grains, vegetables, and clean proteins.

Wondering what to make?  I am planning to add recipes to this blog – simple ones. Click here if you’d like me to zip them to your inbox. In the meantime, check out my 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge that runs monthly HERE.


Stock up on Staples (And I don’t mean office supplies)

If I have a few specific things on hand, I can toss together a day of clean eating in under five minutes. This is a big help for making lunch for work, especially on those days when I haven’t had time for much food prep.

Some of the things I make sure to have on hand are 0% plain Greek yogurt, raw unsalted nuts, cottage cheese, fruit and veggies, bags of mixed salad. These are grab-and-go items. I also keep on hand some basic food items like chicken breasts, canned tomatoes and eggs. I can grab any of these items – or even leftovers from my slow cooker supper – toss them in my lunch, and I’m good for the day.


A Little Pre-Made Goes a Long Way

Sometimes I’ll pre-cook a pot of quinoa or rice to last the week. It’s a great grab-and-go accompaniment to slow cooker meals. My lunches sometimes include a boiled egg or two, so boiling them ahead of time helps me pack with speed in the mornings.

I’ll also pre-cut veggies, maybe even pre-bagging them for lunches. I’ll also buy a variety of raw unsalted nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, cashews – and mix them together. Then I put them in little baggies and I’m set up for the week for grab-and-go lunch items.


Plan For Success

When I have a day off – and they can be hard to come by at times – I’ll take the opportunity to plan protein source meals for until my next day off. I’ve never been one to plan weeks ahead. One week is plenty for me.

I’ll make the very basic plan, make sure I have ingredients, and add to the shopping list. The plan will inevitably include fast and easy things I can toss in the slow cooker or make into goulash. Because that’s how I roll.


Clean eating really is simple. I suppose it could be more complicated if you wanted it to be. If you love cooking perhaps, or are a foodie who adores trying new recipes, go for it! No one’s stopping you from making Pork and Spinach Stuffed Kabocha Squash or Bacon and Guacamolie Sammies.

If you’re a beginner or, like me, a straight forward keep-it-simple kind of eater, clean eats can be very simple.

For more tips, ideas, recipes and motivation, check out my Clean Eating Community Facebook group or just say the word and I’ll inbox you upcoming posts with tips and recipes for your clean eating journey.


My Patient’s Emotional Pain Nudged Me to Heal From My Own

Emotional eating can feel like the answer
Emotional eating can feel like the answer

I caught myself doing it again.

There I was in front of the opened fridge, searching for peace.

It had been the kind of long, frustrating day no commute could erase. Maybe it was the two patients I’d seen whose troubling stories broke my heart. Maybe their struggles with depression and emotional trauma had hit a little too close to home. Now, an unstoppable string of painful memories threaded its way through my mind.

“I thought I dealt with this already. Why am I rehashing this again?” I sighed and closed the fridge.

Nothing in there would fix this ache in my heart. And it certainly wouldn’t stop the rerun of disturbing images through my mind. I’d have to deal another way. Without snapping at people. Without rolling my eyes and sighing at them. Without withdrawing or stuffing my face.

It’s crazy, isn’t it, how things that happened decades ago can trigger negative behavior in the present. Even stuff we’ve dealt with. Forgiven. Accepted and learned from. Or thought we had.

Many coaches say that forgiveness (and, I’d add, dealing with trauma) is like peeling an onion: it has a lot of layers, and each one makes you cry. I’ve certainly found this to be true as I worked through each painful layer of my past.

The weird thing was that I couldn’t force it. I couldn’t hurry up and heal, or race to the next level. Each layer of healing seemed to come when I was ready, and it would always surprise me when it came.

Like this week. I never saw it coming. But suddenly something like a patient’s suffering can stir up a mess of memories I didn’t realize I still needed healing from.

When that happens, my behavior can get weird. I can suddenly find myself in the fridge, or any other number of bad habits I once had, to help me deal with the pain. Overeating (some kind of carb with peanut butter and jam), staring at TV, grumping at my family, and ignoring my friends.

Has that ever happened to you? Has something triggered old painful memories and sent you headlong back into rotten old habits you thought you’d kicked?

It’s not a bad thing.

I mean, we definitely need to find a way to avoid those negative behaviours. But here’s the thing. Once we become aware of what is triggering our behaviour – once we realize the connection between our past experiences and our current behaviour – we can short-circuit the effects of those old wounds.

We don’t have to continue to be hurt by our past.
We don’t have to let past pain hurt our present.

Practically, what this looks like for me (once I recognize what’s triggering my behaviour) is to close that fridge door and walk in the opposite direction of that loaf of bread. I’ll try to find a quiet place to sit down and let the memories come. I will, once again, (again!!) decide to forgive and let it go, just as I had before. Then I’ll fix my mind back on the present – on my current goals – and choose a behaviour that fits with that.

Instead of going to the fridge to feed my feelings, I resolutely choose to engage with my daughter and grandson. We’ll play a game, talk, go outside for a walk, read a book or sit and play with toys – whatever it takes to engage in healthy activities.

We can break free from our past, from hurt. 
But it takes some self-awareness and the willingness to choose a new path, one scary, difficult layer at a time.

How to you shake free from past hurts when they come knocking?

Please comment on this post.  I would love to hear your ideas!
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