Learning to Eat Clean

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)

Last year, a clean eating website launched a guest interview series about learning to eat clean, and invited me to write a guest post as their third featured interview. 

I jumped at the opportunity, and chose three of their clean eating questions to answer. 

Long story short, the website cancelled the interview series before my post ever saw the light of day.    

As a result, after months of my guest post on learning to eat clean sitting on my computer, I am excited to share it now.

My Struggle

After working so hard to learn to eat clean and overhauling my nutrition, I am confident anyone can do it!

I share this guest post with all the love and support in my heart, cheering you on in your clean eating efforts!

I believe in you.

Without further ado, below are the clean eating questions asked, along with my answers.

What is harder – to start living healthy/clean, or maintaining that life?

Beginning to live a healthier and cleaner life was much harder for me than maintaining a healthy and clean life. 

Prior to living healthy and eating clean, I had been battling health challenges for over a decade, which were getting progressively worse. 

Over the years, I turned to unhealthy food and soda for comfort.  Therefore, when I finally made the decision to clean up my eating, I forced myself to face years of unhealthy habits. I forged ahead despite the difficulty.

I determined learning to eat clean to be vital to my healing.  However, I felt so physically sick that I could barely function at my lowest point, and found it difficult and lonely to learn how to cook and eat clean. 

Seeing Results

Within a few weeks of cleaning up my eating, I saw improvements in my health.  I experienced small victories. 

Within a few months, I felt like an entirely different person.  Many, if not all, of my autoimmune disease symptoms improved. 

As a bonus, I lost the extra weight I carried for years. 

Once I felt better inside and out, I found it easier to maintain my clean eating and healthy lifestyle choices. 

Anytime I felt tempted to revert to my old ways, I simply turned my thoughts to what I felt like prior to my clean eating and healthy lifestyle.  Moreover, I realized that nothing tastes as good as my newfound wellness feels.

What Helped Me

Looking back, I can identify a number of keys to my successful transition to a healthy and clean lifestyle:

  • Taking it one day at a time, and simply focusing on making healthy choices on any given day.  Then, when that day is over, I take on the next day, and so on.

  • Understanding the science behind cravings, clean eating, and healthy living.  My determination only got me so far; three weeks to be exact.  When I started to lose my resolve, I studied and read.  I learned about healing foods, why sugar is bad for the body, why it is important to eat organic when possible, and so on.  I continue to study and learn to this day.

  • Addressing any coping mechanisms related to unhealthy eating and poor lifestyle choices.  I replaced my negative coping mechanisms with positive, healthy coping mechanisms.

  • Understanding and embracing the difficulty of the transition to healthy eating and clean living.  Remembering that I am only human.  Loving and accepting myself, flaws and all is an important part of my wellness journey.

  • Remembering my why.  When my determination failed and I could not find my grit, I remembered my why – my children.  I remembered that each healthy food choice and clean lifestyle choice I make is helping me to be a healthier mom and a better example for my children.

  • Recognizing I am on a journey.  Journeys have bumps in the road.  Journeys can be exhausting. I give myself extra love and understanding on the hard days, and breathe through the difficulty.  Journeys can also be exciting and exhilarating.  I take time to celebrate each small victory each day.

After eating what foods do you feel the best?

I feel best after eating lean protein, organic vegetables, organic fruit, and healthy fats.  

I aim to eat a variety of around 8 servings of vegetables per day, 3 servings of fruit per day, and to include healthy fats with each meal.  I try to eat seasonally when possible. 

My favorite lean protein sources are pasture raised organic chicken and organic free-range turkey.

Prior to cleaning up my eating, I despised seafood.  I felt confident I would never live to see the day I would eat it, let alone cook it.  Over the last several months, I learned that taste buds change.

I now cook, eat, and enjoy seafood. 

My favorite fish are oven baked or grilled Wild Halibut seasoned with fresh herbs, and pan cooked Wild Cod seasoned with pink salt and organic garlic powder. 

In fact, I always feel great after eating wild caught fish, accompanied by vegetables, fruit, and a healthy fat. 

What was a major turning point in your health journey? Where did it lead you?

A major turning point in my health journey is when my endocrinologist diagnosed me with the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, after years of health struggles. 

The day of my diagnosis, my endocrinologist told me there was nothing I could do to help my situation. 

No miracle cure. 

No magic pill to take to make my symptoms disappear. 

No diet or lifestyle choices I could make that would alleviate my symptoms.

 

I will never forget the spark of fire I felt ignite inside of me that day, sitting in my endocrinologist’s office. 

I felt bound and determined to find some way of feeling better.

I became a warrior that day.

I decided to fight to change my life. 

Despite what my endocrinologist told me, I left his office determined to learn all I could, and to do all I could to be the healthiest version of me I could be.

I figured if I made several small healthy eating and lifestyle changes that each helped me feel 1-2% better, then when I combined them all together, hopefully I would feel 100% better. 

I gathered my courage.  I overhauled my nutrition and lifestyle choices, as well as adopted a growth mindset. 

I began my journey toward a healthier life, and started to learn to truly eat clean.

A New Hope

Today I feel like a completely different person inside and out. 

It is now second nature for me to make healthy and clean nutrition and lifestyle choices each day. 

While my Hashimoto’s disease is not in remission yet, I am feeling better than I have in several years.

Although my health is not perfect, I look at each day as a new day – filled with opportunities to learn and grow.

Making healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices day in and day out is not easy, but I am filled with an incredible sense of gratitude for what I learned, for the changes I made, and for the wellness I feel.

Other Articles You May Enjoy

My Nutrition (AIP) Journey – Q & A

My Nutrition Journey – the Beginning

10 Tips for Creating a Clean Eating Lifestyle

Cheat Days and The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)

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