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Rant With Randi: What does it mean to be ‘eating clean’?

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Eating clean — what does that even mean?

How many times have your friends told you that they are going to start a “cleanse,” and they want you to do it with them? It happens to me all the time, and I always have the same answer: “No, thanks, I’m not interested because after I finish cleansing, I’m so hungry that I eat everything in sight and end up gaining all the weight back.”

I’m not anti-cleansing; I just personally can’t exist on vegetable juice that I have to gag down in the first place to lose a few pounds. Trust me, I want to be healthy, but giving up everything I love to eat and drink just doesn’t work for me.

But lately, I can’t seem to avoid the term “eating clean.” So I did some research, and here is what I’ve learned about the “thinking” behind the “eating clean” movement:

There are “layers” of toxins surrounding us in our everyday environment. Most of us think about “toxic” in terms of eating junk food, but the ninja food gurus are referring to everything else. They discuss toxic in terms of the air we breathe, the lotion we apply to our skin, the chemicals we use to clean our homes, and finally the food we ingest.

So when “the food ninjas” talk about “clean eating,” they want you to detoxify everything from the inside out. The book I just read made so much sense that it got me thinking about all of it at a much deeper level.

With regard to the eating portion, the author wants you to “eliminate” several food groups from your diet for 21 days, so that when you start introducing these foods back into your diet, you can see what’s causing you inflammation and discomfort, if any. I decided to give it a whirl.

Basically, my diet consists of fish and chicken, fruits (no bananas) and vegetables, and almond butter. I’ve also started taking probiotics to build my immune system.

My daughter and I both just celebrated birthdays, and I ate more cake than I normally would in an entire year. I was definitely ready to “get clean.” The two hardest habits to give up are drinking coffee and wine. I’ve been a coffee drinker since I was a little girl. So for me, giving up coffee makes giving up wine feel like amateur hour. Waking up and preparing my coffee is part of my morning routine, and without it, I feel like I’m not starting out my day right.

The first week I did this program, I had so little energy that I could barely make it to my daughter’s back to school night. But the second week, with the help of liquid B-12 vitamins, I felt much better.

My husband decided to support me in this effort, and is trying to eat clean with me. He’s doing everything but giving up coffee. I’ve seen him give up eating Philly cheesesteaks, cheeseburgers, fries, pizza, steak, and a host of foods that he loves.

I don’t care what anyone tells you, eating clean is not easy. You can’t just go out and get food. You don’t want to go to your favorite restaurants (during the 21 days), because of all the temptation. And my husband needs to eat a lot. So I can’t lie — he’s been very irritable most of the time. We did “break” three nights during the 21 days and have a glass of wine, because I thought that if we didn’t, he would implode.

I have two children, and they don’t eat “clean.” One night, I started yelling at them for eating Oreos and ice cream, until I realized that I’m the one who buys the Oreos and the ice cream. This is a major mental and physical shift.

I’m almost through with the 21 days and now I think long and hard about what I eat before I put it in my mouth. This causes you to stop before you “finish off” your kid’s uneaten pizza crust, peanut butter sandwich or French fries.

Here’s to hoping that my family can continue on a road of relatively healthy eating without deprivation. This is doable — it’s just not easy.

What say you? Email me @ www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.