Clean Living

cleaneatingThis is what 600 calories of clean eating looks like. Good grief, how am I ever going to eat that much???

You see, I may have made a mistake. I’ve been working on a prayer shawl for my friend, Angel. And the thing about praying for someone every day, is that they’re always on your mind.

I met Angel three years ago, when she worked as an aide in my classroom. There’s nothing to say about her except that she’s a truly amazing person. She has gone through hell and back, multiple times. And she stays strong, optimistic, and crazy energetic.

She got on a serious health kick about two months after we met. Actually, she blames me for it, believe it or not (I sure don’t – have you seen the way I can scarf down an entire loaf of sourdough bread with butter???). You see, we were in the middle of the school Halloween parade, when one of my students needed to go to the bathroom. I asked her to take him back to the school, and he took off sprinting. She couldn’t keep up with him. And it made her think: What if there were a real emergency? What if my son were hurt, and I had to get help, and I couldn’t?

She told me that she realized that day that if she wanted to be around to take care of the people she loves, she had to take care of herself. So she joined the gym, she got a personal trainer, she started eating healthy – she went from sedentary to running a half marathon in about a year. If this woman isn’t someone to look up to, I don’t know who is!

So she eats paleo. She’s convinced that gluten is the root of all nutritional evil. She’s told me about how most of the stuff it’s in is processed, and contains preservatives, so that’s no good to begin with. She talks about how it’s been genetically altered, and no longer contains the nutrients and benefits that once made it essential to our diet. She’s shown me the research indicating that it may have addictive qualities (well duh, have you seen me when I haven’t had a piece of bread/bagel/cupcake/brownie in over a day?).

I try to eat healthy, I really do. But I’ve always been unwilling to give up my bread and pasta in the past. Staunchly against it. (Geez, if that isn’t addiction, I don’t know what is.) All this praying for Angel lately has rubbed off on me though, I guess, because suddenly… I’ve found the resolve to give it a try.

I’m not going paleo, sorry. Things like wild rice and quinoa are packed with healthy nutrients and, more importantly carbs that, as a runner, I simply can’t live without. And nb4 paleo runners start posting in comments that I’m wrong – I just meant that I can’t live without them.

But I’ve decided to do a two week clean eating challenge. No gluten. No processed foods. No added preservatives. And… /grimace… I’m going to cut out most dairy, too. Simply because I’m lactose intolerant and shouldn’t be consuming it anyway. >.>

So here’s my first real meal since starting: Naked turkey burgers and spicy sweet potato wedges. And the first thing I notice right off the bat is that it’s a lot more food than I usually eat. When you cut out all the empty calories, you sure do have to fill up the plate with real calories. I’m an hour into lunch and still picking at the sweet potato wedges… but there’s no way that second burger is going into my stomach anytime soon.

How I would love to save it for dinner, wrap it in a bun, and melt some cheese on it… but I’m going to pass. Because I’m stronger than my carb addition. And because I hear that I’ve got to take care of myself if I want to be around to take care of those I love.

How to Be Awesome Tip #7: Take care of yourself.

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