The Cheeky Clean Principles
How do I eat clean? With Cheeky Clean, I’ve taken that idea of simply eating real food and added a bit more fun and kindness into it. The key principles are as follows:
- Consuming foods in their whole and freshest form. Try to eat loads of fresh vegetables as your primary goal, with a moderate intake of organic/grass-fed animal products, seeds, nuts, grains and fruit.
- Eating organic whenever possible or washing conventional fruit and vegetables well with a water and vinegar solution.
- Counting nutrients not calories. View each meal or snack for its nutritional content. While it is important to have a rough idea of portion sizes, try not to get obsessive and worry about the exact quantities.
- Eat protein at every main meal (eggs, chicken, fish, beef, nuts, seeds, beans, tempeh etc.). This is such an important macronutrient for keeping you satisfied, maintaining precious muscle mass, ensuring your digestion is working properly and improving your mood.
- Eating mindfully. This involves sitting down to enjoy a meal, taking some deep breaths before eating, chewing each mouthful properly and noticing the textures and tastes of the food.
- Enjoying any and all foods. Food is abundant and you are ‘allowed’ to have whatever you want. ‘Soul food’ is important for a healthy state of mind and not restricting anything helps to support your natural eating pattern.
- Learning to listen to your body. As you get better at this, you’ll start to crave real foods and be less fixated on those that don’t make you feel so great. You’ll notice when you’re actually hungry or when you’re just stifling a moment of boredom, sadness, stress or anxiety.
- Eating to the point of contentment, not until you’re stuffed. You don’t have to eat everything on your plate. Eating regular meals can help to prevent the state of ‘crazy hunger’ where you’ll choose a huge portion size and likely overeat. Stuffing yourself also includes filling your stomach with too much liquid. Wait 20 minutes before and after meals to drink water or tea.
- Drinking plenty of water, at least 2L daily. You’d be amazed by how many health issues disappear when you start consciously drinking more water!
- Engaging in some kind of movement daily. Exercise is still important, no matter how well you eat. For me, this revolves around interval training, running on the beach, weight training, yoga and walking.
- Getting a good night’s sleep. Make the bedroom your sanctuary, free from work and stress. Ensure it is a place where you feel comfortable and safe. Practice some stretches to wind down, meditate or have a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed.
- Allocating some time for rest and fun every day. A huge challenge for me, but it’s one of the most powerful ways you can express love for yourself.
- Avoiding chemicals in the environment, cosmetics and household cleaning products as well.
- Looking after your mental health. Expressing gratitude, using affirmations, seeing a counsellor or psychologist (get a recommendation first from someone you trust), writing in a journal, going for a walk by yourself, spending time alone in nature, practicing meditation, reading some of the books I recommend and speaking kind words to yourself are just some ways you can do this.
- Going with the flow. Plans change, life throws a curveball at you, sometimes things don’t turn out the way you wish they had. Learning to ride the waves instead of drowning under them is a great life skill to master, not to mention wonderful for your health.