This is Week 1 of the No Takeaway April challenge, moving away from purchasing any takeaway for the month and slowly incorporating healthy choices to a clean eating lifestyle. If you’d like to know how this concept came about, read my post about how much money we spent on takeaway IN ONE MONTH.
Hellooo friends! Guess what??
Today is the first post of our No Takeaway April month, which kicks off on Sunday! Woohoo! It’s time to get healthy, and stop purchasing that nasty takeaway!
If you missed the last post, explaining why you shouldn’t eat that burger and chips, you can read about here! Warning: it’s a bit of a wake-up call!
We have grown so accustomed to convenience foods, and with so many companies changing the way foods are grown, made and tasting, EVEN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, it really makes you think about what you are eating and what it is doing to your body!
And, so comes the concept of clean eating!
Clean eating stems from the concept of eating foods in their natural form.
Unprocessed, GMO-free, no additives, no bullcrap. Just 100% whole, good-for-you foods.
It probably seems really easy when you think of fruits and vegetables and meat. They can’t be that modified, they are in their natural form, I’ll just eat a ton of them!
BUT. It isn’t that simple (when it really should be!!!). We don’t really know the process that has gone behind each food product to get it onto that shelf.
Some fruits and vegetables have been genetically modified (GMO) to grow all year around, no matter the season, while others are picked before they are ready to eat, and are helped to ripen just before stocking on the shelves thanks to the help of gases! (Ref)
Yep, that last one was bananas! They are picked green and gases are used to start the yellowing process before you eat them. These gases are also why they spoil very quickly, no matter what you do to slow it down.
Last time I was clean eating, I did a little test and bought some organic bananas, interested to see if they tasted different and how long they lasted. These bananas, which were amazing by the way, ended up lasting me over two weeks! It astounded me!! But woke me up to the power of chemicals, that’s for sure!
Unfortunately, to really ‘eat healthy’, eating whole foods that are minimally processed, it means that we have to do our research for every single morsel that goes into our mouths. Don’t lose me here! It sounds stressful, but it really can be quite easy once you understand how to choose your foods, and I’m here to help you out!
Plus, you’ll thank me later when you’re feeling so much clearer and more powerful!
Clean eating has so many benefits for your body. Reducing the amount of chemicals and GMO foods you are consuming allows your body to work more effectively. That means…
- hormones are working correctly;
- your digestion is working perfect;
- your moods are regular;
- your reproduction is regular and fertile;
- your energy levels are steady;
- you have the ability to really improve your fitness because your body is running properly;
- you have the ability to improve your health and increase your life expectancy because your body is running properly!
How to Eat Clean for Your Health
Think back to our ancestors – out in the field foraging and planting. What would have been the basics that they would have found and created meals from, or ate alone?
Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts and Seeds, and of course meat.
If there is only one tip I can give you, remember your ancestors and choose from those 4 key categories of foods every time you eat.
Try to stay clear of packaged foods, especially foods that have more than 5 ingredients on their lists. If you cannot pronounce or understand the food ingredient, it is more than likely a chemical and you should stay clear.
Cook your own foods!! Buy fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their least processed form and create meals from those foods.
Here is a quick printable to help you choose what fruits and veggies are the healthiest to buy and eat regularly, and what ones you should choose to buy organic when possible! (Ref)
Clean the chemicals off your purchased produce!! Fruits and vegetables can be washed from the toxic chemicals used to grow them by mixing 4 parts water with 1 part apple cider vinegar, and soaking them for 20 minutes (this can easily be done in your kitchen sink!), although some fruits and veggies such as grapes, apples, tomatoes, spinach and kale, need 2-3 washes (Ref)
GMO foods and foods riddled with different forms of chemicals (pretty much anything in a box) can do so many hazardous things to our bodies, including the following..
Infertility, food allergies = autoimmune problems, accelerated aging, changes in insulin, changes in protein formation, changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and intestines (Ref), antibiotic resistance, endocrine system problems, cancerous tumour growth (Ref).
Ok, in normal human terms, my bad – obesity, infertility, autoimmune diseases, cancers and tumours, quicker aging of the body, increase risk of leukaemia, liver toxicity, kidney failure, gut inflammation, early death.
If you’d like to know more on how to eat healthy, I created a healthy eating series called ‘The Fundamentals of Eating Healthy’ which included a post on all things GMO and how to choose foods and eat for the best health possible.
You can read that post here, and it will definitely benefit you with your choices in regards to the NO TAKEAWAY APRIL clean eating challenge, while also grasping a base understanding as to why I chose to recipes I did for the meal plan. I strongly urge you to follow through the entire series and use all the free materials I have created along with them as well. Psst, it includes a free ebook!
So let’s get into it! This is Week 1 for April, and for this week we are concentrating on removing sugars from the foods we are consuming.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t have sugar whatsoever – I ain’t that nasty and that’s just setting ourselves up to fail (don’t forget, I’m doing this too!) but it is recommended that you substitute your sugars with clean healthy alternatives that your body can digest, because they aren’t GMO or chemical based, and your body understands their genetic makeup (as nature intended).
Sugar is not a very healthy choice – it is a form of carbohydrate, and glucose is what fuels our brains, but white sugar is not the right form to use. It is highly refined, and can have lasting negative effects on our bodies. With that in mind, sometimes a little sugar is nice, a pleasure if you will, but moderate how much you use of it, and when cooking and baking, use healthy alternatives that still provide the sweetness while also improving your health.
The best way to avoid sugars, and improve your health, is to cook your own food, and stay clear of packaged foods. Even pasta, and frozen meals have a load of sugar in them, sometimes in staggering amounts! (Ref)
Don’t be fooled by ‘natural sugars’, and ‘no added sugar’, as what is natural, can still be a large amount, and what isn’t sugar is most likely sweeteners. Advertisers love to play on words to get you to buy their product – whether it’s good for you or not, they will tell you it is. #falseadvertising.
The most popular brand of soft drink, has launched two natural sugar alternatives to their most popular drink, and I can gladly tell you that they have sweeteners in them to compensate for the normal sugar they’ve taken out. Check the labels!
Have no fear though, you can still enjoy sweet foods while being healthy. All you have to do is use natural sugar alternatives!
If you have any trouble with sugar cravings, this post may be handy for you, giving you some quick tips on how to kick those cravings to the curb! Try them out!
Natural Sugar Alternatives
Now, don’t be confused what natural really means. You need to research and do your reading on packages and recipes. Raw sugar is still sugar, and honey is natural but still a sugar.
Don’t over load yourself with sugar, even though it’s natural. But natural is definitely better than refined, and these options have nutrients in them, so they are of some benefit to your body.
The most popular natural sugar alternatives include honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, stevia/natvia (depending on the brand), xylitol and rice malt syrup.
Natvia – equivalent to white sugar.
Stevia – 1 tsp liquid/1 tbsp powder = 1 cup white sugar.
Coconut Sugar – equivalent to white sugar.
Maple syrup – 3/4 cup = 1 cup white sugar.
Honey – 3/4 cup = 1 cup white sugar.
Rice malt syrup – equivalent to white sugar.
Now you know the best alternatives to sugar, and have the substitution amounts to use for any recipes you might have at home, it’s time to jump into the recipes for Week 1!
The meal plan for the week is nutritionally adequate for women aged 19-50 years old (serving suggestions per day as to the Australian Dietary Guidelines). To adjust the nutritional requirements for men aged 19-50 years, you will need to either include or reduce the serving sizes by –
Men (aged 19-50 years) –
|Servings/day||Carbs – 0||Fruits – 0||Vegies – +1||Protein -.5||Dairy – 0|
If you’d like to also look at the servings per food group recommended for other age groups, please reference the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The guidelines also give you recommendations for serving sizes which will help you when serving up your meals.
Please also do remember that we are transitioning to clean eating, so not all options in the Week 1 meal plan are ‘clean alternatives’. If you would prefer to jump straight in, you can always research and find healthy options, and I have also included some in the No Takeaway April Pinterest Board for you such as the wraps for dinner, or healthy caesar salad dressing.
Without further ado, grab your Week 1 Meal Plan by clicking on the banner below!
You can access the recipes by jumping onto my NO TAKEAWAY APRIL Pinterest Board right here! All dinners, some breakfast meals and snacks are there for you to grab and get cooking!
I recommend you access all the recipes and pin the links directly into your own profile, or save a direct link to the No Takeaway April Pinterest Board onto your phone or computer home screen for easy findings!
If your daily routine is time specific, divide up the foods for the day into time slots that suits you. I have included a blank meal plan for you to do just this.
From this week, the only recipe that I haven’t included is the Easy Fried Rice Recipe, which is my own, and you can find it below! 🙂
Easy Fried Rice
Cooking time – 10-20 minutes
Oil of choice (I prefer Rice Bran oil)
1 cup raw brown rice (makes approximately 3 cups cooked)
4 rashers bacon, diced.
3 eggs, whisked
3 cups Mixed vegetables of choice.
Tamari sauce (naturally wheat free fermented soy sauce)
Cook brown rice as per package instructions.
Steam or boil mixed vegetables until cooked.
Add oil to a medium heat pan and fry bacon until cooked. Add in whisked eggs and scramble into chunks (as you prefer).
Add in mixed vegetables and mix until incorporating in bacon egg mixture, before adding in the rice.
Stirfry with minimal stirring for a few minutes until nice and sizzling.
Take off heat and dash through some tamari sauce, taste testing as you go until preferred taste is reached.
Time tip: If you’d prefer to speed things up fast, brown rice cooks for longer than standard white grain rice, so you can always grab some microwave brown rice sachets from the grocer and use this quick option instead!
I hope you thoroughly enjoy the recipes from this week’s meal plan! Be sure to keep track of how my No Takeaway April is going on my Instagram and join in on the conversation by jumping over to the Healthy and Golden Health Friends Facebook Group! I’d love to see you there!
For further inspiration and healthy eating advice, don’t forget to check out my Fundamentals of Healthy Eating series, with the first post all about mindset! This will keep you on track with clean eating!
Before changing any health and lifestyle habits, please consult your practitioner. This is not health advice, but merely a reference of healthy foods and what they can do for the body, but each body and it’s nutritional requirements are different.