How I Cleared My Adult Acne Without Prescription Drugs

June 2016 vs September 2017. I'm more tan on the right because I'd just returned from Burning Man. Neither photo has a filter or any photo editing applied.

June 2016 vs September 2017. I'm more tan on the right because I'd just returned from Burning Man. Neither photo has a filter or any photo editing applied.

 

Okay, the title of this article should really be “How WE Cleared My Adult Acne” because it was a huge team effort with skinSALVATION, my naturopath, and me.

I’m sharing my story with hopes that it will help others who have also suffered with adult acne for years. The latest stats I’ve read say that around 50% of adults suffer from at least mild acne, so if you think this article is helpful, please share it widely.

 

Why I Had Acne in the First Place

To understand how my acne got so bad in the first place, we need to go all the way back to my college years.

I started college in the year 2000. Back then, student clinics were handing out birth control pills like candy. Every girl I knew was on the pill. I got the pill because I heard it might clear up my skin and make my boobs bigger. What 18 year-old wouldn’t sign up for that?

The pill did, in fact, make my skin clearer. Boobs were unchanged. I was on and off the pill throughout most of my twenties, usually going off it when I was irresponsible and let my prescription lapse or was too lazy to bother getting a new prescription and wasn’t dating anyone at the time.

The biggest problem with the pill was that every time I went off it, my acne came back and seemed to get worse each time. So I felt like I needed to keep taking it.

At one point, my acne got so bad that I was put on the pill, spironolactone, AND antibiotics. This triple combo did clear me up.

Then one day when I was about 29 I was writing an email at work and all of a sudden couldn’t read the letters on the screen. I could tell there were letters there, but I couldn’t make them out. It was like I was staring through kaleidoscope glasses. I looked around and could kind of see things around me, but everything was super blurry and there were patches in my field of vision that were just black. I thought I was going blind. I was scared shitless.

I immediately left work and went to a doctor and found out that I was experiencing an ocular migraine. A neurologist told me that this migraine was caused by the pill and that I should never have been given the pill in the first place because people who get motion sick easily are at high risk of stroke when they take the pill. He told me that he’s seen women very young come in with stroke from the pill. Did any doctor in the history of my nearly decade of getting the pill ever ask me about my motion sickness? No. But this is an entirely different topic that deserves its own separate blog post.

Back to my acne. Without the pill that I could no longer take due to risk of stroke, I started breaking out again, despite being on spironolactone.

It was so bad at this point that even a few months on antibiotics couldn’t improve it. And I couldn’t stay on antibiotics for long because who knew what health problems it would cause by killing both the good and bad bacteria in my body.

 

How Holistic Treatment Finally Cured Me

At this point, I was over “conventional medicine.” Because it felt like these treatments were only making my acne and general health worse while making me more dependent on the drugs. And nothing was being done to figure out why I was getting acne in the first place.

And by now I had already been eating clean (cutting out gluten, sugar, soy, dairy, and processed food) consistently for years and couldn’t understand why I still had acne despite otherwise being really healthy.

This was when I decided to see a naturopath and go to skinSALVATION.

What followed was a roughly one-year journey to clear skin that required a ton of lifestyle changes.

These were the most important lifestyle changes that finally cured my acne:

1 – I replaced all my skincare products with acne-safe products

The team at skinSALVATION had me bring in all the products that come in contact with my face, including my cleanser, lotion, sunblock, makeup, shampoo, toothpaste, lipsticks, chapsticks, and conditioner. They looked up the ingredients for each and recommended I throw out any items that included at least one comedogenic (ie acne-causing) ingredient. Basically I had to throw everything away. And it was all super premium and mostly organic stuff. I won’t list the brands here because I don’t want to talk shit, but you’d be amazed how many comedogenic ingredients are used in even the most luxurious wellness brands.

I then replaced all of these products with acne-safe products, some from skinSALVATION’s own line and some from other brands that they offer in their store. The skinSALVATION estheticians that I met with monthly changed my regimen regularly based on what my skin needed at the time, sometimes rotating in more moisturizing creams when my skin was dryer or more brightening serums when I had hyper-pigmentation that I wanted to fade.

Key learning #1: just because something is okay for the general population doesn’t mean it’s okay for those who are acne-prone. Acne-prone people like me have to avoid comedogenic ingredients that cause acne. These ingredients are listed on the skinSALVATION website.

Key Learning #2: your skincare routine is like your diet -- it should constantly adjust in response to what your body needs at the time. Don’t just blindly follow what worked for someone else at one point in their life. Observe and listen to your own body and adjust as you go.

 

2 – I make sure my pillowcases are acne-safe

Think about how many hours a day your face touches your pillowcase. Now think about how often you clean your pillowcase. That naaaaasty, right?

As advised by skinSALVATION, I started replacing my pillowcase at least once a week and switched to an acne-safe laundry detergent. To make this easier on me since I’m too busy to do laundry each week, I bought 12 pillowcases from Amazon that I rotate through.

Key Learning #3: be aware of everything that touches your face and make sure it’s all acne-safe --  your pillowcases, your hands, your makeup, your skincare products, your eye mask, etc.


3 – I cut dairy out COMPLETELY

When I first started seeing Kim at skinSALVATION she asked me how often I ate gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar. I told her I almost never ate gluten, soy, or refined sugar but would eat dairy about twice a month when it was on pizza, which is my favorite food. She advised me to cut dairy out completely for at least 3 months to see what would happen with my acne because she said that dairy is one of the biggest acne triggers with her clients. Telling me not to eat pizza was like telling me not to breathe. But fortunately my vanity won out, so I listened to her.

Also, why did I have to cut dairy out for at least 3 months? Why not a few weeks? Because as I learned from Kim, acne seeds form beneath the skin after you eat something that creates them, and these acne seeds don’t create pimples visible to your eye until about a month later. This is why people have a hard time figuring out which foods give them acne. They think that if they see a pimple it was from something they ate the day before. This isn’t actually the case.

Key Learning #4: when a food gives you acne, eating even tiny amounts of it may still cause massive breakouts. You never know how sensitive your body truly is to something until you cut it out completely to give your body the chance to heal.

Key Learning #5: because acne seeds take so long to become pimples, you have to cut acne-triggering foods out for a few months to really see the benefit of the diet change.

 

4 – I started taking large doses of fish oil and flaxseed

As advised by my naturopath, I began taking large doses daily of flaxseed and fish oil. Large meaning like 4x what’s on the labels. Why flaxseed and fish oil? Because these supplements help reduce inflammation in the body, and inflammation can cause acne.

Key Learning #6: a lot of people write off supplements as “not working” for them when they’re really not taking the right dose. If your health is compromised, you may need to take a lot more than what’s on the label. Do so under the guidance of a doctor please.

 

5 – I started wearing less makeup

This was hard. When you have acne, all you want to do is cake on makeup and concealer to cover it up, but all this does is make your acne worse. Even if you use acne-safe makeup products, it’s nice to let your skin breathe.

Now that my skin is clear, I don’t currently use foundation or concealer, just La Bella Donna Powder Sunscreen because it doesn’t clog my pores, it evens out my skin tone just a touch, and it also serves as a sunblock.

Key learning #7: push yourself to think long-term. Trust the process and know that in a few months when you’re clear you won’t need any makeup at all.

 

6 – I started consuming bone broth daily

Bone broth is rich in collagen, which makes your skin look young and supple. I’m a huge fan of collagen, and it’s hard to get enough of it. This is why we add collagen to a bunch of our Methodology products.

And as I mentioned above, proper dosing with any healing food or supplement is important in getting the desired effect. When I started drinking at least 2 cups of bone broth daily (or having a soup with bone broth, such as pho) consistently for 3 weeks, I finally started noticing the health benefits of collagen: (1) my acne scars started fading a lot more quickly and (2) it gets rid of the eczema that I sometimes get on my elbows when I eat wheat, corn, or soy at restaurants (I eat Methodology 80% of the time and eat out 20% of the time ).

Pro tip: sometimes I get bored of drinking bone broth so I cook my rice in it. It makes my rice taste insanely delicious, and I kill two birds with one stone. This is also a great way to get kids to consume bone broth because what kid doesn’t love rice?!

Key Learning #8: clear skin isn’t just about what you shouldn’t eat but also about what you should be eating more of. Eating bone broth and collagen is a powerful way to give yourself youthful, glowing skin.

 

7 – I stopped picking my face

This was the hardest one for me to do out of everything on this list. Honestly it took me a year to break my habit of pimple popping. What finally got me to stop? I had to stop looking at my face in the mirror every time I went to the bathroom. So when I wash my hands, I force myself to ONLY look down at my hands and not look up in the mirror.

Another thing that makes it easier to resist popping pimples is setting up appointments for a doctor or esthetician to do it for you. This way you only have to hold out until your next appointment. An esthetician or doctor is more likely to do an extraction properly and make sure that your pimple doesn’t become inflamed and turn into a huge cyst the size of a marble that squats on your face for a month. And when acne is extracted properly, it’s also less likely to scar.

Key Learning #9: the less you touch your face at all, including popping pimples, the clearer your skin will be. And weirdly, the less you pay attention to and obsess over your face, the easier it is to not touch it.

 

8 – I was patient af

What I just described to you was a 1-year journey. That doesn’t mean it’ll take you a year to clear your acne. It could be a lot faster for you. Or a lot slower.

Don’t be discouraged if it takes a year or more. Your body needs time to heal from all the shit you put it through that made it break out in the first place. You probably did years of damage that created your acne, so you can’t expect your body to recover overnight.

Plus, stress itself causes acne. So just trust the process and take constant progress photos to motivate yourself so you know that even though improvements may be slow, they’re still happening.

Key Learning #10: take progress photos of your skin every month. It can be hard to notice subtle improvements in your face, especially if you’re someone who scrutinizes it in the mirror every day. When you see how much your skin changes from month 1 to month 3 you’ll be motivated to keep going even if you aren’t totally clear yet.

 

Wishing you a lifetime of clear skin

I hope this story has inspired you to take your health into your own hands and do anything and everything you can to clear your acne.

Because I am living proof that acne is curable!!! Without antibiotics, the pill, spironolactone, or any other prescription drugs.

All it took was a holistic approach to healing, disciplined clean living, and tons of patience.

Curing acne is about so much more than which acne creams you put on your skin. You really have to heal your entire body from within by paying attention to your diet, environment, stress, and more. Because your skin is a reflection of what’s happening on the inside.

Sending you positive energy with hopes that very soon you’ll glow from the inside out.

 

 

 

 

The most delicious oysters in the west

Image: @hogislandoysterco on Instagram

Image: @hogislandoysterco on Instagram

To help you live a joyful life filled with fun dinner outings, we’ve started researching local restaurants to find some options that are delicious and use sustainable, whole foods. Because socializing with loved ones feeds our souls.

First up is Hog Island Oyster Co. This seafood house is famous for the oysters and clams they sustainably raise and harvest in Northern California. Their shellfish is so good that it’s used in some of the top-rated restaurants across the Bay Area in addition to their own restaurants along the Embarcadero and in Marin.

On top of that, the rest of their sustainable seafood and shellfish comes from other farms, local distributors (like TwoXSea and Water2Table), and sometimes straight from local fishermen, earning them a listing as a restaurant partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

While most of their menu is seafood, they also serve other comfort classics if you’re in the mood for a treat, like baby back ribs using pasture-raised pork and grilled cheese made with the famous organic cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. YUM!

A few Yelp reviewers have mentioned that a visit here is worth the wait you might encounter, and we agree. With a seasonal menu and an awesome view of the bay from their location in the Ferry Building, you really can’t go wrong here. They’re open daily for lunch and dinner (and of course, happy hour). Bon appetit!

Why you need self-compassion

If you ever heard someone say the following out loud to someone else, they'd be considered a huge jerk, right?

"You're an idiot."
"I can't believe you messed up again."
"You've gotten fat."
"Why are you so lazy?"

But how often do you say things like that... to yourself? 

If that is something you do, why do you talk like that to yourself? Maybe you’re scared that if you don’t, you’ll never live up to your full potential. Or maybe you think you deserve it.

Is that really true? And what would life be like if you were as compassionate to yourself as you are to people you care about?

What self-criticism really does to you

At first glance, self-criticism might seem to work really well in the short-term. When you make a mistake and you punish yourself for it, your disappointment prevents you from making that mistake again. Success.

But what if you’re in the middle of a big presentation and you make a mistake? Self-criticism keeps your attention on the mistake as you’re trying to move forward. When your focus splits like this, the more likely it’ll be you’ll make another mistake, which splits your focus even further. It’s a downward spiral that’s difficult to escape. And it can happen in any area of your life, not just work. Imagine this happening on a first date or in the middle of your workout class.

Even worse, it’s not just limited to one area of your life, even if it starts out that way. The more you tell yourself you aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough, talented enough, good enough, etc., the more that gets ground into your subconscious. 

Your subconscious mind is responsible for up to 95% of what the brain processes, including making sure your actions are consistent with your thoughts. So by telling your subconscious mind you aren’t good enough too many times, you start to act that way as well in all areas of your life

So what’s the alternative? 

What is self-compassion?

Self-compassion is the practice of seeing yourself the same way you see your friends and family: as a person who deserves empathy, love, and care despite your flaws and mistakes. 

In other words, stop judging yourself so much!

It sounds so simple, but it’s hard for us to overcome the fears that keep us tethered to self-criticism, like: 

I’ll screw up more if I let go of self-criticism
Perfectionists often believe that with a little more effort, they can be perfect. But that’s just not possible. So let go of that idea. All the energy and focus you put into being perfect is suddenly freed up for what you’re actually doing, which makes it likely that over time you’ll perform better. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy what you’re doing more, so you’ll focus on how much you love what you’re doing rather than on potential mistakes you’re making. 

Putting myself first is selfish or narcissistic
Giving yourself what you need and putting up boundaries allows you to do your best work and take care of the people you love more easily. It’s just like using an oxygen mask on an airplane. If you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you’ll be conscious to put masks on other people who might need your help. If you put the mask on others first, you’ll pass out and be left without oxygen. 

I’ll become lazy if I’m not criticizing myself
Practicing self-compassion means recognizing what you need. And part of what humans need is to feel like they’re fulfilling their potential. It’s difficult to do that while binge-watching TV. There might be periods of more rest and less doing, but at some point you’ll want to get back up and start accomplishing again. You might even push yourself more when you practice self-compassion because now you don’t have a voice in your head telling you you’re not capable. 

The most important thing to remember is that self-compassion is a process. It’s not something that happens overnight, but a series of lifelong practices that are applied over and over as you continue to grow and become more confident.

The benefits of self-compassion

The biggest benefit of self-compassion is that you’ll find yourself a healthier, happier person. And it’s not just because you’re not telling yourself how terrible you are anymore. 

When you start to focus on your needs and desires first, you see how much impact you can have on the world. You spend more time on what you care about and the things that make you feel great and less on what you’re “supposed to do,” which makes you feel accomplished and engaged on a regular basis.

As you focus on your own needs and progress, you also spend less time comparing yourself to others. You realize that focusing on whether someone else is happier than you or more successful than you is only adding to your sense of lack. Self-compassion helps you focus on how much you’ve grown rather than how amazing you could be if only you were more like someone else, which will never happen. 

Show yourself some compassion

As good as all that sounds, transitioning to a self-compassion mindset can be a scary process if you’re used to clinging to self-criticism. So how do you make that transition for yourself?

1. Recognize the moments when you’re being harsh toward yourself 
Most people don’t realize how critical their inner dialog is because they’re so used to it, they assume it’s normal. When you actually voice those thoughts, that’s when it hits you how harsh those thoughts are. So write down your thoughts and read them out loud as if you’re reading them to a friend. Even when it’s pretend, it’s hard to believe the words that are coming out of your mouth. Seeing that is the first step to changing how you talk to yourself. 

2. Change the message
Through a vision statement or daily mantras, start to change the message ingrained in your subconscious. Use the thoughts you wrote down to find the messages your subconscious needs to hear: I am worthy of love, I use my mistakes to learn and grow, I am beautiful, I am capable, I am enough. You might not believe the mantras at first, but the more you use them the more they seep into your subconscious, replacing your self-critical thoughts. It helps to say them out loud or write them down for 1-2 minutes every time your self-critical thoughts come up until you start feeling like they’re true. 

3. Take time for yourself everyday 
Whether that’s five minutes or an hour, make sure you take some time to connect with yourself, what you want, and how you want to feel. Practices like meditation or journaling can help you dig into your needs, as can meditative movement like yoga, tai chi, or walking in nature. Take note of areas of self-care you’ve been ignoring, actions you’ve been taking that don’t feel congruent with who you are, actions you’ve been wanting to take but haven’t, and areas of your life where you need to set up boundaries.

4. Start taking care of yourself
Take action on the items you’ve noted during your reflection time. The key is to start small. Unless radical change is absolutely necessary, implement one or two things on your list at a time until they start to feel routine. Then implement the next one or two things on your list. Small steps build up your confidence and make the changes in your life less overwhelming so that you’re more likely to build them into habits you’ll use all your life. 

We want to support you on your journey to self-compassion, and the best way we know how is to help you nourish your body with whole foods. Giving your body high-quality protein and vegetables helps you perform at your best. And having meals pre-made means you can give yourself the best food and free up your time for more self-care

Want to give it a try? Sign up for our waitlist or learn more about what we do

How to detoxify your body

Since there are so many toxins to be exposed to in the world today, supporting your body's detoxifications systems is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy. Toxin build ups can lead to a number of issues, including fatigue, headaches, rashes, hives, increased inflammation (and therefore greater risk of disease), and more. So one of the best ways to feel your absolute best is to keep your detoxification systems running smoothly. 

What are some ways to detox and how effective are they? 

Juice cleanses

Juice cleanses are probably what comes to mind when you think of detoxification. The point of the cleanse is to give your body a break with something that is is easy to process and still gives you tons of nutrients. Afterward, you’re supposed to feel shiny and new because your liver and digestive system have had the chance to get rid of any toxins building up due to the fact you’ve only ingested fruit and vegetable juice for at least a few days. 

However, juice cleanses tend to have a lot of side effects of their own. One of the biggest is the significant reduction of calories for several days. While vitamins and minerals are critical to functioning, calories are equally critical to ensure you have enough energy to get through the day. Without enough calories, you risk slowing down your metabolism tremendously and feeling lethargic or lightheaded throughout the cleanse. 

And there are other parts of food your body uses as well, like protein (for essential amino acids and muscle building), fat (for energy, hormone creation, and absorbing certain vitamins and minerals), and fiber (to help food move through your digestive tract and slow the breakdown of carbohydrates so you don’t spike your blood sugar levels). So going on a long-term cleanse means you’re depriving your body of its building blocks, which can harm a number of your organs while trying to give them a rest. 

Sadly, you might not even be giving them the rest you think you’re giving them. The last big issue with juice cleanses is the amount of sugar you’re intaking. Even if you’re fresh pressing the juice yourself, it's still processed by your body like sugar. And without pulp and fiber to slow down the absorption of the juice, your blood sugar spikes and your liver has to process all that extra glucose in a short amount of time as insulin brings your blood sugar to normal levels. One glass of juice isn’t terrible, especially when consumed with other food. But when you’re drinking it multiple times a day without food for multiple days, that puts a huge amount of strain on your liver. 

If you're going to attempt a cleanse, a 1-2 day bone broth cleanse is a better bet than a long-term juice cleanse (since fresh-made bone broth contains so many nutrients and tissue-healing collagen). But cleanses aren't meant to be done often, and you're probably better off doing long-term maintenance work that isn't as harsh on your boy than short-term cleanses. 

Intermittent fasting

Unlike juice cleanses, intermittent fasting is a practice that happens continually over the course of months or years and doesn’t deprive the body of what it needs when done correctly

Most people might think of fasting as a way to consume fewer calories and therefore lose weight over time. However, weight loss isn’t actually the main benefit of fasting. In fact, many people find they don’t lose significant amounts of weight (and if they fast incorrectly they might find themselves gaining weight). 

The main benefit really is to give your body a rest. And with that can come many benefits. Some people have seen a faster metabolism, decreased blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and decreased blood glucose after doing intermittent fasting for a few weeks. 

Unfortunately, these benefits depend on a number of factors (like gender, health history, amount of time fasted, types of food consumed during the “feast” period). But one of the most interesting finds is that decreased inflammation seems to happen across the board

There still isn’t a clear reason as to why this happens, but one hypothesis is that you’re consuming fewer toxins over the course of a week (because you’re consuming less food containing toxins), making it easier for your body to filter them out. Kind of like the idea behind juice cleanses, only with limited deprivation periods and much more support for your body’s needs. 

So how does it work? There are many flavors of intermittent fasting, like:

  • Alternate day fasting - eat for 24 hours then fast for 24 hours and repeat. In the most popular version, you eat breakfast and lunch one day, then fast until dinner the following day
  • One meal a day - the first time you break your fast is at dinner time, with perhaps a few light snacks here and there during the day. This pattern happens every day
  • 14-16 hour fast - this is a “skip breakfast” model where you stop eating after dinner and don’t eat again until lunch time (some people still have 3 meals, they just start breakfast around noon and have shorter breaks between lunch and dinner)
  • 12 hour fast - the easiest fast of all, and one you’re probably already doing. This simply means you stop eating after dinner and wait 12 hours to eat breakfast the next morning

The more extreme versions of intermittent fasting tend to get the best results, but also tend to have the most risk of slowing down your metabolism and throwing off your hormones if things don’t go as planned. Extreme forms seem to work best for men, while women are recommended to stick to a 12-14 hour fast as they’re more susceptible to ending up with hormone imbalances. And skipping meals isn’t recommended for people with health conditions unless your doctor gives you the all clear. 

But no matter who you are, if you’re looking to try intermittent fasting you should start slow and keep records of metrics like blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and weight to make sure they’re not getting thrown off. The good news is that studies have shown that if these metrics are thrown off, they tend to recalibrate after going back to a normal eating schedule. 

Deep breathing

Your lungs are important detoxification organs that are often forgotten. When you breathe, they absorb oxygen from the air and expel carbon dioxide from your body to keep your red blood cells functioning. The better your lungs can take in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide, the more energetic you’ll feel and the better your body will function. 

Deep breathing works in two ways to support your lungs. First, you’re allowing your lungs to fully expand and contract so they can work to their full capacity. And second, when you train your body to breathe deeply, you strengthen your lungs and make it easier for your body to breathe deeply in the future, even when you’re not thinking about it.

To start training yourself to breath more deeply:

  • Sit up straight or lie on the floor
  • Put a hand on your diaphragm (the stomach area just below where your rib cage meets) and the other on your lower abdomen
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose, focusing on filling your lower abdomen with air first, then your lungs (you’ll feel your lower abdomen rise first and then your diaphragm)
  • Hold the breath for a few counts (2-4 works well to start)
  • Exhale fully through your mouth
  • Repeat for 5 minutes

You want to make sure you exhale for just as long, if not longer than you inhale to make sure you’re fully expelling carbon dioxide from your body. Breathing patterns that tend to work well for people are: 

  • Inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4
  • Inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8

While you’re strengthening your lungs, you’ll also be reducing stress (and cortisol levels) and activating the parasympathetic nervous system (which helps you digest food better) so you’ll be detoxing your body in other ways as well. 

Deep breathing is beneficial for everyone and something that can be done once a day or many times a day. 

Bitter foods

For centuries bitter foods, especially bitter greens, have been used to promote good digestion. While ancient civilizations might not have known the science behind it, we now know that this is in large part due to how bitter foods support the liver. 

Bitter foods help the liver produce bile, which is crucial for breaking down and processing fats found in food. Bile is also used to dispose of waste products produced by your blood cells. 

When you add in that bitter greens have large amounts of fiber to help move food through the digestive tract, you can see why they’re so good for your digestive system. 

How do you get more of these into your diet? First you’ll want to start small and get used to eating them if you aren’t already. It might take a bit of time, but the more bitter foods you eat, the more you’ll tolerate them and even want to eat them. Then you can work your way up to eating them a few times a week or even daily. 

Bitter foods include: 

  • Dandelion greens and dandelion tea
  • Radicchio
  • Broccoli rabe
  • Arugula
  • Collard greens
  • Chard
  • Coffee (without cream or sugar)
  • Nettles and nettle tea
  • Kale
  • Endive
  • Watercress
  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens
  • Chicory

And remember, you don’t need to eat large amounts of these to reap the benefits. Even adding a few pieces of endive or radicchio to a salad to start off supports your liver and can help you work your way up to eventually eating an arugula-based salad. 

Water

Perhaps the easiest way to flush toxins out of your system is with good, old-fashioned water. Keeping hydrated ensures your kidneys work properly to process water-soluble toxins out of your body

Water also supports other detoxification systems in your body. It’s used by your endocrine system to carry toxins out through your skin (aka sweat) and it’s used by your intestines to keep things, well, moving. 

Making sure you’re drinking at least 64 ounces of water (or more) is one of the most powerful ways to prevent toxins from building up in your body and the most beneficial thing you can do for your body in general besides getting adequate sleep

Exercise

Speaking of the endocrine system, exercise allows you to work up a sweat so you can release toxins through the skin and prevent them from building up in your glands.

On top of that, exercise helps lymph fluid to circulate through your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump to keep lymph moving through the different nodes, vessels, and organs in your body on its own, so it needs you to activate it to keep everything moving. 

While more vigorous exercise (like running, weight-lifting, or boxing) works best to activate the endocrine system, less vigorous exercise (like yoga or gentle walking) works best to circulate the lymphatic system. So be sure to mix it up! 

(What else circulates the lymphatic system? Staying hydrated and deep breathing. Pretty cool how it all fits together, right?) 

Whole foods

Last but not least, keeping your body nourished with whole foods supports all the detoxification systems in your body by giving your body's many processes and organs exactly what they need to function. Or if you’d rather look at the flip side, avoiding foods that create more toxicity in your body (like sugar and processed foods) helps keep your organs from working too hard and toxins from building up. So whichever way you want to look at it, you’re helping yourself detox. 

This can be one of the harder items to implement because it takes a lot of time to either find a restaurant that serves high quality food or to make it yourself. That’s why we created Methodology. We want it to be easy to eat whole foods (that are also delicious). 

Every meal we serve comes with high quality protein and a full serving of vegetables (which sometimes includes bitter greens) to make sure you’re eating food that supports and nourishes your body as much as possible. And we’ve banned refined sugars, flours, and oils, preservatives, and artificial coloring from our kitchen so you never have to worry about the quality of the food you’re eating. 

Want to give our meals a try? Sign up for our waitlist or learn more about what we do

Create a vision for a life you'll love

Where do you want to be in a year?

It’s not a question that many of us stop to think about because it’s hard enough to get through the week or even the day without worrying about a year out.

But if we never stop to think about where we want to be, we wake up one day and wonder, what have I accomplished? Is it what I actually want to accomplish? Why haven’t I accomplished more?

Nurses and hospice workers say that one of the biggest regrets that people have on their deathbeds is not living the life they wanted to.

But it doesn’t need to be this way if you choose to live life intentionally and authentically.

Where do you want to go?

Think about your last vacation. How much time did you spend planning it? My guess is you spent a total of at least 10-20 hours deciding where to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to eat, where to sightsee, and what activities to do.

Why? Because you only get so much time off per year and want to make the most of it. And with at least a little planning and research, you’re more likely to have an amazing vacation.

If you can benefit so much from spending a little extra time planning two weeks of your life, imagine how much more you could benefit by planning the other 50 weeks of your life. You can go from living a life that feels like a hamster wheel to living a life filled with intention and purpose. Whether you think about it often or not, you only have so much time to live on this earth. Why not give yourself the best chance at living a life you’ll love?

The role of your subconscious mind

Even if you have a plan for where you’d like to be, you still might not be living that way. It’s not because you’re lazy or not good enough, and it’s also not because it’s too hard or you don’t have enough time. It’s because it isn’t ingrained in your subconscious mind yet.

Your subconscious mind is responsible for the automated part of your life: habits, automatic processes like breathing, reactions like the fight or flight response, forming memories, interpreting what’s happening around you, and creating beliefs about how we should live and how the world works. Up to 95% of what your brain processes happens in the subconscious mind so you don’t spend huge amounts of energy processing all the minute details of your day.

So any time you introduce new behaviors or beliefs into your life, it’s going to feel strange. Not only does it take significantly more energy to integrate these into your life, but they also might conflict with previous behaviors or beliefs already ingrained in your subconscious mind. And when that happens, your subconscious mind is actively going to fight against you.

So when you’re planning out where you want to be in a year, you need to figure out what you want to achieve and change and you need to get your subconscious mind to embrace that plan.

The personal vision statement

That’s where a personal vision statement comes in handy. It acts as your guiding force for who you want to be and what you want to achieve, plus it makes it easier for your subconscious mind to accept your new plan as the status quo.

So how do you create and use a personal vision statement in your life?

1. What do you want to accomplish in the next year?
Often when we think about what we want to do in our life, we think about something broad that might get done in the next 5 to 10 years. At first, that feels less stressful because we have so much time to get what we want done. But it also makes it harder to make concrete plans because it’s harder to wrap our brains around where to start and what steps we need to take.

By narrowing your focus to a year, you’re more likely to be specific about what you want to accomplish (i.e. I want to write and publish two books this year vs I want to be an author), making it easier to break your plans into manageable steps that can be performed over the course of the year. And with specifics, you’ll probably find you can get a lot more done than you thought you could.

So start by making a list of what you’d like to do in all areas of your life, including work, family, other relationships, health, and spirituality. Don’t be afraid if the list looks too challenging right now. We’ll come to that.

2. Write your vision statement
When you’re writing your vision statement, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Write it in the present tense: When you write in the present tense, you’re telling your subconscious mind that you’re already doing these things, even if you’re not. The funny thing is, your subconscious mind believes you because it can’t tell the difference between real life and an imaginary visualization that it's told is true. This is what concepts like the Law of Attraction and mantras are built off of, and amazingly they work as long as we pair them with action.
  • Be descriptive: The more descriptive you are, the easier it will be to see yourself as the person you want to be. Visual descriptions especially make it easier to solidify what you’re working to become.
  • Write them by hand: This isn’t absolutely necessary, but when you write your vision statement by hand, you use parts of your brain that don’t get activated when you type. This helps you ingrain the visualization even deeper into your mind.

So what does it look like when it’s finished? Let me show you with an example.

I am a multi-dimensional mom. I work a full-time job in a field I’m passionate about. Every day I come home at 5pm and put my electronics away so I can focus on my kids until they go to bed. Three days a week I wake up early to fit a workout in so I am on top of my game. Every night I write about my day in my journal to process and release everything that happened so I get the best sleep possible. Twice a month, my husband and I go out by ourselves to deepen our relationship. I model balance, love, and joy for my kids every day so they can grow up and know how to create those attributes in their own lives. 

Some of this might be true right now, and some or all of it might not. What's most important is that this statement uniquely represents your desires for where you want to be in all areas of your life a year from now.

3. Read your vision statement every day
Writing your vision statement down once doesn’t make it magically come true. Just like a new habit, your vision gets integrated into your subconscious over time, which means you need to make sure that you’re using it every day.

Reading it out loud uses different parts of your brain (like writing by hand) and helps integrate it further into your subconscious. But if it’s difficult to read it out loud, just reading it every day and visualizing it as true is a great start.

Visualization can also be incorporated at the beginning or end of your daily meditation practice because it’s a lot easier to form a new habit by tacking it onto an existing habit. Or you can write your vision statement out again every morning to get those extra motor skills involved. The more you do any of these and visualize your statement as true, the more your subconscious will believe it and the easier it will be to actually become this person.

4. Find your action steps
It’s not uncommon to write a vision statement and then ask yourself, how in the world am I going to do this? If you’re challenging yourself, it probably feels difficult to plan all of this out and get it all done. It might even feel terrifying.

That’s why you need to list out what you need to do accomplish this year and then integrate those action steps into your days.

Start with a list of all the action steps you think you'll need to do to make your vision a reality. Things like:

  • Going to the gym 3 times a week
  • Writing 1 blog post a week
  • Putting away work after 7pm
  • Getting 8 hours of sleep
  • Attending 1 professional conference every quarter

Break down any tasks that require multiple steps so your list reflects how tasks will actually need to be accomplished (i.e. If you’re writing a blog post, you’ll need to create tasks to research, write, edit, and publish).

Then, schedule all recurring tasks into your calendar. For tasks that don’t need to be done at a specific time, schedule them as early in the day as possible to ensure they’ll actually get done. The later you schedule tasks, the more likely something will come up to prevent you from doing them. So you want to make sure that the most important tasks for your vision get done first to ensure they get done the day they’re supposed to be done.

Finally, you’ll take everything else from your list and prioritize them from most important to least important. You’ll probably want to keep this list on a program that’s easily updated so you can continue to add to this list or rearrange it as necessary.

5. Integrate your vision statement into your daily life
As you read your personal vision statement each morning (or at night if you plan your days the night before), choose the 3 most important action steps you’re going to take for the day. For instance:

  • Get a 30 minute pilates session in at 5:30am before the kids wake up
  • Write out a proposal for a new project at work
  • Play soccer with the kids for 30 minutes while they take a break from homework

This includes any recurring tasks you already have scheduled for the day that support your vision.

Three doesn’t seem like much, but when we have more than that it becomes difficult to prioritize and finish everything. When you limit yourself, you ensure you’ll be making progress on your most important goals and have a much better chance at completing your most important goals every day.

Once you have those three items, schedule them into your calendar, giving them the appropriate amount of time to complete them. Again, make sure they’re scheduled as early in the day as possible.

Only when those are scheduled do you look at the rest of your day and schedule anything else that you want to get done. But remember, the only three things you’re absolutely committing to are the three items on your to do list. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

6. Re-evaluate on a regular basis
The beauty of your vision statement is that it’s yours, and just like you it can change. You should re-evaluate your statement every 6-12 months to make sure it still aligns with who you are and what you want to accomplish. If not, then feel free to tweak it until it feels right again and use that to guide the next 6-12 months.

I like to re-evaluate my vision every year on my birthday, but you can use any date that will act as marker to remind you it’s time for a re-evaluation.


 


You deserve to live a fulfilling life that you love, but you’re the only one that can make it happen. Even though setting up a vision can take some time, and maybe even create a big shift in how you structure your day, I promise it’s worth it.

One of the best ways to support your vision is to keep yourself at the top of your game. We’d love to help you do that with our nutrition-packed meals. Our culinary team hand crafts every meal with attention and care to make sure you’ll receive meals that keep you feeling energetic and taste delicious.

If you’d like to try them for yourself, sign up for our waitlist or learn more about what we do

Don't give up on this year's goals!

Even if you’re not someone who makes resolutions in the new year, you probably make some general intentions to be “better” at something this year. Doing things like eating better, reading more, or exercising more. 

For the first half of January, most people stick to their plans and feel pretty good about their chances of finally keeping their promise to themselves. But then they find themselves starting to waver. 

A missed workout here, a bowl of ice cream there, and by the end of the month they’re back to their normal routines wondering what went wrong. 

Why does this happen and what can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you?

Loss of momentum and the downward spiral

For the first few weeks of January, momentum keeps you sticking to the goals you’ve never stuck to before. The reward system of your brain is firing because you’re achieving success and you feel great. It keeps you moving forward through the first week or two.

But after awhile, a day of success doesn’t pack the same punch. Your brain isn’t releasing as much dopamine for a job well done and you fall back on willpower and guilt to keep you going. After all, you promised yourself (and maybe a few loved ones) you’d be better and this year you’re going to keep that promise!

Unfortunately, willpower is a limited resource. The more you fight to stay on track, the more willpower gets used up, so eventually when you see that bowl of ice cream or you get too busy to go to the gym, you give in. 

You feel guilty, so you try harder. You run out of willpower and give in. And then it happens again. And again. And, well, you get the picture. 

How to stick to and achieve your goals this year

Humans have an evolutionary bias toward doing things that are easy or bring pleasure and a tendency to obsess over things they can’t have. These tendencies make forming new habits tricky.

What’s the good news? You can work with your programming and stick to your goals this year. It’s not necessarily easy, but with a few mindset shifts it’s absolutely possible. Even if you’ve never stuck to them before. Even if you’re starting to waver.

Take it from someone who used to binge on frozen pepperoni pizzas every week and now runs a wellness business -- you CAN turn your life around for good! :) Here are four ways to change how you think about your goals so you can keep tackling them into February and beyond. 

1. Don’t beat yourself up over occasional slips

In fact, think of them as occasional treats. 

When you tell yourself you can’t have something, you start to feel deprived and obsessively think about it. You’ve seen this happen to yourself. For example, you think about food a lot more when you’re “dieting.”

It’s time to get off that hamster wheel of deprivation and obsession. Instead, give yourself permission to treat yourself every once in a while to things that your body and mind tell you you really want. By doing so, you’ll take away the power that treat has on you. 

And trust that if you really want to go out to dinner or take a day off from the gym that you can. Because nothing bad will happen in the long run, and now you’re playing the long game. Instead of worrying about one little treat and letting the guilt from it snowball you into back-to-back treats and a sense of failure and doom, go back to your new routine and understand that if you even change your behavior to be just 10% more consistent than it was before, that’s a huge win.

Every incremental improvement really does add up. Changes don’t need to be extreme or painful to create lasting and dramatic benefits. You see this in practices such as yoga. When you practice yoga, you might feel like nothing’s really changing from day-to-day because you’re not suffering the way you might in a boot camp class, but after months of dedicated practice one day you’ll find yourself easily sliding into poses that were once impossible. Yoga is a great metaphor for any area of your life where you’d like to see change.

2. Have a plan B for times when you aren’t feeling it

No matter what you do, there are going to be days when you feel unmotivated. And it won’t just be one day, but a series of days. Nothing deteriorates your desire to keep moving forward more than a week straight of moving backwards. 

But getting off track happens to everyone and isn’t actually as big of a problem as you might think. What really prevents you from reaching your goals is that often at this pivotal point in your journey, you throw in the towel rather than getting back on track. 

This is where a plan B comes in handy. Your plan B is what you’ll do to get yourself motivated again if you start to go into that downward spiral.

For example, when I don’t feel like doing an intense workout my plan B is to head outdoors for a 45-minute walk. It’s something I always look forward to because it relaxes me to move my body and get some fresh air, and at least I’m getting some physical activity rather than zoning out in front of my laptop. Usually, after a few days of walking, I feel in tune with my body again and am ready to resume my more challenging workouts.

And what about food? If you’re someone who craves sweets, come up with some ideas for sweet whole foods that are incredibly satisfying but aren’t insanely unhealthy. For me, that’s making oatmeal with bananas and drizzling some raw honey on top. Sure, it may not be ideal as eating eggs and veggies, but it’s better than downing chocolate cake and is equally as satisfying for me. 

The important thing with food is to make sure that you find a plan B that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived. This usually means that weird diet food substitutes just won’t work. For example, if you really want ice cream, get it. Just get a high quality ice cream made with whole ingredients. It’ll satisfy you and you’ll be doing the best you can to nourish yourself. Whereas a fat free frozen yogurt would probably leave you still wanting that ice cream.

Having a plan B for the things that might throw you off course will allow you to take action as soon as you recognize old patterns settling in. It’ll also give you the chance to really listen to your body and keep yourself from feeling deprived and obsessed about anything. Pretty soon, you’ll be back on your way to meeting your goal. And if you falter again, you just get right back up and keep going. 

3. Visualize how achieving your goal would make you feel

When you decide that you want to lift weights or read more, you’re not actually looking for sleeker triceps or more information in your brain. You’re looking for how those benefits will make you feel: powerful, sexy, confident, intelligent, relaxed, etc. Somewhere along the way, that goal became a representation of that feeling for you.

But the specific actions you take to achieve your goal by themselves are like going to meetings at work. You do them because you have to, but do you really want to be there?

That mentality changes though when there’s purpose and focus for that meeting. Suddenly you know why it’s important to attend. Not only do you want to go, you might even find yourself excited to participate. 

The same is true when achieving your goal. The “what” by itself might start to feel like a chore after a while. And unfortunately, there’s no one there to make you do it so it’s easy to quit. But focusing on the “why” gives your goal a purpose and a reason to get excited. Whatever feeling you’re trying to produce is something you want more of in your life. And this new habit provides that for you, keeping you motivated to reach your goal and continue your habit long after because that feeling is something you’ll always want in your life.

4. Find what you’re really looking for

That feeling that you’re looking for is also a great compass to make sure you’re on the right path. 

Sometimes we create a goal thinking it will help us feel a certain way, but it doesn’t. For many people, this comes with the idea of being the “perfect weight.” They think it’ll make them happy, but when they reach that goal they find that nothing’s changed. So they either give up (because they haven’t found happiness) or become obsessed with losing more weight (because then they might be happy).  

When you’re creating a goal for yourself, be brutally honest and ask yourself if what you’re doing is actually giving you that feeling that you’re craving. You should be feeling it throughout the journey of reaching your goal, and not just at the end. If you aren’t, then drop that goal and find a new one that fills you up with what you need. 

Because when you want to feel a certain way and you don’t, despite your best efforts, you feel even more deprived and try filling that gap in ways that aren’t great for you, like emotional eating, Netflix binge-watching, self-criticism, or obsession. 

For myself, I stopped relying on reaching that "perfect weight" to be happy and instead started dancing, walking in nature, reading fiction, and running a business that helps people feel amazing. I’m not obsessed anymore with calories burned, macros consumed, or what I’ll have to do to counteract the one slice of pizza I’m eating because these other habits bring joy and purpose into my life that I never found in a number on the scale. And without even thinking about it, I eat less and move more naturally, keeping myself healthy and happy without feeling deprived.

 

 

This year, we want to help you achieve your goals. Whether you want to save time planning meals or have healthy options available without having to prepare anything, we’ve got you covered. Our meals are delivered to your door pre-cooked, so all you have to do to enjoy them is heat them and start eating. Even if your goals this year aren’t health related, you’ll find yourself with more time and energy to devote to whatever you’re setting out to do this year so you’re better supported in your efforts.

Want to try our meals? Sign up for our waitlist or learn more about what we do

Embrace your New Year’s resolutions

I have a confession: I used to not be very fond of New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I’d create resolutions that were good for me. I’d even follow through on some of them. But when I did, it felt like torture. The only thing keeping me going was sheer willpower, and that was incredibly draining. 

Maybe you’ve felt this way too with your New Year’s resolutions. That seems to be why more and more people every year are giving up making resolutions altogether. It’s just not worth the struggle. 

The idea behind resolutions is powerful. It’s a chance to look at what parts of your life aren’t working and make changes. That’s not something we tend to reflect on often, either because it’s too painful or because it can require a lot of work or effort. So having a holiday that encourages this is actually a great idea. But how can we make our resolutions sticky, and not something that lasts only a few weeks?

1 - Create a resolution you'll enjoy

Resolutions became something to look forward to only when I started creating resolutions I wanted to do. If you’re excited about the resolution you create for yourself, it won’t end up feeling like a chore and you’ll stick to it even when it’s difficult. 

I’ve always been devoted to my workout, but not because I wanted to do it. It felt like something I had to do because I wanted to feel strong and energetic. So I would go, but I never stuck to any particular workout more than a couple of months.  

This year was different. I decided to try dance because it was one of the few things I hadn’t tried. And now for the first time, I jump out of bed to get to my class. 

Dance makes me feel connected to my body in ways that weight lifting, cardio machines, boot camp, and TRX never did. Plus, it’s just fun. It’s something I’d do now whether or not I was focused on my health. The fact that it does as much for my body as it does for my soul is more of a bonus now than the driving factor.

So this year when you create a New Year’s resolution, I encourage you to think about what you’ve been excited to try or what brings you joy and commit to that rather than something you “should” do that you dread.

2 - Start small and have fun while you improve

One of the biggest falter points for resolutions is that people expect to be experts at something after only a couple of weeks of trying it out. But that’s not how it works.

Take a couch potato who decides on January 1 he wants to run a marathon this year. If the marathon is that January, most people are probably going to question his sanity. But if the marathon is in November, he has a pretty good shot at making it to the finish line. 

Why? Because he’s got time to build up his physical stamina. For the first couple of weeks he’ll probably walk a mile or two. Within a month he’ll be jogging a mile. And he’ll keep building up his distance until he’s running close to a marathon every week.

The same is true with any new skill. If you’re learning to play the piano, you’re going to start with scales and "Chopsticks." During your first few classes of yoga, you won’t be the most flexible person in the class and you’ll probably fall over during tree pose. While learning a new language, you’ll start with “Hello. How are you?” and slowly build your vocabulary from there.

If you allow yourself to enjoy the process of growing and not being perfect immediately, you’ll have so much more fun with your resolution. And that, as I mentioned above, is the key to sticking to it. 

3 - Celebrate victories large and small

You don’t have to save all your celebrating for when something big happens. Make sure to celebrate your small wins too.

Celebrating along the way recognizes all the work you’ve done so far and all the improvements you’ve made. And that helps reinforce the enjoyment aspect and encourages you to keep making progress.

So reflect back on what you’ve done often to see just how far you’ve come and reward yourself for your achievements, even if it’s just with a pat on the back. You’ve worked hard and had fun while changing a part of your life, and that truly is something to celebrate. 

4 - Start again when things don't go as planned

Every once in awhile you’re going to go off course. Even if you’re having the most amazing time with your new resolution, there will always be illnesses and emergencies and last minute deadlines at work that you can’t help. 

Most people decide that to meet their resolution, they have to go all in or it isn’t worth it. They miss a few weeks of class or stop learning for a week or two and decide they’ll try again next year. But stopping doesn’t mean you can’t start up again once things calm down. 

Starting back up is always going to be difficult, but as soon as you go again you’ll remember how much fun it is and keep going. So find a way to remind yourself of how much fun you had before to rebuild that momentum. Scheduling time in your calendar for when you think you’ll be able to start again will also help you to get back on the horse and keep going. 

 

 

While you’re making progress toward your resolutions next year, we’re here to help! Our pre-made, nourishing meals are designed to free up your time (so you have more of it for your resolution) and keep you energized for whatever you’re tackling.  

And of course if you’re working towards a health-related goal, our meals are perfect for you. Our goal at Methodology is to make wholesome, nutritious food taste delicious so you’re always looking forward to your next meal. Plus, we’re always looking to inspire you for what “healthy” can look and taste like. Many of our clients have found they make better choices for themselves when they eat out or cook once they start receiving meals, and they’re excited to do so. This change happens even for clients who only eat Methodology a couple of times a week. 

Want to start receiving meals in the New Year? Sign up for our waitlist or learn more about what we do

 

What does it mean to eat clean?

Clean Eating.jpg

One of the most popular questions we receive here at Methodology is, “What does it mean to eat clean?”

It’s a phrase that’s used a lot in wellness circles as the ultimate way to eat for your health. The idea is to eat whole, unprocessed foods as often as possible to maximize nutrients and foods that make you healthier and minimize foods that either don’t do anything for your health or can damage your body over time.

But how does that look when you’re trying to build a meal for yourself or your family?

There are many answers to this, but between all the methods to eat clean there are some commonalities. Here are some basic guidelines for you to follow to help you get the most out of your food.

1 - Focus on vegetables: aim for at least 2.5 cups a day 

Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and are shown to reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and more when eaten in in greater quantities. What other food group can claim that?

If that weren’t enough, vegetables also help you get full faster (thanks to all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber), which makes it a powerful portion size regulator without having to worry about measuring everything out or counting calories.

Unfortunately it’s also the food group that tends to get neglected the most (because of taste, preparation time, and inconvenience to name a few barriers), which is why getting more vegetables on your plate is the biggest focus of the clean eating movement. 

A serving of vegetables is half a cup, and you’re recommended to get at least five servings a day (but can definitely do more if you’d like). Try getting one to two servings per meal and have some vegetables ready to eat in your refrigerator for snacks in the middle of the day. 

And remember, while it’s great to get everything organic, if cost is a factor for you then it’s not absolutely necessary for better health. It’s most important to buy produce organic if it’s listed on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, which contains the produce most heavily affected by pesticides. After that, do the best you can. Multiple studies have shown that even if your vegetables are conventional, more of them is still better than none at all. 

2 - Add in some fruit 

While vegetables are absolutely required in a clean diet, fruit isn’t. But it certainly doesn’t hurt. 

Fruit gives you a sweet satisfaction you don’t get from vegetables, plus it's high in vitamins and minerals as well. The fiber in fruit helps keep your blood sugar from spiking when you eat it, making it a great option for dessert. Our favorite fruits are those highest in fiber and lowest in sugar: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and avocado. 

You can add fruit to salads, use some to sweeten smoothies naturally, or eat a few pieces after meals when you need a little something extra. 

3 - Stay satisfied with sustainable, clean protein at every meal 

Protein makes you full faster and keeps you full longer so you’re not constantly snacking throughout the day. It’s used by your body to build muscle and other body tissue, and the essential amino acids found in protein sources are crucial for building up muscle in your body. 

No matter what kind of protein you eat, the two key factors to consider here are variety and the source of your protein. 

Just like with vegetables, eating a wide variety of proteins ensures you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients in your diet. Variety is especially important for those who don’t eat animal sources of protein. No single plant source contains all the essential amino acids needed to stay healthy, so eating a variety of plant sources (legumes, pea protein, soy, nuts, etc) throughout the day helps ensure you’re consuming all the essential amino acids you need. 

Source is important as well, and especially critical for animal protein. Animals raised in environments where they’re eating the foods they would naturally eat in the wild and not receiving growth hormones, antibiotics, and other toxic substances will have a low occurrence of toxins in their fat and will have more nutrients in their meat. This is typically labelled “pasture-raised” for red meat and poultry and “wild” for seafood

It’s recommended to get around 8 grams of protein per 20 pounds you weigh per day. For animal products, this also equates to 3-6 oz of meat per meal (about a palm full). 

4 - Don't be afraid of healthy fats 

Monounsaturated fats (like olive oil and avocado oil) have always been pretty universally accepted as healthy. 

But saturated and animal fats have been given a bad rap ever since 1960’s research started pointing to fat as the cause of the rising rates in heart disease. The government used these studies to declare a war on fat in 1977 in the McGovern Report, which spurred a low-fat craze in the United States. 

Only recently did we learn that one of those early studies was funded by the sugar industry, and many anti-fat studies since then have been funded by various industries, including the cereal, grain, and soda industries. 

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revisited 21 dietary studies in 2010 to see if saturated fat could be associated with a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease. They looked at 347,747 people and found no evidence of a correlation between saturated fat and a higher risk of these health concerns

Being afraid to eat fat does nothing for our health. In fact, cutting fat from our diets hurts us in significant ways. Besides the fact that low-fat processed foods tend to be high in sugar, fat is essential for the brain and body to function well. 60% of your brain is fat, and your brain uses fat for important functions such as communication between cells. Fat is also necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins and the creation and balance of sex hormones. Also, don’t forget that fat is a great source of energy and way to stay satiated, especially when you’re eating clean. 

Of course, there are some fats you'll still want to stay away from. Hydrogenated fats (including trans fats) have been pumped full of hydrogen to be more shelf stable than their original polyunsaturated forms, but these fats have been proven to raise cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. Vegetable oils have also been known to cause inflammation in the body which also puts you at greater risk for heart disease. 

Remember, too, that if you’re going to eat animal fat you want it to come from a pasture-raised animal. Since the fat is where toxins are stored, eating pastured fat is critical to keep toxin consumption low. 

5 - Stay away from refined and processed foods when possible 

When eating clean, you’re discouraged from eating processed or refined foods. Unfortunately these are the foods that are most readily available in our grocery stores today, but they’re also the foods that are going to do the least for your health. 

Processed foods tend to contain a lot of ingredients, including many you probably can’t pronounce. These might be preservatives, food coloring, artificial flavoring, or even supplemental nutrition to make the food you’re eating “better for you”. But many of these additives have been found to be harmful over time, or the long term impact is just unknown. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t eat any processed foods. But when looking to use them in your cooking, try to use foods that have been minimally processed and contain ingredients you recognize and are comfortable using. 

Refined foods are a different story. These often come in the form of flours, sugar, and oils and have been stripped of any nutritional value they once contained for shelf stability and appearance. Besides the chemicals used in the refining process, what’s left over in the ingredients is inflammatory to the body. In flours and oils especially, lots of omega-6 is left and have been the primary reason Americans tend to have way too much omega-6 in their diet. 

The final straw on these foods is that they tend to contain relatively few nutrients and do little to benefit your health, especially compared to the other foods listed above. Since that’s the point of clean eating, you’re encouraged to skip the processed and refined foods and go for whole foods instead. 

6 - Focus on maximizing nutrients rather than on minimizing calories 

Besides nourishing your body so that you operate at your peak ability, one of the best parts of clean eating is being able to focus on enjoying the delicious food in front of you without worrying about calories. By relaxing and not worrying about portion sizes and calories while you’re eating, you enjoy the food you eat more and digest it better so that you’re utilizing all those nutrients more effectively. And since you’re not consuming a lot of empty calories, your body gets everything it needs with less food and will signal you sooner to stop eating when you’ve had enough. 

 

 

If you'd like to commit to eating clean but would like some help with the cooking, we're here to help. All of our meals follow clean eating guidelines and use high-quality ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible to give you the most nutritious, delicious meals we can offer. 

On top of that, we make food that tastes like comfort food so you can start to love clean eating and get ideas about ways you can incorporate it into your other meals. 

Want to give us a try? Sign up for our waitlist. Or you can learn more about what we do