Cleaning it Up

Abs are made in the kitchen. -Tony Horton

Tony Horton, creator of hugely popular at-home fitness programs, like Power 90, One on One, and the sensational P90X, is adament about clean-eating. But that term is thrown around so much that I was interested in what his take on “clean” meant. He wrote a book over the last two years (which released early this summer), called BRING IT!, which details his own clean-eating plan, proper exercise technique, recipes, his take on supplements,  and foods to avoid (at all costs).

I admire this man so much for his wisdom, his humor, his approach to fitness and to life in general. P90X took what I thought I knew about fitness, what I thought I wanted (to be skinny) and flipped it 180 freakin’ degrees. I’m now capable of doing things I never thought I’d do, thanks to that program and that man’s encouragement.

Anyway, back to his dietary recommendations. According to Tony, “what you eat has a direct effect on how you feel and how you look.” Now, notice he didn’t say how much or how many calories you eat effects how you look and feel- that’s a given. But he’s so impressed by the actual foods or “anti-foods” and what they do to the body. I totally second this opinion. During Weight Watchers, I was so engrossed in staying within my points, that I didn’t care so much about what those points were made up of. Often times, like I said, I was picking the 1-point chocolate cake treat over something like grilled chicken, which would’ve put me over POINTS for the day. Ingredient labels were far from my interests, all I cared about were calories, fiber, and fat.

To really clean up your diet, Tony suggests eliminating these foods: soda (diet and regular), sports drinks, artificial sweeteners of any kind, white flour, white sugar, white potatoes and rice, caffeine, fried foods, gluten, and dairy (unless you can always afford organic, to remove harm from hormones, antibiotics, and inhumane farming practices). Looking over the list, you can already read into it that it’s a low-glycemic index diet, which is great for controlling insulin levels that lead to fat production and cause inflammation in the body and the organs. You’re controlling your blood sugar and the stress the foods put on the body. There’s no “cheating” by using fake sugars in order to lower your calories- those sources are already showing weight gain (by throwing off your hunger and satiety hormones).

Now, here are the groups of his Fantastic Fitness Foods list, full of nutritional properties that fight diease, weight gain, inflammation, and digestive imbalance. You should (hopefully) recognize most of these, if not all, foods and hopefully are already incorporating into your everyday diet:

  • Leafy greens (unlimited amounts); bok choy, beet greens, argula, collard greens, and such
  • Vegetables (2-3 servings a day); asparagus, beets, broccoli, celery, carrots, sweet potatoes, scallions, and so on
  • Legumes (4-5 weekly servings); beans, lentils, peas, hummus
  • Fruits (2-3 daily servings); apples, lemons, limes, bananas, cantaloupe, grapefruit, berries of all kinds, and so on
  • Whole grains (2-3 daily servings); barley, oats (steel cut), brown rice, wild rice, sprouted grain bread (hello, Ezekiel bread!), gluten-free pasta, rice crackers
  • Pseudograins (2-3 daily servings); quinoa, millet, amaranth
  • Soy-based proteins (1-2 daily servings); tofu, tempeh (use these in moderation)
  • Lean proteins (2-3 daily servings); seafood, chicken breast, turkey breast, egg whites, cornish hens, ground beef (less than 10% fat), top sirloin
  • Seeds and nuts (weekly servings: 2-3)
  • Healthy fats (1 serving a day); avocado, almond oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil

Yesterday, I challenged myself to go a full week eating just like proposed above and I’ll see how I feel/look afterward. Here we go!



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