Eating Clean Week: Day 1

Just in time for beach season, decided to fine tune the diet. Yesterday was day 1 of my 14 day clean streak goal. Some of my goals for the next two weeks:

  • Avoid fried foods
  • Avoid simple sugars
  • Eat 4-5 times daily
  • Maintain a 1/1 ratio of  grams of protein consumed to body weight lbs
  • Maintain high fiber levels
  • Drink, drink, drink water
  • Avoid any beverage with calories
  • Maintain 2000-2500 calorie diet

Along with these fairly straight-forward, but difficult to follow, rules, I’ll be maintaining my plan of weight training five days a week, with a focus on high reps, high sets, low weight. My starting weight is 204 lbs with an estimated body fat, using this tool, of approximately 12.24%. My goal isn’t necessarily to lose weight but to increase muscle while decreasing body fat.

Day 1 was a success. Depicted above are some of the items I consumed. Chobani Greek Yogurt makes for a great snack many times throughout the day. Each individually packed plain Chobani is only 100 calories with an amazing 18 grams of protein per container. I really like their pomegranate and blueberry flavors but those add an extra 40-60 calories per cup as well as simple sugars that are added to create the texture of fruit on the bottom and the protein level decreases by 5-7 grams per cup when purchasing the fruit versions. Eating 3 plain Chobanis a day equates to only 300 calories with an awesome 54 grams of protein, 1/4 of my daily goal. These are also getting much cheaper; after being close to $2 per cup for much of last year, I have purchased them recently for $.88 a cup at Redner’s and $1.22 at Wal-Mart. And for those who are looking for them on the go, Wawa recently started carrying many varieties for $1.49 a cup. As popularity grows, I hope these will become even cheaper.

You will also notice in the photo the Arnold’s whole grain bread and natural peanut butter. I highly endorse Arnold’s bread; their is only 110 calories per slice and carbs and simple sugars are lower than most breads. Arnold’s has a wide variety of breads that are similarly delicious, including double protein and double fiber options, but their whole grain option fits directly in the middle of double protein and double fiber: 5 grams of protein per slice and 4 grams of fiber. Two slices to make a sandwhch makes it 220 calories of bread but 10 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber for only 8 grams of sugar. I also endorse Arnold’s because it is filled with whole grains and it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which Princeton and others have concluded is processed differently than other sugars by the body and significantly increases the likelihood for body fat to be produced. When eating clean and doing high levels of aerobic exercise, the goal is to make as much muscle as visible as possible. HFCS can contain up to 80% fructose while table sugar only contains about 50%; the increase in fructose can contribute to an increase in obesity and insulin resistance. With HFCS in just about everything, I’m glad I’m able to purchase Arnold’s who has a commitment to avoid using it.

I chose natural peanut butter for much the same reasons. Smucker’s natural peanut butter contains two items: peanuts and salt. That is really what peanut butter should be; most non-natural brands contain HFCS and other additives which negate the health benefits unsaturated fats in peanut butter provide. Others natural brands add unnecessary oils. Smucker’s contains peanuts and salt. The less processed the item the better. Most major brand peanut butters contain unnecessary additives and preservatives when all you really need is peanuts. If peanuts are not the first ingredient in peanut butter, and you’d be surprised how many brands this is true for, don’t buy them. According to this HFCS-free list, Skippy peanut butter also contains no HFCS. Smucker’s runs you 200 calories per Tbs; eyeballing it, I usually use about two Tbs. For 400 calories of peanut butter, healthy fats, and 20 grams of protein, it’s delicious. The sandwich totals out at about 620 calories with 30 grams of protein, a bunch of fiber, and a lot of healthy fats that contribute to overall health. Peanut butter contains high levels of monounsaturated fats which fight hunger pangs, are good for your heart, and help lower your cholesterol.

Another snack item that I consumed yesterday was the Snicker’s protein bar seen in the photo. I had this guy right when I woke up. It’s 290 calories, has 20 grams of protein, is fortified with lots of vitamins, and amazing 10 grams of fiber. If you want to feel full, eat one of these. The fat, fiber, and protein will all help deflect hunger pangs. The drawback to these bars is that they can be high in sugar and contain HFCS. This particular bar contains 22 grams of sugar and lists HFCS as one of its last items in the ingredients. Admittedly, I had one of these to indulge. There are healthier and more natural protein bars but this one is my favorite taste wise.

Throughout the day, I drank nearly 3 gallons of water. That may seem excessive, but the ever reliable Wikipedia says water intoxication occurs at much higher levels than the recommended 1-2 liters of water per day. The strenuous exercise coupled with daily hydration needs has me drinking like a camel. I love George Carlin, but when he asks “When did America become so thirsty?” I can only respond: when they found out how powerful of a life tool proper hydration can be. Water consumption has many obvious and not so obvious benefits: water keeps you hydrated, your muscles lubricated, helps prevent tears, pulls, strains, and sprains, improves brain function, and keeps you feeling full.

Adding everything up (1 PB sandwich, 3 Chobanis, 2 Snickers bars), I was up to about 1,500 calories, 100 grams of protein, lower levels of sugar, tons of water, and 42 grams of fiber, I was short in my caloric intake goal as well as my protein goal. To supplement this, I consumed about 50 grams of protein via shakes , just Optimum Nutrition Natural Chocolate Protein, HFCS-free, mixed with water, twice. Once before the gym once directly after. I also consumed 20 grams of protein via Optimum Nutrition Cassein Peanut Butter Chocolate protein directly before bed. This added approximately 550 more calories and 120 more grams of protein for a total day of 2050 calories and 220 grams of protein. Day 1 was a success.

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