"You are tired of being sick, fat, grumpy, depressed, overlooked, drained of energy..."
Tosca Reno, The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged, p. 10
Sound familiar? This exactly describes how I felt five years ago. I saved the letter I wrote to myself the day I hit my all-time low (mentally and schlumpily, not weight-wise!), and let me tell you, it's depressing. That is when I got serious about running. When I felt those old feelings of self-contempt and worthlessness sneak into my mind after the little guy was born, I knew it was time for another change. Enter clean eating!
I've said it before, and I'll say it again--eating clean has been good for me physically AND mentally. When I eat well, my body looks and feels good and my outlook in general is optimistic. Eating clean helps me feel energetic and content. Still, nobody is perfect, and I recently I felt myself losing my mojo, so to speak. I didn't blog for a while; it was hard for me to rave about the clean eating lifestyle when I wasn't doing my best at living it. It was time to recharge!
For my birthday, The H got me Tosca Reno's The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! This is the 7th or 8th relative in the Eat-Clean Diet book family. It couldn't have come at a better time! The weather was depressing. I was feeling sick and "blah." It was all too easy to revert to junk-laden snacking simply because those foods were around (happy Easter...) and I was too lethargic to work any harder or plan ahead. Of course, eating the processed, sugary junk contributed to my slump. What a vicious cycle! I'm finally ready to refocus.
Starting with the first page, I feel like this book is a breath of fresh air. It's just what I need to read right now--the words of someone who knows what this lifestyle is about, telling me why it's great and why it works, and most importantly, HOW TO DO IT RIGHT. When I started reading it I decided to put the kibosh on my sugary-snack habit for three days and see how I felt. I had a "reward" built in for the end of that third day. I'm pleased to report that not only did I hold up my end of my self-made bargain, I had lost a pound and wasn't craving chocolate like I thought I would be. As a bonus, my water intake had increased since I started having a glass of water before diving head-first into the snack cupboard without thinking about what I was after.
This book is way more than a cookbook; I'd consider it more of a handbook. The first 280+ pages focus on the principles of clean eating, the why behind it, and really digs into how to implement and maintain a clean lifestyle. The original Eat-Clean Diet does this as well, but I feel like this update is a bit heftier. It's certainly longer (415 pages from intro to index) than the first book, which is 272 pages start to finish. The section on strength training is much more extensive than the blurbs in the first book.
The recipe portion of Recharged! contains over 50 recipes, and just at first glance they seem fairly simple, not too involved, and naturally fresh and colorful. I am looking forward to making several already--sesame noodles, chicken explosion (it looks good, promise), and beet& arugula salad, to name a few. There are sample meal plans for families, gluten-free eaters, and those following a clean vegan diet. I'm really looking forward to the farmers' market opening next month!
I've never been a scientifically-minded person (I majored in English, avoiding math and science as much as possible) but learning about the science behind clean eating just fascinates me. I want to learn more so I can share more. For example, there is a chapter regarding "superfoods," flax being one in particular. We've all heard about it; heard it's good for us. But whole or ground? Oil or seeds? And most of all, how do we use it? There are three pages explaining all this. Three pages! You can fit a lot of info on three pages. Other chapters discuss eating out or with other people (work potluck, anyone?), grocery shopping, and exercise.
This sounds like a paid advertisement, but I assure you it's not. Tosca Reno doesn't even know I exist ;) but I do enjoy sharing tips and recipes with those who follow my blog, and I think this book will be a great addition to my clean eating arsenal. I fully intend to bring it with us on the road when we travel next week. I've already read some great tips for clean eating on-the-go that I plan to implement for myself.
When people come up to me and say "Wow, you're looking so great!" I want to be able to explain why I'm at my all-time healthiest instead of just saying" Thanks, I've been running a lot." It's so much more than running. I started eating clean because running alone wasn't changing what I needed to change. Now, even when I take a week off running, I'm able to maintain my weight and get back into my exercise routine much easier than I used to. And 22 months after the little guy was born, I'm packing up my 2-piece swimsuit for our trip. I'll be in touch!