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Food & Drink

How to eat clean without wanting to die

Detox your body but keep your sanity in 2014

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You chubby bunny-ed the marshmallows while the sweet potato casserole was in the oven. You ate pie for breakfast every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Let’s not even talk about all the (delicious) things you ate at that New Year’s Eve party.

Hey, I did it too, but there’s hope. While you’re poking at your gut on the couch considering your options, here’s an alternative to a year-long contract, paying someone to weigh you or living on lemonade: simple, clean eating.

The good news? You are going to feel amazing. The bad news? First, you will feel like shit. It sounds cool – eating whole foods, drinking water, working out to gain that lithe, Gwynnie/Goop bod – but there will be days when the only thing you want in the world is a can of Crisco and a spoon. Should you come out of an Ambien daze and find yourself in a convenience store, keep calm and buy a banana; that’s pretty much your only option.

But there are upsides. For the most part, eating clean is a lot cheaper. A one-pound bag of potatoes costs the same as a bag of Doritos at the same weight, and guess which one will feed you for longer? Second, after you get over the intense, ear-splitting, death-knell headache, you will feel awesome. You will feel healthier, have more energy and sleep better than you ever did before. Seriously. You will also lose weight. It is inevitable. Not because of some miracle drug or because you shot your abdomen full of weird hormones, but because math: You will eat fewer calories, expend more of them and still feel sated, since what you’re eating is full of fiber and good fats. (Yes, fats.)

Here, some tenets of clean eating (plus three fun recipes) to help you stop consuming crap and start the new year funky-fresh.

Eat whole foods. Everything you do will revolve around this. The fewer ingredients in a food, the better (one = best). What’s in a zucchini? A zucchini. What’s in a bag of Funyuns? No. Many dietitians will tell you that if a food has five ingredients or fewer, it’s a whole food.

Eat five or six small meals a day. You will probably want to graze, and that’s cool. The foods you eat will be less caloric, so you’ll probably get hungrier sooner than if you’d just eaten a value meal or a burrito bowl.

Cook your own meals. It’s a challenge to find clean foods on the go beyond fruit and water – even trail mix is full of preservatives and additives, plus tons of salt and/or sugar. The trick is to plan ahead and flex your kitchen skills. All you need is a (good) knife, a pan and a pot, a baking sheet and some mixing bowls.

Eliminate alcohol and coffee. Oh, you thought you could keep getting your drink on? Think again. Javaholics are probably going to end up with the kind of headache exclusive to guzzling a bottle of cheap champs, but it will pass. If you absolutely must have coffee, take it black. You’ll look like a badass and keep clean.

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