eat clean. train dirty. read labels.

There is a beautiful fitness movement going on.  There are tons of articles and research based on what foods you eat and it’s correlation to daily performance, cancers and diseases. When you search the web you’ll most likely come across the Paleo diet, Bulletproof diet, Intermittent fasting, and if you have Instagram – the thousands of #fitness related pictures. Growing up in a Haitian household where dinner is regarded as the most important (and best) meal of the day, it wasn’t a coincidence that it was also the biggest meal of the day.  A typical meal consists of a starch, a grain, and a meat or fish. Usually cooked with vegetable oil.  Now, it’s a fact that my mom is the best cook ever (ask around). She cooks the most amazing, delicious, comforting food and even created a cookbook to share our family recipes with everyone.

As much as I will vouch and say Haitian food is the best tasting food in the world, it’s also not the healthiest, and this makes me sad.  Discipline can be defined as resisting the temptation to eat mom’s food – your favorite mind you – knowing that it’s free and comforting and everything you could ever want in life.  However, when it comes to training or knowing that I’m working out, I have to respectfully decline.

I notice a significant difference in my workouts when I eat not-so-healthy food vs. fresh and non-processed. I’ve created a habit to pretty much eat clean because I perform better when I stick to this.  No, it’s not a diet.  I just like to eat healthy.

So, today I went shopping to get back on track with eating clean.  It’s pretty simple and a lot of people make it more complicated than it is when it comes to shopping.

Some tips:

- If you have access to a local farmer’s market or co-op, shop there to get your produce. - Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where most of the food is fresh and expires within a week or two. - Sugar is bad. All of it. Organic dehydrated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, pretty much anything ending in "-ose." All bad. - If you’re interested in getting something that has labels, make sure they’re legible. Everything that is labeled fat-free, sugar-free and even organic isn’t necessarily good for you.

Perfect example: I needed almond milk.  A brand that was labeled USDA certified organic had about 10 different ingredients listed.  It’s almond milk! It’s supposed to be just almonds and water! This one had one particular ingredient that I had never seen: carrageenan.  Frustrated that I wouldn’t be making delicious smoothies tonight, I left the store and when I got home I did some research on this ingredient. Although it’s stuff that is extracted from seaweed, this “natural” food additive can cause gastrointestinal problems and there are petitions to ban this in our foods.  For more info, click here.

I’m not a nutritionist, but I know that if there’s things you can’t pronounce or stuff that has an expiration date for 2032, it’s probably not good for you.

Related, I found what appears to be a simple recipe for making your own almond milk. Trying it tomorrow.