Start to Eat Clean, Stay Lean for a Healthy New Year

Eat-Clean2(PCM) The New Year is the ideal time to improve our healthy ways, and a new book on eating clean from Rodale Press will supply us with the tools we need to get a jump start. In Wendy Bazilian’s new 294-page book “Eat Clean Stay Lean” (Rodale Press $21.99), she has found a refreshing approach to doing just that.

She also has the ideal qualifications. Bazilian is a registered dietitian and certified exercise physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She is an author, journalist, researcher, educator, and food enthusiast.

The author gives her readers common sense advice on how to shop with an eye toward optimal health benefits; as well as 300 real foods and flavorful, unique recipes for life-long health and lasting weight loss. The book includes ultimate clean foods in every category: fruits and veggies, proteins, grains, sauces, snacks and treats, and beverages.

The book gives readers tips on how to turn their kitchens into an “eating clean oasis.” There are also simple strategies for how to recognize the different between clean food and the impersonators, pages on the surprising foods that contain fillers and unexpected ingredients. The book also shows how to continue to eat clean on the go, whether at a party, event or restaurant. Sample menus for a day of good clean/lean eating are included.

In “Eat Clean Stay Lean” Bazilian’s aim is help readers transform their kitchens into a place where they can go to get healthy. In doing so, she explains why it’s better to buy fresh ingredients and give readers some tips on where to find them and what to look for.

The first step healthy eating is selecting clean ingredients. These include organically grown vegetables and grass fed beef; that is free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, as well as antibiotics and growth hormones. If her advice is taken, readers will quickly get to know the people at their local farmer’s market and road side stands.

“My favorite foods are those without a label,” Bazilian said. “The cleanest foods you can eat are real foods that haven’t been highly processed, refined and poured into big boxes, crinkly bags or shiny wrappers. Research shows that these whole foods are the best at creating, restoring, and preserving the healthiest bodies.”

When you get home with your new found booty, the book provides numerous recipes with everything from veggie burgers to homemade salad dressings, and Southwest Skillet Eggs to Savory Bread pudding. There are lots of tips and more do’s than don’ts.

Using her book as a guide, “you’ll be cooking and eating clean, healthy, flavorful meals in no time; with a new found confidence in what you are eating because it will be prepared in a healthy way, using the cleanest ingredients. “

“At the end of the day,” she writes in her book, “the pleasure from eating flavorful foods feels so good. Ultimately, while being healthy itself is a compelling goal, you know you probably won’t stick with a plan if it doesn’t also taste delicious. Great news: Clean foods, prepared creatively like the recipes provided will tantalize your taste buds also.”

So, in her book, she invites us to enter the world of great tasting meals made with clean ingredients. “Feel better about what you’re eating because you know what is in your food.”

Eat-Clean1Q: We want our children to be healthy, yet we all know picky young eaters who refuse to try anything green; or anything new that may be a healthier choice. Do you have any thoughts about that?

WENDY BAZILIAN: Yes, it can take a little bit of time, so you have to be patient. From the first introduction of a food we know it can take 15-17 times for someone, especially a child, to try something out. The goal is to establish a memory along with a sensory experience. You take simple steps and reinforce it. The more variety and the more flavor involved will increase the success. It definitely takes time; but it is well worth the effort.

Q: Please talk about clean living.

WB: Clean living is eating clean. It is not about a single fad or a way to eat. Eating clean is eating more whole, minimizing chemicals in your day and removing artificial colors and preservatives.

Q: Do you eliminate some of our favorite foods like pizza, cookies and other snacks?

WB: No. In the book we categorize – meat, popcorn, veggies, snack food –and there are pizza and cookies. It is embracing what we have in common, rather than what we have that is different.

Q: Who and what inspires you in life?

WB: I am inspired by the environment around me and what’s possible in my own life. I’m inspired by people – chefs and gardeners who I see bring things to life, and athletes who perform their feats. I’m inspired by people who follow their passion – including my family members and friends.

Q: Do you have any favorite recipes in the book?

WB: I love the apple pie parfait and the apple pie smoothie. That cinnamon red hot warming flavor is perfect for a chilly day in the fall or winter. I like to eat to the season and rely on mother nature.

Q: How do you feel about leftovers?

WB: The salmon salad recipe is perfect for that it is as simple as making tuna fish salad. There are also affordable choices that are clean eating, like buying canned wild salmon. I like the cauliflower crust pizza with marinara, fresh mozzarella and sautéed mushrooms. Taste should be your prevailing force when it comes to meals and snacks. What I love about this endeavor is that there is truly something for everyone in this book.

Q: What do you hope readers will get from this book?

WB: I hope that people see we can all be on a mission together. I would say to eat a little bit better today than yesterday and feel the immediate impact – feel more vital, and have more energy. Our health is impacted by food, so it is the most important thing we do for our health. What we have control over often seems magical.

Q: Are there other health benefits?

WB: Yes. Your skin will look better; you are looking at heart health, and brain health. There are mountains of studies connected to reducing medical risks and improving our health by eating cleaner, yet delicious food

Q: What about those of us who love our chips, cookies and other snacks?

WB: All of this is a cumulative effect of what we put in our bodies. An occasional mis-step doesn’t undo everything if you eat clean most of the time. So don’t beat yourself up during the holidays or an upcoming birthday celebration. Your home environment should reflect your eating with easy access to clean and healthy foods and snacks.

Q: Do you have any overall advice?

WB: I always tend accentuate the positive like the old song tells us. Don’t beat yourself up. Go for the next meal to be clean and healthy and give yourself credit for making small changes. Be proud for those foods to be in your diet.

Q: Are there ways that you personally have people change habits so they are eating cleaning and staying lean?

WB: Sure, by cooking and writing and continuing to get the word out on how we can have a healthier community. I want to see more people in the kitchen and show them that we can help our own health out there. It is also about skin care productions, community supported agriculture, using what foods are available for the season, doing some canning, and all of the generations being involved side-by-side.

Q: Will there be a companion workbook to help people on their new clean eating adventure?

WB: Yes. It will give people a road map to help them get started and engaged in these recipes. It will look at sports performance and weight loss. The East Clean Diet Book companion should come out in the fall.

Q: What is it like to meet fans of your book, recipes and lifestyle changes at special events?

WB: Food is the connection and it is wonderful to share memories and stories as a community.

Q: How has this book changed your life?

WB: I have the opportunity to share with others the benefits of clean eating. I love to have them share their stories and build a community and through this I know we are more in common than we are different. I am so impacted by it. Mother Nature had a plan, we need to focus on. Use our farmers, farmers markets and regular grocery stories, and at the end of the day celebrate delicious and healthy food on our tables.

Q: There are 12 foods in the book that boost your mood. Tell me about them.

WB: Clams, walnuts, flaxseed, coffee, radishes, oysters, pomegranates, yogurt, kefir, shitake mushrooms, chocolate and apricots. They are blessed with compounds that lift your spirits.

Q: Do you have any last advice for our readers?

WB: The use of one simple mantra: “Eat Clean, Stay Lean,” can really change your life.

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