How To Eat Clean

Clean EatingThis is the question I get asked all the time. I think people assume it’s really difficult and time-consuming. It’s really just a matter of planning all meals and snacks ahead of time. Here are some basic principles of clean eating that you’ll need to keep in mind:

Eat primarily non processed foods. If it comes out of a box, don’t eat it. If it comes from the earth, eat it.
Eat six times a day. This is to keep your metabolism fired up and it keeps you from getting too hungry.
No alcohol or sodas. Drink lots of water and/or herbal unsweetened tea.
Never miss a meal.
Combine lean protein and complex carbs at every meal.
Avoid all saturated and trans fats.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ideas for breakfast would be:

  • Steel cut oatmeal (not flakes) with berries and 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 4-5 scrambled egg whites  with 4 oz. potatoes mixed with red peppers and onions
  • 1 c. yogurt with 1 c. fresh berries, 1 slice whole wheat toast
  • whole wheat pancakes with fruit
  • banana chocolate smoothie

NEVER, EVER skip breakfast!!!! Think about it. You’ve just been sleeping for 7-8 hrs. (hopefully). Your body needs some fuel after not eating for that length of time. Your mother was right. It IS the most important meal of the day!


Okay, here’s where things get a bit more challenging. Most people are home at breakfast time. Not so for lunch. My suggestion would be to pack a small cooler the night before and just grab it when you leave for work in the morning. (This is where the planning comes in.) Anyway, here are some lunch ideas:

  • 4 oz. chicken on whole wheat bread with mustard and avocado slice; green salad with olive oil and vinegar.
  • 4 oz. chicken, 1/2 c. brown rice, 1 c. low sodium lentil soup.
  • 1 c. whole wheat pasta, 1/2 c. low sodium marinara sauce, 4 oz. grilled chicken breast, 1/2 c. broccoli
  • Mexican Chicken Wrap
  • Easy Chicken Salad


  • 4 oz. salmon, 1 medium  baked sweet potato and 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 turkey burger patty, 1 baked potato cubed and roasted with 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. chopped rosemary
  • pizza made with 1 whole grain English muffin, 1/4 c. part skim mozzarella cheese; salad made with 1/4 c. chickpeas, 2 tsp. cilantro, 2 tsp. minced garlic and 1 Tbsp. honey-mustard vinaigrette


Snacks are NOT optional!!! You will need to eat 3 snacks a day, one after breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner. In the beginning you’re going to feel like you’re eating ALL THE TIME but soon you will get used to eating this way. Believe me, it beats walking around hungry all day. Here are some tasty snack ideas. All snacks should be around 200 calories.

  • Larabars
  • 1 English muffin with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 6 whole wheat crackers and 1 oz. cheese
  • 1 c. plain nonfat yogurt with 1 c. berries
  • 1 small baked sweet potato mixed with 1 c. plain nonfat yogurt

11 Tips for Cooking Out Without Pigging Out

Grilling OutIt’s summertime, which means it’s time to fire up the grill and enjoy the great outdoors. It all sounds pretty healthy, until somebody shows up with a bowl of mayonnaise and potatoes, which, without a trace of irony, will be announced as a salad. It’s like calling a stick of butter a nutrition bar. A few side dishes like this, combined with some fatty hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, and ice cream, and bathing-suit season can become caftan season before you know it. But if you only invite the neighbors over for celery sticks and tofu kabobs, you can count on getting the stink-eye from everyone next time you’re out mowing the lawn. The secret to throwing a great barbecue is to find ways to eat healthily without making it seem like last call at fat camp. Fortunately, with so many great foods available during the summer months, it’s easy to plan a menu that will include great-tasting food and let you keep your P90X®, Slim in 6®, or ChaLEAN Extreme® figure. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your outdoor culinary excursions, so you can picnic without the pounds, still enjoy good food, and keep yourself and your family and friends healthy.

1. Veg out
The cookout doesn’t need to be a celebration of the weather being so good that the unhealthy foods we used to eat in front of the TV can now be eaten in the backyard. It’s summer! The time of year when all the best fruits and vegetables are at their peak. And grilling vegetables is a great way to get tons of flavor without tons of calories. Delicious on their own or as a complement to another dish, grilled veggies are a must-have for a healthy cookout. Use them in salads, on burgers, or by themselves. Check out what’s fresh at your local farmers’ market. Good veggies for grilling include peppers, asparagus, artichokes, eggplant, zucchini, squash, scallions, and onions. Just brush them with a little olive oil, some fresh herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and you’re serving something healthy that you and your guests can load up on guilt free.

2. Herbal remedies
Only the worst chefs need to rely on fat and salt for seasoning. Now’s the time to stock up on fresh basil, oregano, tarragon, dill, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, etc. Or even better, grow your own. Oftentimes, a pot of living basil from the nursery costs less than a handful of leaves from your produce section. Use fresh herbs liberally in all of your recipes, and you’ll be replacing fat with flavor.

3. Hold the mayo
Nothing lays waste to the best-laid plans for a healthy barbecue like mayonnaise. A main ingredient in picnic staples like potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw, mayo loads up enough fat and calories that your only hope of weight loss is that the dishes stay out in the sun long enough to cause salmonella poisoning. Try using healthier ingredients, like yogurt or low-fat ricotta cheese, and adding fresh herbs. Instead of mayonnaise, use yogurt and fresh dill in your potato salad. Make a whole-grain pasta salad with cherry or grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and a balsamic vinaigrette.

4. Don’t be so starchy!
There’s no law that says every picnic “salad” needs to begin with potatoes or pasta. There are plenty of salad recipes out there that are so delicious, no one will miss their starchy, fatty counterparts. How about making that old-time favorite, three-bean salad! Or if you want something a little heartier, lentils mixed with a light vinaigrette, a little onion or garlic, some fresh herbs, and a sprinkling of feta cheese will fill you up and give you enough energy to play more than horseshoes and lawn darts later. Make some simple, fresh vegetable salads. Slice up some tomatoes or cucumbers, and toss them with a bit of vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and onions or garlic, and you have a refreshing side dish that will fill you up without filling you out.

5. Know your cuts of meat
It’s not just a game on Letterman. While of course substituting skinless chicken or fish for your rib eye would be the BEST nutritional decision, we know you’re not made of stone. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a barbecue without the scent of grilled steak or pork in the air. But not all cuts are created equal. For beef, the best rule is to look for cuts with the word loin or round. Other great lean cuts are flank steak, skirt steak, tri-tip, and London broil. With pork, the leanest cuts are the tenderloin and loin chops. With both pork and beef, try to avoid anything involving the ribs (including rib eyes), which have the fattiest cuts of meat. And those baby back ribs will make you look like you’re having the baby. Because of their low fat content, most of the lean cuts will need to be marinated for a couple of hours before grilling. Read on for marinade ideas.

6. Lay off the (store-bought) sauce
One of the main ingredients in most store-bought barbecue and teriyaki sauces is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Even the most casual Beachbody reader knows how we feel about HFCS. Instead, bust out those herbs you bought or grew (see tip #2), and make some gourmet marinades and sauces that won’t send your blood sugar into a tailspin. Using ingredients like fresh herbs; citrus juices; olive, sesame, and canola oils; wine; low-sodium soy sauce; and various vinegars, you can liven up your meat dishes and save the sugar for dessert. And when you’re planning your marinades . . .

7. Go global
Since the U.S. is one of the most obese nations in the world, maybe it’s worth checking out what those in slimmer nations are grilling. How about a Cuban marinade for your chicken, or pork with citrus juice and garlic? Or Indian tandoori-style skinless chicken thighs marinated in yogurt and spices like turmeric, curry, or cardamom? Try making your own Japanese teriyaki with sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, and honey, and skip the corn syrup from the store brands. Try out Greek kabobs, Korean barbecue, or Jamaican jerk-rubbed meat—whatever catches your eye or your taste buds. And throwing a barbecue with an international theme sounds a lot more appetizing than a barbecue where “we’re watching our weight.”

8. Good dogs
Of course, not everyone is going to be keen on vegetables and treats from foreign lands. Kids, for example. So you’re probably going to need some kind of hot dog for these less adventurous eaters. Pretty much anything can end up in a hot dog, but in most cases, hot dogs are tubes full of fatty meat and carcinogenic nitrates—yum! This is where it really pays to read the label. A regular hot dog runs over 200 calories and 18 grams of fat. A turkey frank has half of that. The fat, calorie, and sodium contents of various brands and types of dogs vary wildly, so choose carefully. For the less fussy, there are also several varieties of chicken and turkey sausages with gourmet ingredients that are delicious and low in fat and calories.

9. Better burgers
A friend of mine who is highly phobic of meat-borne illnesses like E. Coli and mad cow disease had the great idea of asking the butcher to grind up a piece of sirloin or top round that she selected from the meat case for hamburgers. This limits your exposure to contaminants, as there’s only one cow involved in the making of a steak, where there could be hundreds involved in a package of ground beef. This also allows you to control the fat content that’s in your hamburger. If you have a decent food processor, you could even grind your meat at home and blend in spices, garlic, or onion to enhance the flavor. If all this talk of cows and contaminants has put you off beef, you might give a turkey burger a try. But again, read the label. Many packages of ground turkey contain ground-up skin and other fatty pieces, resulting in a fat and calorie content not much better than ground beef. Try looking for extra-lean or ground turkey breast. And if you’re worried about the bird flu, it might be worth giving veggie burgers another try. If you haven’t had one in a few years, you may remember them as I do—some sort of reconstituted cardboard patty that smelled like feet. But there have been great strides in veggie burger technology. In fact, there are a couple of brands a vegan friend of mine refuses to eat, because they taste too much like meat. Try a couple of different brands. You may be surprised.

10. Topping it off
When you’re putting together the topping trays for your grilled delights, you can also save a few calories. The traditional lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are great, but skip the cheese, mayonnaise, and corn-syrup–laden ketchup. Instead, try putting some of those grilled veggies you made on your burger or chicken breast. Or add a slice of avocado if you miss the creaminess of melted cheese. Put out a variety of mustards, hot sauces, and salsas, which are low in calories and fat, and don’t usually contain corn syrup. Don’t forget to look for whole-grain buns for your dogs or burgers, or try eating them open-faced or bunless, if you’re trying to cut carbs.

11. Just desserts
Well, you’ve behaved admirably during the rest of the barbecue, so you deserve a little summer treat. Have a little bit of ice cream (although frozen yogurt would be even better, and plain yogurt better yet!), but heap a bunch of fruit on it, instead of a dollop of fudge or a side of pie. After all, what we said about vegetables goes for fruit too. This is the time of year where you can get your hands on the best fruit, at the lowest prices. Indulge in berries, peaches, oranges, melons, and all your favorite seasonal fruits. Make a huge fruit salad, or blend fruit with yogurt and ice for a smoothie. Or for those with ambition and an ice cream maker, try making your own fruit sorbet. You may decide to skip the ice cream after all!

Hopefully, these suggestions will help make your summer barbecue a huge success. And in the worst-case scenario that you end up being forced to partake in your neighbor’s annual Salute to Mayonnaise, you can always use Beachbody’s 3-Day Refresh® to minimize the damage before the next pool party! so you don’t absentmindedly munch a thousand or so calories from a big bag.

Hydration for Athletes

Possibly the most under-emphasized aspect of sports nutrition, hydration can make or break an athlete’s performance. While fuel depletion during exercise can impair performance, inadequate water not only impairs exercise capacity, but can create life threatening disturbances in fluid balances and core temperature. With as little as 1% of body weight lost in fluid, athletes can experience thirst, fatigue, and weakness. (1) Thirst drives a person to drink, but it can actually lag behind the body’s need. When too much water is lost from the body and not replaced, dehydration develops. Dehydration refers to an imbalance in fluid dynamics when fluid intake does not replenish water lost. On the flip side, water intoxication occurs with excessive water intake or kidney disorders that can reduce urine output. In healthy individuals, dehydration is more common than water intoxication, but appropriate water balance is crucial to optimal performance and ultimately survival.

  • Water and Body Fluids

Water constitutes about 60 percent of an adults weight and it is the medium in which all life processes occur, including:* Carrying nutrients and waste products through the body* Maintaining the structure of large molecules* Acting as a solvent for minerals (i.e., sodium and potassium) and other small molecules* Acting as a lubricant and cushion* Maintaining blood volume* Helping the body regulate temperature.  Every cell in the body contains fluid specific for that cell called intracellular fluid, and around it is extracellular fluid. These fluids continually lose and replace their components, but the composition of each compartment remains remarkably constant. Because an imbalance can be devastating, the body continually adjusts water intake and excretion as needed. This type of balance is referred to as homeostasis. The body must excrete a minimum of about 500ml (about 2 cups) of water each day as urine to eliminate waste products that the body makes through metabolism. Above this amount, the body adjusts by excreting excesses to balance intake. In addition to water lost in the urine, the body also loses water from the lungs as vapor and the skin as sweat. The amount of fluid lost depends on the environment (heat and humidity), and physical conditions such as activity. On average, the body loses about 2.5 liter/day. Fluid maintains blood volume, which influences blood pressure. The homeostatic balance of fluids and solutes in the body is carefully regulated by the kidneys with assistance from several hormones including antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and aldosterone. The primary solutes that are involved in maintaining fluid balance are sodium, potassium, proteins, and glucose. Adequate intakes of water and electrolytes maintain hydration levels and regulate fluid shifts between the intra- and extra-cellular compartments. To maintain water balance, intake from liquids, foods, and metabolism must equal losses from the kidneys, skin, lungs, and GI tract.

  • The Needs of the Athlete

One of the primary functions of water for all individuals, especially athletes, is thermoregulation. A person can tolerate a drop in body temperature of 10 degrees (c), but an increase of only 5 degrees (c). Heat generated by active muscles can raise core temperature to levels that would incapacitate a person if caused by heat stress alone. (2)The body uses three mechanisms to dissipate heat:* circulation* evaporation* hormonal adjustment. The circulatory system works to deliver warm blood to the body’s shell. This produces the typical flushed face. Sweating begins within several seconds of the start of vigorous exercise and this evaporative cooling controls heat dissipation during exercise. Lastly, because sweat contains water and electrolytes, the body makes hormonal adjustments to help prevent the loss of salts and fluid. When the fluid lost in thermoregulation results in dehydration and a drop in blood volume, the end result produces circulatory failure and core temperature levels can increase to lethal levels.

  • Water Replacement

Total water intake at the reference level of 3.7 liters for adult men and 2.7 liters for adult women per day covers the expected needs of healthy, sedentary people in temperate climates. The obvious dietary sources of water are water itself and other beverages, but most foods contain some water as well. Most fruits and vegetables are almost 90% water, and many other foods like meats and cheese are approximately 50% water. The body also makes water during metabolism, when energy-yielding nutrients break down and their carbons, hydrogens, and oxygens combine to make carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).According to the Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements, published by the Institute of Medicine (3), most people get adequate fluids by drinking when they’re thirsty. However, the report does add that prolonged physical activity and heat exposure will increase water losses and therefore may raise daily fluid needs. Very active individuals, who are continually exposed to hot weather, often have daily total water needs of six liters or more. Both heat acclimatization as well as nutrition intervention is indicated for this population. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, general guidelines for fluid replacement are as follows: (5) Consume a nutritionally-balanced diet and drink adequate fluids during the 24-hr period before an event. Drink about 500 ml (about 17 ounces) of fluid about 2 hours before exercise to promote adequate hydration and allow time for excretion of excess ingested water.* During exercise, athletes should start drinking early and at regular intervals in an attempt to consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated.* It is recommended that ingested fluids be cooler than ambient temperature [between 15 degrees and 22 degrees C (59 degrees and 72 degrees F])] to enhance palatability and promote fluid replacement.* Addition of proper amounts of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes to a fluid replacement solution is recommended for exercise events of duration greater than 1 h since it does not significantly impair water delivery to the body and may enhance performance. Water loss by sweating peaks at about 3L per hour during intense exercise in heat. However, just about any degree of dehydration can impair performance. Adequate fluid replacement sustains the body’s potential for evaporative cooling. Rehydration protocols are often based on water lost as measured either by urine color, urine specific gravity, or changes in body weight.(4) If collecting urine is not feasible, sweat loss as reflected by weight loss can be used. An athlete’s pre and post workout (or event) weights are taken and whole body sweat rate can be calculated by dividing the sweat loss by the time period of collection. The following equation can be used to determine volume of fluid lost: (5) Sweat loss = (body weight before – body weight after) + amount of fluid intake – toilet loss. Alternatively, taking a simple measure of body weight each morning after emptying the bladder can show a pattern of hydration over time, provided gains or losses of fat and muscle tissue are not also taking place. Fluid balance, electrolyte homeostasis, cardiovascular function, and thermoregulatory control are intimately linked to fluid consumption and each has a major impact on health and performance. Fluid replacement helps maintain hydration and, therefore, promotes the health, safety, and optimal physical performance of individuals participating in regular physical activity. Athletes and their coaches should be aware of fluid replacement needs, and develop strategies and protocols to insure athletes drink enough to keep pace with sweat loss.