Clean and colorful diet
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Teresa Marie’s Clean and Colorful Concept

I did it! After 20 years of remaining diet agnostic and believing strongly that there is NOT one type of diet that is right for everybody but that everybody has their own RIGHT DIET, I’ve finally landed on a set of principles that I truly feel everybody can benefit from! Let me introduce you to the Clean and Colorful Concept and the 4 Universal Diet Truths. Hallelujah!

You can watch this 5 part video series if you’re not in the mood to read this post ūüėČ

The problem with “diets”

I’ve been in this business for a long time and I’ve helped a lot of people learn to make smarter decisions. But until now, it hasn’t been a very simple process to follow. Trying on different “diets” to see which one fits best requires commitment and patience.

  • Do you feel better if you eliminate all animal protein and go vegan?
  • Is gluten causing inflammation in your body and you’ll feel better if it’s completely eradicated from your diet?
  • Is following a high protein or even a ketogenic diet something you should consider?

These may seem like simple questions but the answers are complicated only because there simply is a different one for every living body on this planet. What works for me, may not work for you. The time and energy we’ve committed to trying (and often failing) new diets can be exhausting, time consuming and in the end, frustrating.

My struggle as a “diet agnostic” health coach

My problem has stemmed from this complicated set of answers. Not having a clearly defined set of principles that everybody can benefit from has made messaging, and in essence, ¬†helping people — hard! But over the years I’ve learned of a certain set of practices that¬†can improve the diet and lifestyle quality of everybody who dares to incorporate them into their life.¬† So I decided to roll those four clearly defined principles into one simple philosophy that at the end of the day, everybody can benefit from.

4 Universal Diet Truths = 1 Diet Philosophy that Everybody can Benefit From!

We all know “diets don’t work” right?

But really, what does that even mean? If we start by defining the term “diet:”

noun: food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health.
It’s simply the composition of the food we eat, whether it be improving or impairing our health. I think diets tend to fail us when we look at them in terms of restriction or elimiation. That’s where hunger, anger, guilt and dissatisfaction are born. I needed to develop a diet philosophy that did not rely on the complete elimination or unnatural restriction of any one type of food. I also needed a philosophy that supported people in making smarter¬†decisions for their health, not just their waistline. So where is the fine line? Where are the universal “diet truths” that everybody can live by?
I think you’d be hard pressed to find a health professional out there or even a die hard “diet” advocate of any extreme who would disagree with these principles. I also feel strongly that if more of us worked towards achieving these on a daily basis and created a lifestyle that made doing these four things¬†easier, we could actually reduce the incidence of obesity and the diseases it causes.

4 Universal Diet Truths –> The Clean &¬†Colorful Concept

  1. Eat Less Processed Food.
  2. Eat all 5 Colors Everyday.
  3. Swap one Snack or Meal per day with a Juice or Smoothie.
  4. Exercise at least 21-Minutes a Day 6 Days a Week.
That’s it! I really could be that simple! And maybe when you look at those four principles it doesn’t look simple. Trust me, the process of figuring it out can be fun and well worth the effort as it can literally change your life and your relationship with food. Now let me explain this all in¬†a bit more detail.

1. Eat less processed food.

What is processed food anyway? And why is it bad for you? I mean, Norman Bourlog, a food scientists who is essentially engineered today’s GMO wheat production methodology received a nobel peace prizes for crying out loud, so what’s so bad? Sometimes we can be too smart for our own good. I appreciate food science, I studied it in college.
But let’s go waaaay back to something simple…our bodies are made as a part of this planet in a very natural and organic fashion¬†(for the most part).¬†Why are we trying to outsmart it with complicated and inorganic food technology? When we feed our bodies¬†unnatural material, it just has to do a bunch of work to figure out what the heck it’s dealing with.
Like Sucralose for example. Really? A compound made to look like sugar, it tastes like sugar yet it has zero calories and hence no energy for your body to burn? That’s very confusing for your body on many levels and while it might make sense in theory, in reality your body is just struggling to to figure out WTF to do with it.
I’m just going to leave it at this:
Less confusing food IN the body = a less confused body.
A less confused body  = healthier body + happier life.  

So what exactly is a processed food anyway?

Here are some things to consider:
  • Would your grandmother (or great grandmother depending on your age) know what do to with it or how to cook it?
  • Does it have an ingredients list? If so, how many things are on it and how many syllables does each of the ingredients have?

Best case:¬†aim for foods¬†with no ingredients list that¬†your grandma knows how to cook it. For example vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, lean cuts of meet, eggs, etc. If it has an ingredients list, look for things that are real food. And if not, the things with less syllables…like 3 max.

This rule is great in many ways because it will essentially keep you from eating mindless cookies, chips and crackers and high calorie, easy to prepare tasty treats like microwaveable egg rolls, taquitos and chicken fingers.

It also means if you really want one of those treats, you can¬†go collect the ingredients (eggs, sugar, butter, flour, chicken, raw chocolate, etc.) and make them! I’m not here to say the occasional cookie is a bad idea, and if you’re going to go through the trouble of making something, then you A) really want it¬†and B) you earned it!

Its the mindless consumption of readily available snacks that is the larger problem than the snack itself. Plus, when you prepare your own food, you know EXACTLY what it took to make it which gives you full control over your food supply.

Do you really have to eliminate all processed foods to be healthy?

That’s a tough one because some processed foods are just a necessary part of real life and some are in fact, produced in a very responsible manner. Even in my quest for ultimate health and happiness, I used processed foods on a daily basis, but I try to be very mindful of what they are and why they are necessary (i.e. protein powder). ¬†And this is why the principle is stated eat LESS processed food. Complete elimination could become too difficult and unrealistic and that would stifle positive action. Not my goal. So just aim to eat less. Deal?

2. Eat all 5 colors everyday.

And I’m not talking a bag of skittles here, we’re looking at fresh vegetables and fruits! I love this little game because learning to play it can literally transform¬†the way you look at your food supply and dramatically increase the nutritional quality of your meals while at the same time decreasing total calories consumed. The phytochemicals that color our fruits and veggies are little anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial miracles and could likely cure many of today’s known diseases.

What does this look like in real life? I can really be this simple:

If you need ideas on where to get started, I’ve organized all the recipes on this blog in order of not just meal type, but also color. And the Color Yourself Skinny recipe guide includes enough colorful recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts and a juice or smoothie a day for 21 full days! It is also the foundation of my new Break the Diet Cycle Coaching program that is starting January 18th, 2016 and included in my Membership Program, Simple Secrets.

Think about this before you eat anything:

  1. Does this count as a color for the day?
  2. If not, how can I add color to make it count?

That simple thought process will having you naturally eating more fresh produce than ever before. It will change the way you walk through the produce aisle at the market. You’ll start to see veggies you never saw before and wonder what you can cook with them. Added fat, animal products and even grains will start to become the side dishes and natures finest will become your main focus. It’s so fun!

3. Swap 1 snack or meal per day with a juice or smoothie.

This is about eating more plants and super foods and having to eat and prepare less “food.” Not much can match the naturally alkalizing power of a green juice and you’d be amazed at how you much sneaky nutrition you can stuff into a power smoothie. Which one should you do, juice or smoothie and which is better? That’s a big question! And in fact, I just addressed it a few weeks ago in this post: The Benefits of Juicing v. Blending.¬†In short, they are both good for you in different ways and they both have their pitfalls to watch out for. But this strategy is a great way to boost health naturally through the power of food.

4. Exercise at least 21-Minutes per day, 6 days a week.

I know this has nothing to do with food. But when it comes to ultimate heath and happiness, fitness is about 1/4 of the battle so I made it 1/4 of my philosophy. You’ll never be able to reach your goals through fitness alone. Think about how long it takes to burn off 300 unnecessary calories (~30 minutes) compared to how quick you can eat them (<30 seconds!). On the flip side, you’ll be very hard pressed to¬†reach all of your health goals without incorporating fitness.
And I could say exercise at least 3 days a week for an hour but there are two reasons why I don’t:
  1. An hour could be a barrier to someone getting started, I mean it is kind of a long time. But who can’t find 21 minutes in a day? And once you get started, you might feel so good you magically find more time.
  2. Exercise is a keystone, good habit. When you do it, you’re more likely to make smarter decisions¬†the rest of the day. And at the very core of habit formation is the frequency in which you partake and the routines you create.

And I say 6 days a week. But if you’re not active at all, start with 1-2 and go from there. You don’t need to be running marathons or sweating it out in a cross-fit box to be improving your health through fitness. You just need to be moving.

That’s it! That’s my official “diet/lifestyle philosophy”, my rational, where it came from and why I’m sticking to it. Thoughts? Ideas? Arguments? I know nutrition can be just as polarizing a discussion as religion and politics (as beliefs run just as strong and deep). I’d love to hear your ideas!

Want to start living this clean and colorful life with me?

Does this sound doable to you? Be sure to check out my coaching programs because everything I write, create and advocate is designed to help you incorporate these 4 Universal Diet Truths into your Clean and Colorful lifestyle. Be sure to sign up for my community and get instant, free access to your Clean and Colorful Kickstarter Kit!

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