Wise Choices: Eating Clean

Andrew Siegel, MD   Blog #103



Justin, age 35, when interviewed for Promiscuous Eating stated the following: I eat meal to meal—I don’t think ‘big picture’—I try to make good choices versus poor choices, without planning ahead.”


Justin has the right mindset with respect to healthy eating.  And to quote the wise words from Bootcamp Goldcoast (an Australian reader of this blog): Obviously both of these elements (exercise and healthy eating) are critical for losing weight (and keeping it off) but personally… I don’t think either are the most important.For me, mindset is by far the most important tool for losing weight. A good strong mindset is the thing that will bring exercise and diet together, it will give you the focus and belief to become what you’re capable of.


It’s not difficult, nor complicated nor long-term, although a series and succession of short-term wise choices will translate into long-term success.  It’s a very practical, here-and-now means of approaching food choices that many of us face on a daily basis, and when employed, will help keep us trim and svelte, as well as healthy.  Wise choices involve the consumption of “clean” fuels—the polar opposite of wise choices is “promiscuous” eating. 


Many of us are literally bombarded with food exposure at work, where opportunity and temptation can undermine healthy eating patterns.  For example, in my office we have pharmaceutical and device representatives who bring lunch in for our staff at least a few times weekly (e.g., three times this past week). It gives the reps some quality time with the doctors and staff to brief and update us on drugs that we prescribe.  It’s really a very nice perk, but it can be too much of a good thing.  Although some of the lunches are healthy, many are not—and it takes a bit of wisdom to avoid poor choices and over-consumption, both of which can leave one feeling acutely bloated, with an expanding waistline and a ticket to poor future health and chronic disease. I have found—in the manner of Justin and the mindset of Bootcamp above—that minor, smart and prudent choices applied diligently can keep the waistline trim and maintain health, wellness and vitality.


So, for example, on Monday a lunch was hosted that included the following foods:  salad; corn chips; broiled veggies; soft tortillas; boneless chicken; sliced steak; rice; cheese; refried beans; guacamole; soda; and water.  There was an abundance of choices of varying levels of  “healthiness.”   I abided by the “Justin” and “Bootcamp” principles in an effort to make a series of wise decisions. The following is a deconstruction of my decision process and the choices made—choices that occur in reflexive, subconscious, automatic fashion because they have become deeply ingrained in order to help navigate the complex world of eating and the surprises that one may encounter at any given time.


Avoid the soda and the diet soda and instead grab a bottle of water—(Who needs “naked” calories, a load of high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors or calorie-free sugar substitutes?)


Grab a large plate of salad—(Crunchy, healthy, colorful, full of anti-oxidants and low in calories and fat.)


Minimize the croutons in the salad—(Salty white bread remnants that are just soggy refined carbs.)


Drizzle just a touch of salad dressing on—(No need for ruining a healthy salad with a big glob of fattening creamy dressing.)


Boneless white meat chicken vs. steak—(Chicken wins, hands down—less calories and saturated fat.)  Throw a few pieces of chicken in one soft tortilla (one is enough for lunch); place a little guacamole on top (guacamole trumps the cheese, avocado vegetable fat being healthier than the animal fat in the cheese.) Add some of the broiled veggies—broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini—to round it out. (Better to fill up with veggies than more meat.)


Skip the rice and refried beans—(I’ll be quite satisfied with the chicken and veggie tortilla I made, supplemented by the salad…and who needs to be bloated at lunch with white carbs (rice) and heavy, greasy, gas-producing beans—after all, I need to work in the afternoon and don’t have the leisure of being able to nap…or keep running to the bathroom!)


Bottom line: There is a great deal of leverage to be had by making minor, consistently applied, sensible eating choices. A smart mindset and eating meal-to-meal without planning ahead will serve you well.

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food: www.promiscuouseating.com

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One Response to “Wise Choices: Eating Clean”

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