21 Days of Eating Clean

Hi PLF friends,

Around this time of year I feel myself getting a bit more comfortable with what I eat and my clothing seems to get a bit tighter.  It's easy to get caught up in all the holiday fun and soon before you know it your few extra pounds turns into 15-20.

It's hard to eat 100% clean all of the time and honestly, life is meant to be enjoyed and food is one of my biggest enjoyments.  Some people believe that you can just up your workouts around the holiday season to help prevent gaining the winter/holiday weight, but you have to be careful with how much you workout and what workouts you do.  Over training will result in numerous negative side effects and most likely you will just be consuming extra calories to help get yourself through the day.

Click here if you want to read about overtraining.

Here's my plan of attack to have you all feeling energized, at least 5lbs. lighter, and wondering why you didn't do this a long time ago.  Come the end of December you will hit all the parties feeling in control of your health and that should further motivate you come January.  (I still can't believe that this year is almost over...crazy!)

I plan on eating clean for the next 21 days, so hopefully you will join me and we can do this together. For those of you new to eating clean here's what it consists of:

6 small mini meals a day...NO exceptions.  Eat every 3 hours and set a timer on your phone if you get crazy busy at work or distracted at home with the kids.

Every meal lead with your protein.  All 6 meals will have at least 15 grams of protein.  This will help to stabilize your blood sugar, keep you fuller longer, and make it so that you can keep your muscles, if not build them.  Click here on why you want more muscle.

1 green juice or veggie/fruit smoothie a day.  I'll be making a juice of kale, cucumber, ginger, apples, beets, lemon and celery.  I'll make a  few big batches of it, store it in mason jars and sip off of it throughout 3 or 4 days.

No carbs after 3pm and I'm referring to whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, couscous...the healthy carbs.  Half of a small sweet potato with dinner once or twice a week is fine.  When I'm really trying to look lean I will cut my carbs a lot.  I'll maybe only have carbs 2 times a week and my usual choice is oatmeal or ezekiel raison cinnamon toast.

No alcohol.  Sad, I know!  I would have started with this one at the top of the list, but then you might have shut off your computer.  Ha!  Alcohol is sugar and sugar turns into fat, it dehyrdrates you and after a glass or two most people abandon their diets.  We don't need the extra calories. 

2 servings of fresh, whole fruits daily.  This will help to control your sugar cravings.  So if you usually crave sugar in the afternoon or after dinner then eat your 2 servings then.  Think apples, mango, berries, etc.

Eat as many detoxifying veggies as you can.  All these veggies will fill you up so that you aren't starving.  Asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, garlic, kale, spinach, etc.  Steam them, Saute them, make veggie based soups or eat them raw.

Eat eggs!  The lecithin in eggs helps to break down fat in your body.  Eggs are my favorite source of protein; about 7 grams of protein per egg white and only 15 calories.  I usually start my day off with 1 whole egg and 2 extra egg whites.  (21 grams protein just in my first meal.)  Hard boil a dozen eggs and you will have a quick high protein snack option when needed.
Tons and I mean tons of water with lemon.  I'll be drinking 3 liters a day.  Start your day off with water and lemon first thing.  This one simple step can have you burning as much as 75 more calories a day. Buy big 1.5 liter bottles and make sure you finish 2 of them daily.

Find a few teas that you enjoy.  A good green tea, an herbal tea and a detoxifying tea.  A lot of cravings are all due to dehydration and oral fixations.  Drinking my tea has been a life saver...well, at least a waist saver.  

Buy a good protein powder that you like.  I would recommend a Whey powder since it has the highest BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) which are great muscle builders.  However, right now my favorite isn't a Whey option it is Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder.

No processed foods, no sugar other than your fresh fruits, and no artificial sweeteners.  Stevia is a plant based sweetener, available in liquid form that is 350-450 times sweeter than sugar, so a few drops go a long way!

No dairy unless it is a low sugar greek yogurt which is a great mini meal any time of the day.  Most people feel less bloated, lose weight and have more energy when they give up dairy. Switch out your milk for almond milk and put down the cheese.  

I feel like I don't have to say this but I'm going to anyways.  No smoking, no diet soda, no regular soda, no jams, no fruit juices, and no fried food.  I'm not even going to talk about why...we all know what we shouldn't be consuming.

Let's talk cheat meals...not cheat days, but cheat meals.  You can have one cheat per week, so make it worth it to you.  I'm sure my cheat will involve a glass of wine one night and I'm sure a type of a dessert on a different week.  Whatever it is that you love, allow yourself to eat it in moderation once a week and in a setting where you have prepared to go out and buy that cheat treat.  Don't keep your cheat treats at home.

Now that we have talked cheats you will want to throw out all the crap food from your kitchen. Nothing will break down clean eating faster than a pantry of highly processed sugary snacks, candy, ice cream, etc.  Go to the store, do some food prep and prepare to succeed for the next 21 days.

Here's a sample of my meals for one day:

Meal 1:  1 mug of hot water with lemon and 1 egg with 2 addition egg whites with salsa
Meal 2:  Hot green tea, an apple, and a hand full of almonds
Meal 3:  Spinach salad with some rotisserie chicken, a little olive oil, garlic, and some lemon juice
Meal 4:  Berries and  2% Fage Greek Yogurt
Meal 5:  Baked Salmon, steamed asparagus and 1/2 of a small sweet potato
Meal 6:  Protein bar and hot herbal detoxifying tea

Make sure you take your regular vitamins and supplements.  Drink water all day long and have a glass of water before each mini meal.

Can't wait to see you guys over the next 3 weeks and to see your results.  If you have any questions just leave a comment.

Xo Ashley


  1. This is the first time I leave you a comment, although not the first time I browse your beautiful blog. Just wanted to mention that I have been doing exactly the same thing you are doing now, for the last two months and it has made a world of change. I suffer from arthritis and had to stop painting because I'd get horrible cramps on my hands from carpal tunnel and pinched nerves (the beginning of the fibromyalgia perfect storm). So I eliminated all processed foods from my pantry and am eating fresh, local and organic as much as possible. Here in NY I can get everything I want at the farmers market with a token system that exchanges my food stamps for farmers market "coins" to pay for all my fresh veggies, fruit, meats, honey, breads... well, you get the idea. I stopped coffe and milk/milk products. Just have meat/chicken and/or cheese once every seven or eight days. The rest of the time is root vegetables, greens and other veggies and fruit. A bigh fruit-only shake (no yogurt, milk, juice or water)in the morning after taking my son to school. First thing is my green tea with honey and ginseng. I eat a small meal every three hours and try not to eat anything after 6 pm. But the main thing has been leaving all wheat products. Although not a celiac allergy sufferer, I've heard so many stories of people whose pain has dinminished considerably by leaving wheat, that I decided to give it a try. It has made a huge difference... Keep up the good work, I'm leaving my pain medication little by little and plan to be med free by next Spring. k. kajol

    1. What an inspiring story! We have seen the same results with clients and students. It's amazing how your body will naturally start to heal itself once you are nourishing it properly. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Replies
    1. Here's a past post on a few protein bars..

      Lately I've been eating PowerCrunch bars. I also like the Greens+ chocolate peanut butter bars.

  3. Hi Ash! I really want to do this! I'm wondering where the smoothie fits in? Does it sub a fresh fruit or count as a mini meal or is it in addition to everything and should be sipped throughout the day? Thank you for this detailed and motivating plan! - Courtney K

    1. Hi friend. My blended green smoothies usually count as a mini meal since they have healthy fats, protein and carbs. When I juice I usually also eat an egg, or a piece of ezekiel toast with coconut oil to get a little bit of healthy fat. xoxo

  4. Hi! I just discovered your blog and just love it! i've actually started your 21 day challenge and i'm loving it so far! I was wondering if you could give a few more examples of meals you would eat during this challenge. I feel like the more options I have, the longer I'll stick with it! Also, is balsalmic vinegar ok to eat with olive oil on salads? Thanks!!


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