I decided to write The Quick & Clean Diet, which focuses on healthy eating, because my travels across America as a reporter have led me to understand that so many of us can eat a lot better than we do now, and I wanted to share my experience in that endeavor. I’ve always loved food. I look forward to cooking and eating, especially during the holidays—whether it’s Christmas, Easter or the Fourth of July! Eating is undeniably associated with pleasure — at least in my house — and I’d like to keep it that way. However, I’ve come to understand eating that way is simply not sustainable on a daily basis, if you want to perform at your absolute best.
I could always eat pretty much whatever I wanted to, but after I had kids, I struggled to get back to my normal weight and had little time to take care of myself. I worshiped sleep, not exercise. This is a common theme. In fact, I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. But at the same time, I wasn’t happy with the lack of exercise in my life and my constant craving for stimulants. I lived on coffee, sugar and carbs. That garbage diet made me even more tired and unfulfilled.
Finally, one day I hit a wall and told myself I had had enough. But here’s the key: instead of beating myself up, I took the kind approach. I admitted to myself I was doing a lot in my life—probably too much, and that may be why I continued to reach for easy fixes—stuff that put me in a deeper whole, instead of making my body feel better. Then, I made a list of all the foods I love — the good and the bad. I started focusing on the “good stuff” and pushing away the bad. I also set up parameters for eating because I needed some structure, at least in the beginning. Immediately it began to work for me. So much so that I started implementing it with my family, because they love naughty food too. That’s when I started writing The Quick & Clean Diet. It’s all about eating clean — consuming foods in their most natural state, as opposed to heavily processed meals. It’s also about consuming all types of foods in all of your meals: proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates and good fats. There’s no feeling of deprivation or loss because that never works. The Quick & Clean way of eating is all about embracing your love of food and always feeling satisfied.
But keep in mind, in my house, we never say never. We always enjoy our splurges and all of our traditions, but then we go back to our “mindful” way of eating because it makes all of us feel and perform our very best.
Dari Alexander's "Quick & Clean Diet" book is in stores now.