AMERICA'S DOCTOR - Dr. Oz's 7-Day Clean Eating Challenge

Starting eating clean with this one week plan.

Clean eating is the act of eliminating all things processed from your diet and only eating fresh, natural food. The benefits of clean eating are vast: aside from it being better for your overall health, eating this healthy all the time can help you lose weight too. While you can't master clean eating in just seven days, the week-long plan below will help you prep and adjust to your new lifestyle so you are ready to go on day eight. Afraid you'll forget some of these tips? Print the guide here so you can take it with you wherever you go.

Day 1

On the first day of prep you should set your goals. Write down the reason you are deciding to eat clean as motivation to look back on when the going gets tough and you're really craving that bag of chips. Outline exactly what you want to accomplish with this new eating plan and the amount of time you expect to complete everything. Do you want to start slow and only eliminate sugar the first week and continue on until everything is eliminated in a month? Or do you want to start cold turkey and take everything away all at once? Think about exactly how you want to approach this new way of life before you begin as this will make it more manageable in the long run.  

More: What Is Clean Eating?

Day 2

Phone a friend to help you on your health journey. Challenges like these are always easier to do when you have a support system backing you up. Your buddy could be someone that also wants to try clean eating so that you can do it together, or it could just be someone who agrees to check in on your progress and make sure you're sticking to your goals. 

Day 3 

Make a list of all the things you have to eliminate. A clean eating diet means only natural foods are allowed to be consumed. Eating foods that have been processed can wreck your health and your body with the chemicals and preservatives they contain. Take a look at all the processed foods that you eat and you have in your house and put them on the list. Additionally, no liquids except for water should be allowed on this diet. Once you have your list, stick it up on your fridge or keep it on your phone as a quick reminder when you're at home, at the grocery store, or out to eat. 

More: The Clean Eating Supermarket Shopping List

Day 4 

Now that you compiled your list, it's time to get rid of everything that is on it. Clean out your fridge and your pantry and only leave clean foods behind -- like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products. If you have any unopened, non-perishable, food don't just throw it out. Instead, consider donating it to your local shelter. Make sure that everything is gone and there is nothing hidden anywhere for you to be tempted. If your family isn't going clean with you, make sure they know not to buy processed foods, or if they do, to keep them in a special cabinet that you aren't allowed to go into. 

Day 5 

Take some time to plan out your meals so you don't have any trouble when you first start your new lifestyle. You can either plan day by day for the next week, or you can come up with a list of a bunch of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack ideas to pull from whenever you need it. Just make sure that all the foods are included on your list are in the clean category. A sample day could be Greek yogurt with fresh berries for breakfast, a hearty salad for lunch, and a healthy protein with vegetables for dinner. 

More: 50 Clean Eating Smoothies

Day 6

Once you have your meals set, make a shopping list and go to the grocery store. Having a list is very important because it will help ensure you only buy clean foods that are on the list. Remember not to purchase anything processed. 

Day 7

Dedicate part of your day to meal prepping. It is easy to stay focused on a new diet and eating plan when everything is planned out and available for you. Prep whatever you can in advance to make your days easier and keep you on track.

More: 11 Ways to Make Meal Prepping Easy

Day 8 and Beyond 

Day eight will mark the official start of your clean eating plan. Now that you've done the seven days of prep work it is time to begin your new lifestyle. Some tips to remember for maximum success are first to cook and eat at home as much as possible. This will ensure that everything you are consuming is part of a clean eating diet. If you do plan to eat out, research the place before you go to know what you can have on the menu and maybe even call the restaurant to see if they can make modifications for you. Other tips include hydrating only with water and to add lots of colors -- aka fresh fruits and vegetables -- to your diet. 

More: 4 Rules to Eating Clean

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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