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Tosca Reno's Eat Clean diet tips for the new year

Kathy A. Johnson is a freelance writer and editor in central Florida. Her work has appeared online and in print publications ranging from "Mothers & More Forum" to "Horse Journal."

Eat healthy, eat clean

Would you like to start 2012 with glowing skin, more energy and maybe even tip the scales a few pounds lighter? Tosca Reno, author of the Eat-Clean Diet series, wants to help. SheKnows caught up with Reno via email with some questions about the Eat-Clean program.
Pesto portobello piza

Eat clean for a lean physique

"Eating Clean is a lifestyle way of eating that helps you regain your health, fitness and lean physique, all by eating nutrient-dense, well-sourced and carefully prepared whole food," says Reno. "You eat six small meals per day spaced three hours apart. Each meal is filled with nourishment, leaving the body satisfied rather than looking for more. Lean protein is partnered with complex carbohydrate for the ideal fuel combination to spike the metabolism and burn fat."

Clean eating action plan

With its emphasis on real, whole foods, Eating Clean can be challenging for busy women. If you don't have much time to shop or cook, Reno suggests picking an afternoon on the weekend to do up a batch of chicken breasts, extra helpings of steamed vegetables and double the normal amount of brown rice -- "and you are ready to go for the week. If you can't prepare your own meals, shop at those grocery stores that offer prepared meats, vegetables and grains and have them at the ready for meal times." When she's especially pressed for time, Reno carries a cooler filled with water, hard-boiled eggs, whole fruit, baby carrots and other raw vegetables, raw nuts and/or a jar of natural nut butter.

Clear out the sugar

To begin Eating Clean, Reno advises starting with the toughest part of the job:

Identify sugar and where it exists in your eating and eliminate it. This is a challenge, but if you can do it, it also brings the greatest reward in terms of weight loss, improved health, increased energy and so much more.

Ditch the unhealthy drinks

Then begin clearing out all empty-calorie beverages you may be drinking, particularly sodas and fruit juices, and replace them with clean, filtered water. Drink at least three liters per day.

Take the garbage out

Next, clear out your cupboards of processed, packaged, junk and garbage foods. Replace them only with natural, whole, nutrient-dense foods and get ready for the results to happen. It won't take long.

Relish the feeling of slim and healthy

"No cookie, dessert or indulgence at the all-you-can-eat buffet tastes as good as slim and healthy feels," Reno notes. "I have been that obese mother weighing over 200 pounds. I ate myself sick. I ate myself fat. It was awful. Eating Clean replaces that illness with robust health. It is phenomenal to once again be in full possession of health, energy, vitality and the best version of you possible. Nothing beats it. And it is not too late to begin. I was 39 when I created Eating Clean and followed the plan to get myself slim. I am still doing it 12 years later and have kept my weight in check and age at bay. I encourage everyone to give themselves a chance by Eating Clean. You won't be disappointed."

Reno's newest book, Just the Rules!, is a brief, easy read, aimed at those who want an accessible way to quickly get started pursuing a healthier lifestyle.

Tosca Reno's pesto-stuffed portobello pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/2 cup basil lemon pesto (recipe below)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 4 campari tomatoes or other vine-ripened tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Using a soup spoon, scrape out gills from the underside of portobello caps and discard. Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto in each mushroom cap. Top with mozzarella and tomato slices, enough to cover the top of each mushroom.
  3. Place pizzas on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until the mozzarella is melted and mushrooms are cooking but still hold their shape (about 10 minutes).

Basil lemon pesto

Ingredients:

  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse garlic and pine nuts until chopped. Add the basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Pulse until chopped.
  2. While the processor is running, stream in olive oil until the pesto is blended and fairly smooth. Add Parmigiano Reggiano and pulse until combined. Pesto can be refrigerated covered for up to a week.

More healthy eating tips

6 Healthy eating myths -- debunked
Is buying local produce really healthier or just hip?
How to raise a healthy eater

Photo credit: Donna Griffith
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