The Eat Clean diet is a book detailing how eating clean can help you lose weight and regain physical health, energy and vibrancy. The diet centers around natural, unprocessed foods eaten in the correct combinations. Tosca Reno has done a wonderful job of creating a book with background, some science, advice on implementing it day to day, and finally a section with many recipes.
Eating Clean is not actually a diet created by Tosca Reno. It has been a fundamental part of natural bodybuilding since its heyday in the 50’s and 60’s. Venice Beach California, where the famous outdoor bodybuilding beach gym still operates, features a cornucopia of “clean eating” restaurants. But Tosca Reno and her late husband Robert Kennedy propelled it into mainstream by making it the focus of Oxygen Magazine.
Tosca Reno was a school teacher who became an Oxygen Magazine fitness model through the guidance of her husband Robert Kennedy. He started the publication and was in charge of all Credit: amazon.comof the publishing until his death this last year. Her personal story of weight loss provides an inspirational tone throughout the book.
HOW DOES IT WORK
How does it work? Eating Clean is actually pretty simple. Eat a portion of protein, fat and carbohydrates at each meal. Eat every 3-4 hours, which of course means smaller meals throughout the day. You need to drink plenty of water, exercise and stay away from “processed” foods.
Tosca has a great illustrative technique for defining a portion: A protein is the size of your palm. A carbohydrate can vary- regular carbs like whole-grain bread or fruit are a palm but vegetables are two palms put together.
The book provides you a daily menu to guide your food choices. Tosca calls them “coolers” because the idea is that you pack this “cooler” ahead of time and have it available for eating during the day. There are different “cooler” plans depending upon how much weight you have to lose. The strictest cooler plan incorporates low-carb principles.
WHAT DO YOU EAT
It is actually pretty easy.
Here is a sample menu:
Breakfast: ½ cup oatmeal and 4 egg white omelet
Snack: Natural peanut butter and ½ apple
Lunch: Chicken breast and whole wheat wrap with lettuce, tomatoes and olive oil dressing
Snack: Hummus and vegetables
Dinner: Poached salmon with brown rice and broccoli
Snack: Cottage Cheese and fruit
There are definitely plenty of snacking opportunities, but that means compromising on the large meals. No more big portions!
Tosca recommends avoiding processed foods. This means that you have to relearn how to cook. I am now gifted enough that I can substitute “clean eating” versions in recipes so that I am not restricted to the clean recipes. Here are some common substitutions:
Sugar: Try honey, molasses or pure maple syrup. In cookies, natural peanut butter and honey make a deliciously sweet substitute for fat and sugar.
All-purpose flour: Whole-wheat is the obvious substitution. But I really enjoy oat flour. I just grind up the quick cooking oats. It adds depth and flavor without being as heavy as the whole-wheat.
Sugary drinks: Tosca would say green tea or something. . . but I have found some soda water and just a bit of natural fruit juice is very satisfying. And there are no additional sugars!
Fats in Baking: Unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas are great substitutes. Most of her baking recipes feature applesauce.
THE BOOK ITSELF
The book is an easy read. There are plenty of graphics and pictures throughout and Tosca does a great job adding visual aids like tables and lists. The beginning goes through her beginning with weight struggles and health issues. She gives the readers inspiration as she recounts how she regained confidence, energy and happiness as she lost the weight.
The cooler descriptions are nice, it is always helpful to have specific guidelines when you are foraying into a new way of eating. They are a little rigid for some people and I myself did not follow them to a “t”.
The best part of the book is the recipes. I have her other recipe books as well, and I honestly use the recipes in this original book more than them. There is a recipe for turkey meatballs that is a staple at my house. It is the easiest recipe I have ever had for meatballs.
She does have some bean and vegetarian choices, but the entrées are largely meat-based. She also has a good sampling of “clean” deserts. Beware of her cookie recipe! It is way overboard for my taste. I believe it was close to 400 calories a cookie. And that is another good thing about her recipes- Tosca lists the complete nutritional information. You may be at a different point in your weight loss journey than someone else, and perhaps a 400 calorie cookie isn’t a good idea!
You can find many more recipes on her website. Go to the “kitchen table” section where people can post their own recipes. She also has published close to a dozen books in the series. There is the general "Eat Clean Diet", multiple cookbooks, and then books geared towards vegetarians or older readers.