Frequently Asked Clean Cuisine Q & A ~
1. How is Clean Cuisine book different than your typical clean eating / whole foods diet?
We shift the focus away from deprivation and introduce a whole new world of cuisine that combines flavor with superior nutrition. It’s a totally different mindset. Instead of saying, “Oh, I can only eat XX amount of carbs or XX number of fat grams,” we want people to say to themselves, “How can I get more fruits and vegetables into my diet? How can I make sure I am getting enough omega-3 fats? Did I eat enough phytonutrients and antioxidants today?” There is no shortage of food on Clean Cuisine!
Instead of encouraging people to “count their food” in the form of calories, carbs, fat grams, etc., we want people to learn how to make their food choices count nutritionally. And then we show them how to make their food taste amazing. Tasty food is a very important component of Clean Cuisine!
2. If you don’t focus on calories, carbs, fat grams, etc. then what do you primarily focus on?
We focus on nutrients! The best way to get the most nutrition is to eat predominantly plant-based foods in their most natural and unrefined state. This means you want to go for corn instead of corn flakes or steel cut oats instead of a granola bar that is “made with oats” (but also made with a bunch of junk like high fructose corn syrup, processed corn oil, etc.), you want to eat apples—with their skins on!!—instead of applesauce.
Clean Cuisine is an anti-inflammatory and nutrient-rich way of eating that places heavy emphasis on getting enough phytonutrient and antioxidant-rich plant foods from unrefined sources (all fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, unrefined whole grains, beans, legumes, etc.) Omega-3 rich seafood is also encouraged.
We also include small amounts of quality organic and pastured beef, pastured organic eggs and pastured organic chicken into the Clean Cuisine lifestyle. As a deliciously decadent alternative to milk, we introduce nut milks and nut creams such as cashew nut milk, pecan milk, almond milk, hemp milk, etc. (note: small amounts of cream are allowed in coffee though and a very small amount of organic cheese from grass-fed cows is acceptable as a “condiment”.)
3. Is Clean Cuisine 100% organic?
No. Not because eating 100% organic wouldn’t be utopia, but it’s just not realistic. Instead, we strongly encourage people to know as much about their food as they possibly can. Where did it come from? How is it packaged? How is it grown?
If you eat beef you want to know exactly what the cow ate and the conditions in which the cow was raised. If you eat canned beans you want to know whether they are packaged in a can that contains BPA. If you eat salmon you want to know what waters the salmon swam in and what food the salmon ate. All of these things matter. Once you learn where your food comes from you’ll be able to make educated decisions on what you eat and when it is important to go the extra organic mile.
Also, it is important in general to know that because animal foods are highest on the food chain they will contain more toxins than what are found in plant foods (the higher up on the food chain you go the more environmental toxins accumulate.) It is absolutely worth the extra money to spend organic on any animal foods you eat. But, since Clean Cuisine is a reduced animal-food way of eating doing this is not as costly as you might think.
And of course we always encourage people to be aware of the Environmental Working Group’s “clean fifteen” and “dirty dozen” produce.
4. You first became interested in nutrition after Ivy’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis (MS) over a decade ago and you believe following a Clean Cuisine lifestyle is the reason she has been able to remain symptom free for so long. Who else can the Clean Cuisine lifestyle benefit?
Pretty much anyone! Clean Cuisine combats the two most prevalent nutrition problems common in modern society; inflammation and malnutrition.
MS is an inflammatory condition just like asthma, common allergies, arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia, and even skin conditions such as eczema and acne. None of these conditions can be “cured” but their symptoms can all be dramatically reduced by eating anti-inflammatory Clean Cuisine.
As for malnutrition—we’re not referring to inadequate calorie intake, but rather inadequate nutrient intake and excess calorie intake. The malnourished body is hungrier than it needs to be and craves excess food. Conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity are intimately related to not feeling full and not being properly nourished. Clean Cuisine can, for all practical purposes, “cure” both of these conditions because it enables people to eat in a way that keeps them satisfied and full. You can lose weight without hunger eating Clean Cuisine and that is the most important component to a successful weight loss strategy. The doctors, nutritionists and weight loss specialists who promote weight loss by restricting food are missing the boat. Food restriction, deprivation and hunger will not work long term.
Importantly, Clean Cuisine isn’t just for people who are overweight or who have inflammatory diseases! Because Clean Cuisine is so rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients it is a superior diet for slowing the aging process. And!! Clean Cuisine is even a healthy way of eating that children can thrive on. In fact, we have raised our eleven-year old son eating Clean Cuisine and he is in remarkable health. He’s only been on antibiotics once in his life, he’s never had an ear infection, he doesn’t have asthma, he doesn’t have ADD and he is far from overweight. Our son is absolutely thriving on Clean Cuisine. We feel strongly it is never too early to start eating clean.
5. How does eating “Clean Cuisine” help you lose weight without hunger?
Clean Cuisine works for weight loss in a number of synergistic and overlapping ways:
- It’s rich in the nutrients your body needs to support a healthy metabolism and curb food cravings. Your body needs certain nutrients such as essential fats, B-vitamins, calcium, chromium, vitamin C, antioxidants and plant-based phytonutrients to support fat-burning and to “cure” food cravings. A low calorie, nutrient-poor diet will slow your metabolism and result in out-of-control food cravings.
- A Clean Cuisine plant-strong “whole foods” diet takes up a lot of bulk and space in your stomach because it is rich in both fiber and water, thus it works mechanically so you actually feel full on fewer calories. Clean Cuisine foods are also slowly digested, so they help keep you feeling full longer. One of the biggest differences people notice eating Clean Cuisine is that they don’t need to snack between meals (FYI: We aren’t big fans of snacking! We would rather people learn to enjoy three solid good meals rather than graze all throughout the day.)
- The foods are anti-inflammatory and any foods that decrease inflammation help your body burn fat. Although Clean Cuisine is not a low-calorie diet, the foods we encourage activate your body’s PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activated receptors) receptors that help your body burn fat for energy as well as improve sensitivity to insulin. When you eat Clean Cuisine you can lose weight without a drastic calorie reduction.
- The foods are slowly digested and keep your blood sugar levels stable while also suppressing insulin, which is your body’s primary fat-storage hormone.
- Clean Cuisine foods are so filling and so satisfying that by default you end up drastically reducing the empty-calorie foods (such as trans fats, sugars, processed flours, refined vegetable oils, etc.) that are known to thwart weight loss, increase insulin resistance and stymie weight loss.
6. You talk a lot in your book about Clean Cuisine being flavor-forward. Is there a health reason you emphasize flavor?
Yes! There are absolutely health benefits to eating flavor-forward Clean Cuisine. Once upon a time the “bland” diet was a staple of clinical diet prescriptions but these days experts in nutrition recognize a healing and health promoting diet need not and should not be bland or boring. Just the opposite! Research now confirms our kitchen spice racks and fresh herb gardens are chock full of healing, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory substances—and they make our food taste better too!
Because Clean Cuisine is so rich in phytonutrients not only from plant foods but also from herbs and spices, it is by default, also exceptionally flavor-forward. But, just as we encourage people to eat a variety of different phytonutrient-rich foods, we also encourage them to eat a variety of phytonutrient-rich spices and herbs. This is because each spice and herb offers its own unique range of health promoting properties. Every time you season a recipe with herbs and spices you substantially boost your intake of powerful disease-fighting phytonutrients and maximize nutrition for zero added calories. Every little bit you add counts too! If you look at the culinary history of ethnic cuisine you’ll notice traditional cultures such as Italian, Indian, Thai, Japanese, etc., all incorporate herbs and spices into their food; Clean Cuisine relies heavily on flavor combinations borrowed from a number of different cultures.
Boosting the flavor of your food could even help you lose weight! From an anatomic standpoint there is a direct relation between the olfactory bulb at the top of the nose and the brain’s satiety (fullness) center. While a complete understanding of satiety is complex and still not fully understood, we know from Ivy’s cooking classes and our “Health and Body Makeover Programs” that people always note how they are surprised at how they are so much more satisfied after eating flavor-forward Clean Cuisine meals than from eating unseasoned and bland “diet” foods. When you are satisfied with your meals you end up eating less.
Ivy does the recipe development for Clean Cuisine and she can be rather daring in the kitchen. We think people are often too timid and too conservative about what food goes with what—if it’s too bland we always joke we need to “ivy-fy” it! Flavor is absolutely a big component of Clean Cuisine.
7. The concept of “detox” is big these days. Does Clean Cuisine help with detox?
We absolutely do not support extreme detox programs (such as fasting, colonics, celebrity-driven detox diets like the “Master Cleanse”, etc.) Not only are such extreme detox methods unnecessary, they are ineffective and can potentially cause serious stress and harm to your body. Having said that, Clean Cuisine is actually a naturally detoxifying way of eating….
Nature provides all the nutrients your body needs for safe and effective detoxification; you simply need to get the nutrients into your body and of course keep as many toxins as you can out!
Here are just a few of the Clean Cuisine lifestyle recommendations that assist with detox:
- Eating more plant-based phytonutrient rich foods. The phytonutrients in plant foods stimulate detoxification enzymes and help to cleanse and naturally detoxify the body.
- Eating more fiber-rich “whole” carbs: Fiber helps speed the removal of toxins from your body.
- Eating less animal foods (generally we like to tell people to eat meat no more than 1 meal per day—go vegetarian till dinner! If you feel you need a heartier breakfast then organic, pastured eggs can help keep you full.) Whether they are organically raised or not, animal foods contain considerably more toxins than plant foods simply because they are higher up on the food chain—the higher up on the food chain you go the greater the chance of acquiring more toxins found in the environment.
- Eating Probiotic & Prebiotic-Rich Foods (and taking a probiotic supplement.) Prebiotics from fruits, vegetables, whole grains (such as barley and wheat), garlic, beans, flax, etc. stimulate the growth of “good” bacteria in our guts. The “good” bacteria (and supplemental probiotics and probiotic-rich fermented foods such as miso, tempeh and sauerkraut) help filter toxins in our gut before they can get into our bloodstream. Their presence also supports digestion and speeds the transfer time of toxic waste in our colon, thus preventing toxins from being reabsorbed and helping to keep bowel movements regular.
- Hydrate with Green Tea. InAugust 2006 a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that teais a healthier choice than almost any beverage, including pure water, because tea not only rehydrates as well as water it also provides a rich supply of polyphenols—including catechins (antioxidants)— that are protective against numerous diseases (including heart disease.) Green tea is particularly detoxifying because it not only washes toxins out of the system through its liquid content but the catechins in green tea are known to improve liver function and even support weight loss.
- Have a “Supercharged” Green Smoothie Once a Day. Greens and fruits are among the most detoxifying foods on the planet! We always encourage people to have a Green Smoothie mid-morning or mid-afternoon (in place of snacking) made with any combination of leafy greens (parsley, kale, spinach, cilantro, watercress, arugula, etc.) plus water, any frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, pineapple, mango, etc.), ginger root, and a scoop of powdered greens (Barlean’s, Green Vibrance, Gen Essentials Greens)—or take greens in a capsule such as Juice Plus+ and a tablespoon or two of chia seeds (great for omega-3, antioxidant and fiber boost)
8. The Clean Cuisine lifestyle also emphasizes the importance of fitness. What is your general fitness philosophy?
Everybody needs to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Not only does exercise reduce inflammation, it is proven to promote longevity and it really is the only way you can keep your body strong, firm and shapely as you age. You won’t need to worry about wearing Spanx if you do the right type of exercise!
The good news is, you don’t need to spend all day at the gym to have a great body and you don’t need to run a marathon either. In fact, you don’t even need to go to the gym and you don’t need to do any traditional cardio exercise like running or biking.
Our fitness philosophy emphasizes quality over quantity because 1) quality workouts deliver better results and 2) most people don’t have the free time to spend hours exercising each week. Besides, studies actually show you can reap significantly greater fat loss and significantly more metabolism-boosting muscle gain by performing short, high-intensity workouts as compared to longer-duration, lower-intensity workouts.
9. How would you best describe Clean Cuisine’s Full Fitness Fusion workout program?
“Full Fitness Fusion” is a full body, fully functional and fully transformational workout program that fuses the most effective exercise training techniques into one time-efficient 30-minute solution workout that can be done in the privacy and convenience of your own home.
One of the biggest differences in our workouts and other workout programs is that we don’t focus on the number of calories spent during the time working out—instead we focus on boosting your metabolism post-workout. Post-exercise metabolic increase is where you’ll get the most bang for your fitness buck. The truth is about 70 percent of the calories you burn each day are burned solely to support basic bodily functions, including tissue repair—only about 15 percent of the calories you burn are due to exercise and movement, and the remaining 15 percent of the calories your body burns are used to digest the food you eat. Our Clean Cuisine workouts go after the “big” percentage metabolic increase by forcing your body into repair mode and making you fitter and firmer … faster!
10. Just like there is a story behind the development of your diet, there is also a story behind Clean Cuisine’s Full Fitness Fusion workout program. How did you develop this workout system?
Our “”Full Fitness Fusion” workouts are unique because they really get your heart rate up, they make you sweat and they get you out of breath quickly, but they are zero-impact, zero-cardio routines. Ivy created the workout system out of necessity for herself because she wanted to stay fit and lean but she couldn’t do traditional exercises like jogging or even swimming due to a congenital disorder called femoral retroversion that was causing tremendous hip pain for years and early hip degeneration. In January 2012 she underwent a major surgery (a derotational osteotomy) where her thigh bone was broken in half and the top portion of her femur was rotated 22 degrees back to the anatomically correct position. Ivy couldn’t walk for over 6 months, but she could still do our “Full Fitness Fusion” workouts. They are great for people who have orthopedic issues as well as back pain.
10. In a nutshell, how would you best describe Clean Cuisine?
Clean Cuisine bridges the gap between what we should eat, what tastes good, what is best for our bodies and what is actually doable in the real world. But Clean Cuisine is not just about food…it’s a complete lifestyle—including fitness and nutritional supplementation. And most important, it is a lifestyle that is doable and enjoyable—this is the way our family lives and eats. We’ve been doing this for over a decade, so we’ve worked out all the kinks and we’ve figured out a way to make whole-body healthy living work and be sustainable in the real world.