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  1. #1
    I Train to Bring You Pain kfisherx's Avatar
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    The "clean eating" and "cheating" thread

    For future reference (keep repeating this over and over and over so here it is in as clear of a post as I can possibly do so I don't have to type it over and over again...)

    Clean Eating:
    What is this? Dang good question and one that you will never, ever get a majority consensus on the definition. For the most part everyone agrees that eating clean includes eating whole foods as much as possible but beyond that the definitions go all over the place. Even within the realm of "whole" foods, there are arguments about what are "clean" versus "dirty" foods. Some people think eating any meat is dirty, while others only think dark meat is dirty food. My daughter used to think that eating any animal with a "cute" face was dirty eating so only ate chicken and shrimp. Some people will not eat anything stemming from an animal and others think that eating white rice is dirty but will eat brown rice all day long. This goes on ad nauseam in bodybuilding conversations so if you come to a bodybuilding conversation and start talking about "clean" eating, you might well have a definition of what that means in mind but don't assume that is the same definition that others will have in the conversation.

    Defining Clean Eating BKM (Best Known Method):
    Since every person has their own definition of clean eating, I prefer to never use the term and instead refer to myself as either eating on-plan or off-plan. But since I concede the term will never, ever die, let's establish guidelines for setting up your personal definition of clean eating that are known to be good (AKA work for most everyone).

    At one extreme end of the "clean" definition are the folks who will only eat non-processed, whole foods and add in a bunch of other extremely ridiculously hard to follow guidelines. Anything outside of these "rules" of eating == cheating. At the other end of the spectrum are the folks who are completely unaware of what they eat and really don't care. They will eat anything.

    A good guideline for establishing a sustainable diet is to find a happy place somewhere in the middle of these extremes. One of the very best known methods I have found is to understand and set daily caloric and macro-nutrient numbers that meet your goals and then to eat within those goals without respect to whether or not a specific food is dirty or clean. Just hit your macro nutrient goals at the end of the day each and every day... (PERIOD)

    (see the sticky written by Emma-Leigh on setting caloric and macro nutrient goals here...)

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=121703921

    **The next component to the calorie and macros setting is the following guidelines
    @ 70% of food is whole or minimally processed foods that you love the taste of
    @ 10% is whole or minimally processed food that you are just meh about
    @ 10% in semi junky foods (like protein bars)
    @ 10% in the fun stuff (whatever you want so long as it fits in the macros for the day)

    **This ^ little bit of addition to the age-old calorie/macro guideline was first presented by Alan Aragon at the 2010 JP Fitness Summit in a presentation aptly named "Building the Perfect Beast". It is my understanding that these are guidelines as opposed to hard percentages. If I am not mistaken, Alan has plans to write some more on this concept in the future. (keep an eye out for that)

    Cheating
    This is a word typically used by people on the extreme end of the "clean" eating spectrum. The problem with this word and the concept is that it generally comes with feelings of guilt and failure. A better plan is to set up your personal definition as specified above and eat ANY foods that fit within that plan. Just like that you never have to cheat again and you get to eat foods that are just a tiny bit "naughty" too. WIN/WIN

    The "Which food is better" debate:
    Another argument that happens time and time and time again in bodybuilding circles is the "which is better" argument. Brown rice or white rice, sweet potato or white... etc, etc, etc.... These arguments are tiring because the answer is almost 100% that it really doesn't matter when talking the same types of foods. (comparing apples to apples or rice to rice, bread to bread, etc). You will inevitably hear time and time again from people who are 100% convinced they are right that brown rice is better than white rice, but don't be fooled. Look at this thread and read the posts by Alan Aragon and see that it is really NOT better either for health purposes or for fat loss... (hmmmm)

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=112341641

    Clean Food Nazi warning:
    Once it is definitively proven that white rice or brown rice (sweet potato or white, etc) really doesn't matter to a specific diet for either purpose, there will always be the "clean food Nazi" who chimes in with the "So I can eat candy bars instead of broccoli and that is okay?" in his/her most sarcastic voice. And believe it or not the answer to this is a big fat IT DEPENDS.

    Even a stupid and extreme comparison of broccoli to candy bar can easily be argued one way or the other given the amount of unique people and goals in this world. If I had a client who had performance goals (not bodybuilding) and had to eat a massive amount of carbs to fulfill her daily macro requirements and it was literally impossible to eat this amount in broccoli and actually perform on the field, which one is better? Obviously the snickers bar would win out in that situation given that the client otherwise followed the guidelines. The snickers bar would provide all the right macros and allow the client to actually eat to support her goal of having performance in her sport, Is that a better thing than trying to eat 2lbs of broccoli and failing and not getting it in at all?? I would say a resounding, "YES" to this.

    The Unique Factor:
    Mentioned lightly earlier in this post is that nutritional requirements and definitions of things like "clean" eating are all very individualized. That is the way it should be and a good thing. Keep in mind as you are walking this path that you are unique and your body will respond to things differently than your buddy might respond. You may (for example) get bloaty and swollen with water when you eat carbs and your buddy may remain stable. People call this "carb sensitive" and often stop eating carbs because they believe carbs cause them to gain fat. In reality it is all water weight and underneath the bloat you are both doing the same thing wrt losing fat. Still it doesn't make your way right or wrong unless you are falsely believing that you are "carb sensitive" and actually gaining fat while your buddy is losing it. If you cannot stand to see the water fluxing and chose to avoid carbs to stop that aspect that is perfectly acceptable and is what makes you uniquely you. Come into the game well informed and there really are no wrong answers or wrong paths to take provided you are happy with the results. What is wrong is if you believe that your results are the only right way or the best way for another person.

    Disclaimer
    *** I am a client and student of Alan Aragon and much of my understanding of nutrition stems from being a client as well as a subscriber to the AARR (http://www.alanaragon.com/research-review-entrance.html) As such, I am just a student... I welcome ANY and all argument/input/suggestion, etc to this post.
    Last edited by kfisherx; 07-10-2010 at 06:05 PM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User ajangel25's Avatar
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    Great post!! I always love your posts.. you get 'em girl!
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    Registered User mmMiko's Avatar
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    Thanks for listening
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    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    gosh you threw in percentages.

    'my diet is 68% wholly clean, 12% junky, 8% junk and 2 x 10% meh. is that ok?'

    "The human race is still largely a group of monkeys with slightly better grooming habits. Give them a microscope and and they'll examine their own ****, give them a telescope and they'll go looking for tits."
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  5. #5
    I Train to Bring You Pain kfisherx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mmMiko View Post
    Thanks for listening
    Your request was an catalyst in this work. Hope it clears some of that other thread up for you.

    Originally Posted by ajangel25 View Post
    Great post!! I always love your posts.. you get 'em girl!


    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    gosh you threw in percentages.

    'my diet is 68% wholly clean, 12% junky, 8% junk and 2 x 10% meh. is that ok?'

    Okay, now you did it wise-guy.... I am afraid I have to refer you to my "secret weapon" diet strategy... Prepare to be blown away...

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...#post515723163

    *Actually edited the original post to give credit to Alan for the guidelines as well as to stress that they are guidelines NOT strict percentages.
    Last edited by kfisherx; 07-10-2010 at 05:41 PM.
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  6. #6
    Registered User agility2live's Avatar
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    someone sticky this lol
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    Registered User andrerox80's Avatar
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    i think the general nutrition section needs this even more than we do. it's bad over there! good post.
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  8. #8
    Gettin' back up again Rowyn's Avatar
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    Good post! I think its easy to forget when you are arguing some of these points that the GOAL of the individual dictates how you eat---therefore, diets are not all the same and black and white. I think the fat loss thing can be confusing when it is mixed in with nutritional strategies to assuage hunger, too (ie eating complex versus simple carbs, for example. Cals may not matter, but one is more likely than the other to keep you feeling full).

    I like the whole/clean eating explanation in NROL too. Alan's percentage breakdown is also a great visual for people to quickly see a reasonable way to analyze food choices.

    Sticky is a good idea!
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  9. #9
    In search of abs..... baygirl65's Avatar
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    Thanks for this post!! I agree, sticky
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  10. #10
    Carbs are my friend... vandalgirl59's Avatar
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    As always, an A+ post from kfisherx! Thank you!
    ~Impatience never demanded success~

    ***Calculate your Calorie/Macro Needs HERE --> http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=156380533 ***
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  11. #11
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    Okay, I was gonna wait until there was more than 1 sticky request before whipping out the glue gun, but now we have 3 requests, so sticky it is. Thanks for the insightful, thorough, well-organized post, Karla. It touches upon some very important issues, and I'm sure it will help clear up some of the assumptions & misconceptions people have, as well as provide some practical guidelines.
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  12. #12
    I Train to Bring You Pain kfisherx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by andrerox80 View Post
    i think the general nutrition section needs this even more than we do. it's bad over there! good post.
    I hang out more in this section and help with the girls more so put it here. I intend to reference it from that other section though.

    Originally Posted by Rowyn View Post
    Good post! I think its easy to forget when you are arguing some of these points that the GOAL of the individual dictates how you eat---therefore, diets are not all the same and black and white. I think the fat loss thing can be confusing when it is mixed in with nutritional strategies to assuage hunger, too (ie eating complex versus simple carbs, for example. Cals may not matter, but one is more likely than the other to keep you feeling full).

    I like the whole/clean eating explanation in NROL too. Alan's percentage breakdown is also a great visual for people to quickly see a reasonable way to analyze food choices.

    Sticky is a good idea!
    Thanks for your comments on this and for the compliments. One of the things I have learned in the past years of working with Alan is how important not only the goal part of this equation is but also the "me" part of this equation (AKA: What I really want). The last AARR (June 2010) had an awesome article on "Should I bulk or cut" that really opened my eyes to this component. And while Alan used guidelines in his article that discouraged unhealthy goal setting he more pointed to the personal variable as the key to solving the question. Articles like that continually round out and improve my understanding of the bigger picture.

    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    Okay, I was gonna wait until there was more than 1 sticky request before whipping out the glue gun, but now we have 3 requests, so sticky it is. Thanks for the insightful, thorough, well-organized post, Karla. It touches upon some very important issues, and I'm sure it will help clear up some of the assumptions & misconceptions people have, as well as provide some practical guidelines.
    Uh... Wow... Did NOT expect this reaction. Thanks to all for the compliments on this piece. I am completely blown away and humbled by the responses. And most especially am excited to hear that Alan approves of the content of this. That means the world to me. I am finally growing up a bit here. Thanks brah for everything.
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  13. #13
    Registered User 10n2010's Avatar
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    OMG you totally rock kfisherx! Great post! I was just having an argument w my hubby about this very topic earlier! He has it bad w the whole "clean eating" thing and how he needs to "cut back". Lol when he says "cut back" he's talking abt when I use olive oil to cook or I have bacon for breakfast but not when he downs abt half a package of Oreo cookies! He kinda has an all or nothing approach to dieting/eating.
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    doing what i can. jagadzie's Avatar
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    karla, i'm not surprised in the least by everyone's (including Alan's) reaction. You are so giving and kind and knowledgable and sharing with your information. thank YOU for this post. you're a wealth of knowledge, but more importantly, the way you present it and communicate it is so easy to understand and follow. thank you!
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    Potato chip queen. fitlover's Avatar
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    Good post!
    ^_^
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  16. #16
    BRB - Gettin' shredded FemmeFatale28's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagadzie View Post
    karla, i'm not surprised in the least by everyone's (including Alan's) reaction. You are so giving and kind and knowledgable and sharing with your information. Until you say something really stupid that pisses her off bahaha thank YOU for this post. you're a wealth of knowledge, but more importantly, the way you present it and communicate it is so easy to understand and follow. thank you!
    The bolded I added myself as a joke, which is funny only because its true but I have grown to love it because I learned alot through your "tough love" and Im looking awesome these days IMO and can hardley believe some days that this really is my body! But yeah.. I just wanted to agree with this post and poke a bit of fun while I was at it
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  17. #17
    I Train to Bring You Pain kfisherx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FemmeFatale28 View Post
    The bolded I added myself as a joke, which is funny only because its true but I have grown to love it because I learned alot through your "tough love" and Im looking awesome these days IMO and can hardley believe some days that this really is my body! But yeah.. I just wanted to agree with this post and poke a bit of fun while I was at it
    HA HA HA Werd, right? Kim and I are, Bad Cop/Bad Cop. We need us a few Good Cops in this folder. Someone who can better tolerate people who are stubborn... (Like you were at first) Seriously though it is now pretty cool to see how far you've come once ya started to put the knowledge into application. To be fair, yours was a bit harder than most due to your job being so physically demanding.
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    Great, I was already beating myself up for not going to JP, now you are giving me a bit of what I missed! Good post.

    Like I said in another thread I consider anything out of my macros goal for the day a "cheat" meal. For example, someone brought me some chicharron burritos for lunch last week, there is no way I was going to say no and there is no way chicharron burritos were going to fit in my macros that day...but it was a good call and I'd do it again :-)

    Having worked with Alan, for a brief stint, I learned how to incorporate enjoyable foods everyday into my diet. I never have a meal I'm not looking forward to. Tomorrow, chicken fajitas with some authentic pico de gallo.
    Last edited by eriram; 07-11-2010 at 11:34 PM.
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    BRB - Gettin' shredded FemmeFatale28's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kfisherx View Post
    HA HA HA Werd, right? Kim and I are, Bad Cop/Bad Cop. We need us a few Good Cops in this folder. Someone who can better tolerate people who are stubborn... (Like you were at first) Seriously though it is now pretty cool to see how far you've come once ya started to put the knowledge into application. To be fair, yours was a bit harder than most due to your job being so physically demanding.
    Yeah you know.. you go all of your years hearing the same things ( broscience) over and over and over again and then you come to a place like this to learn you have been seriously uninformed lol.. But I got it now ( the basics) and I am learning everyday! I remember the days when PT used to kill me. Now I am beasting it.. Im excited but nervous for my next PT test. I'll let you know that one goes. Aiming for a 270 or higher. 300 would be optimal but idk if Im quiet there yet!
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    Originally Posted by jagadzie View Post
    karla, i'm not surprised in the least by everyone's (including Alan's) reaction. You are so giving and kind and knowledgable and sharing with your information. thank YOU for this post. you're a wealth of knowledge, but more importantly, the way you present it and communicate it is so easy to understand and follow. thank you!
    ^^ This!

    Thanks Karla! I didn't even realize who Alan really was - I mean I'd heard and seen the name. (I'm such a NOOB! But hey, but most folks here aren't going to know the top trainers/riders/veterinarians in dressage so... )

    Seriously, I also jumped over to read the thread you listed in this post, and from there went to Alan's site and read almost every article and the blog posts for the past two months. Learned a TON of stuff! In fact, I'll probably have to go back and read everything a couple of times because there is SOOOO much information.

    In fact, I'm passing on the url to my personal trainer as I've heard him mention some things that would fall under bro-science. It's very easy to get mislead when trying to navigate the waters between actual fact and bro-science. It's extremely difficult for a noob to know the difference. After all, if it's on the internet it must be true!

    There lies the rub. But I'm really glad you posted this, if folks take the time to do a little research and actually READ they can discover a lot for themselves. I really like Alan's site because he picks apart the studies and writes so the layman can understand.

    Thanks again for the great post. For me, it actually lead to even bigger discoveries!
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    Originally Posted by eriram View Post
    Great, I was already beating myself up for not going to JP, now you are giving me a bit of what I missed! Good post.

    Like I said in another thread I consider anything out of my macros goal for the day a "cheat" meal. For example, someone brought me some chicharron burritos for lunch last week, there is no way I was going to say no and there is no way chicharron burritos were going to fit in my macros that day...but it was a good call and I'd do it again :-)

    Having worked with Alan, for a brief stint, I learned how to incorporate enjoyable foods everyday into my diet. I never have a meal I'm not looking forward to. Tomorrow, chicken fajitas with some authentic pico de gallo.
    You TOTALLY missed out on theh fun. The JP Fitness Summit really is like no other event and this year was nothing short of amazing for learning too. During the day, you get to hear the likes of Alan talking and at night you get to get them drunk. LOL!!! If you can make it next year, I'd highly recommend it. I've gone the past two years and have had huge fun both times as well as learned more than I can digest in the entire year before the next one.

    Originally Posted by FemmeFatale28 View Post
    Yeah you know.. you go all of your years hearing the same things ( broscience) over and over and over again and then you come to a place like this to learn you have been seriously uninformed lol.. But I got it now ( the basics) and I am learning everyday! I remember the days when PT used to kill me. Now I am beasting it.. Im excited but nervous for my next PT test. I'll let you know that one goes. Aiming for a 270 or higher. 300 would be optimal but idk if Im quiet there yet!
    Yep, but the good ones do absorb and move forward. You are doing just that and my best is that you hit your first class score from here on out.

    Originally Posted by equestrian View Post
    ^^ This!

    Thanks Karla! I didn't even realize who Alan really was - I mean I'd heard and seen the name. (I'm such a NOOB! But hey, but most folks here aren't going to know the top trainers/riders/veterinarians in dressage so... )

    Seriously, I also jumped over to read the thread you listed in this post, and from there went to Alan's site and read almost every article and the blog posts for the past two months. Learned a TON of stuff! In fact, I'll probably have to go back and read everything a couple of times because there is SOOOO much information.

    In fact, I'm passing on the url to my personal trainer as I've heard him mention some things that would fall under bro-science. It's very easy to get mislead when trying to navigate the waters between actual fact and bro-science. It's extremely difficult for a noob to know the difference. After all, if it's on the internet it must be true!

    There lies the rub. But I'm really glad you posted this, if folks take the time to do a little research and actually READ they can discover a lot for themselves. I really like Alan's site because he picks apart the studies and writes so the layman can understand.

    Thanks again for the great post. For me, it actually lead to even bigger discoveries!
    Don't be too dissappointed if your trainer doesn't absorb all of Alan's stuff. Many trainers come to his site with their cups too full to get it. Alan's material so often flies in the face of what the self-claimed experts think they know.

    You would really benefit from subscribing to Alan's monthly AARR if you like the stuff he gives away for free. I have been reading this for the past 2 years now and it is the only subscription I have and the only one that I read every single month. At first it took me a long time to digest even one article but now I feel more comfortable reading it. Like you said, he takes the real technical, geeky, science of nutrition and training and breaks down all the facts for the layman. I don't have to spend hours and hours and hours reading articles in pubmed to find the stuff that pertains to a specific topic. He does that for me and then helps me to comprehend it too. I remember in the begining of my subscription period how I would read a study and come to a conclusion about that study only to find out how the study was flawed and so also was my conclusion. Now I am better at finding the flaws myself. My critical thinking skills have gone through the roof reading this monthly pub. Good stuff and today is the new issue in fact. Yeah buddy!!!
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    JC has a pretty good article on the main site about this issue.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/your-healthy-diet-it-doesnt-have-to-be-boring.htm
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    Thank you for posting this Karla! I usually roll my eyes and skip over the 'clean diet' posts in the nutrition forum cause they're just so annoying!
    Hi, my name is Ellen, and I'm a peanut butter addict...

    I do this because I can. I can because I want to. I want to because you said I couldn't.
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    Originally Posted by nunu713 View Post
    Thank you for posting this Karla! I usually roll my eyes and skip over the 'clean diet' posts in the nutrition forum cause they're just so annoying!
    Yeah me too...
    Especially when people post something like "You can't have abs unless you eat eggwhites, broccoli and brown rice all day".
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    Originally Posted by kfisherx View Post
    I welcome ANY and all argument/input/suggestion, etc to this post.
    Great post! The only point of contention I have is that I think there's a little more to carb sensitivity than bloat. I agree that most people do mistake bloat for carb sensitivity; however, I know that macros can affect weight loss and performance. Given equal calorie levels (even after adjusting for thermic effect differences between each macro), some people will lose more weight on a low carb diet while others will lose less weight. Personally, when I tried a low carb diet, my weight loss fell way below my expectations, and I think it's because my NEAT went way down, making my calorie deficit a lot lower than what I thought it was. I can create a much larger deficit on the same calorie level if I keep my carbs high. Other people have experienced the opposite and feel energized on low carb diets, so there must be more to the carb sensitivity thing than just bloat.
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    This is good. So sick of people pouring tons of "healthy/clean" olive oil into the skillet while cooking and then wondering why they are not losing weight.

    Or people who exist on 100 calorie packs and lean cuisines and wonder why they have little energy and can't gain muscle.
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    Wow, great post! I can't tell you how much of a challenge the nutrition aspect has been. I "discovered" clean eating about 8 months ago and can honestly say I took some aspects from the various topics and applied it to what I learned in several nutrition course. My biggest downfall that I had, was that I was eating a lot of processed low-fat foods that I thought would help me stay lean...boy was I WRONG! Once I started replacing the snack bars with fruit, nuts (unsalted/unroasted), and dairy products I started to crave the crap less and have finally started to lean out. But the whole premise that people will get fit and be thin, eating clean is a farce if they don't bother to look at their macros.

    After, reading Emma's post about macros and calories, I was prepared to start counting my calories and at the very least my protein. I was shocked to find that I was shorting myself significantly by not eating enough protein (sometimes only 20-40g a day).

    Like many people I didn't give nutrition enough credit in the process of body transformation. Thank you providing more insight to such a challenging topic!
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    what is good meal plan for a female 29, 5"6' 190 lbs who wants to lose body fat. My current body fat is between 36-38%
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    Originally Posted by Tiffany_P View Post
    Great post! The only point of contention I have is that I think there's a little more to carb sensitivity than bloat. I agree that most people do mistake bloat for carb sensitivity; however, I know that macros can affect weight loss and performance. Given equal calorie levels (even after adjusting for thermic effect differences between each macro), some people will lose more weight on a low carb diet while others will lose less weight. Personally, when I tried a low carb diet, my weight loss fell way below my expectations, and I think it's because my NEAT went way down, making my calorie deficit a lot lower than what I thought it was. I can create a much larger deficit on the same calorie level if I keep my carbs high. Other people have experienced the opposite and feel energized on low carb diets, so there must be more to the carb sensitivity thing than just bloat.
    You know I agree 100% with you and am thinking on changing that part up a bit. I did NOT get into the macro manipulation/NEAT effects because I think that deserves a whole 'nother thread. I am thinking of how to work in your suggestion though so it isn't a point of contention. I did not mean to imply that carb bloat is the ONLY thing is possible so perhaps I will just reword things a bit to be less black/white. (And work on the macro manipulation post as a different thread, because I think that is a brilliant topic too)

    Originally Posted by eriram View Post
    JC has a pretty good article on the main site about this issue.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/your...-be-boring.htm
    Thanks for the linky

    Originally Posted by nunu713 View Post
    Thank you for posting this Karla! I usually roll my eyes and skip over the 'clean diet' posts in the nutrition forum cause they're just so annoying!
    Originally Posted by juliacheh View Post
    Yeah me too...
    Especially when people post something like "You can't have abs unless you eat eggwhites, broccoli and brown rice all day".
    Originally Posted by IronCitGrl View Post
    This is good. So sick of people pouring tons of "healthy/clean" olive oil into the skillet while cooking and then wondering why they are not losing weight.

    Or people who exist on 100 calorie packs and lean cuisines and wonder why they have little energy and can't gain muscle.
    Originally Posted by lhoneym View Post
    Wow, great post! I can't tell you how much of a challenge the nutrition aspect has been.
    Thanks ladies for the comments and the kind words. It is so funny. Alan put me on strict rest orders for the past month after finishing a succesful first season with my full contact football team and I have never been more creative or productive at work and in my writings. Just goes to show that life is all about balance.

    Originally Posted by emoticon View Post
    what is good meal plan for a female 29, 5"6' 190 lbs who wants to lose body fat. My current body fat is between 36-38%
    Uh... Did you bother to actually read this post or the sticky that I linked above? All your answers are in these posts. Not sure what you specifically are looking for...
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    Eggs Benedict, love it :)

    This morning I had eggs benedict for breakfast, at a restaurant. Here it is dinnertime, and after having my dinner AND having a beer, I will still be in my calorie and macro budget. Now granted I did scoop a lot of the sauce off, and didn't eat every bite of the english muffin, but I was generous on my calculations (meaning I put in a little bit more than I thought it might have been). Now that's some good clean eatin'.....

    Am I mistaken that this is okay? I mean, I wouldn't eat that every day.....but only because there's lots of other good food to eat!
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