Transition to Clean Eating

Irrespective of what I say or how I communicate it you will end up doing what ‘works for you’… but there is really no harm in trying something right? So here is some information on what not to eat, what to eat and how to transition from one to the other.

The good, the bad and the ugly:

Based on the nutritional benefits each of these foods contain I have graded them from A to E.

Grade A : Green Vegetables, starchy vegetables, berries, lean meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, dairy, whey protein

Grade B : Beans, legumes (including peanuts), white potatoes. Why beans & legumes are not good.

Grade C : Rice, corn, quinoa (all non gluten containing grains). 10 Reasons to go grain-free.

Grade D : Wheat/gluten related products (bread, roti, tortilla… anything with gluten). Why gluten is bad.

Grade E : Sugar and junk foods (soda, cookies, pizza, fries, cheese puffs, biscuits etc.). Why sugar is pure evil- Must read!

Obviously  all your meals can’t contain only grade A ingredients.  But as long as the majority of your meals contain only grade A foods… you are super good to go!

Making the transition:

Reasons to make the transition:

  1. You will be gradually transitioning to meals which are far more superior than grain based meals.
  2. You will stay fuller longer due to consumption of real foods which have loads of fiber and high satiation.
  3. You micro-nutrient (vitamins and minerals) intake will drastically increase.
  4. You will lose fat without the pain of weighing and measuring food or counting calories.
  5. If you workout or play some sport you will  recover faster and perform better.
  6. You will still be able to eat your favorite foods every week. (Trust me when I say this, a once a week cheat meal makes you favorite foods taste so much better!)

The Transition:

  • Week 1: Have one clean meal per day. Clean meal = food prepared using Grades A & (if required) B. For the other two meals stick to your usual foods. Sunday will have 3 open meals. 6/21 (30%) meals will be clean (assuming you eat 3 meals a day)
  • Week 2: Have two clean meals per day. Clean meal = food prepared using Grades A & (if required) B. For the other meal stick to your usual foods. Sunday will have 2 open meals. 14/21 (65%) meals will be clean.
  • Week 3: Make all meals clean. Clean meal = food prepared using Grades A & (if required) B.  Sunday will still have 2 open meals. 19/21 (90%) meals will be clean.
  • Week 4: Stick to week 3… and if possible try to reduce the number of open meals on Sunday from 2 to 1. 20/21 (95%) meals will be clean.
  • By week 5 or 6 you should start experiencing higher energy during the day, fat loss, sound sleep, better performance, faster recovery and overall betterment in the quality of life.

    Sample 4-Week Transition:

    Week 1:

    • Monday & Tuesday: Dinner [Grades A, B only]
    • Wednesday & Thursday: Lunch [Grades A, B only]
    • Friday & Saturday: Breakfast [Grades A, B only]
    • Sunday: Open [All meals]

    Week 2:

    • Monday & Tuesday: Breakfast and Dinner [Grades A, B only]
    • Wednesday & Thursday: Lunch and Dinner [Grade A only]
    • Friday & Saturday: Breakfast and Lunch [Grade A only]
    • Sunday: Open [2 meals]; Other meal [Grade A only]

    Week 3:

    • Monday & Tuesday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner [Grades A, B only]
    • Wednesday & Thursday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner [Grades A, B only]
    • Friday & Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner [Grade A only]
    • Sunday: Open [2 meals]; Other meals [Grade A only]

    Week 4:

    • Monday & Tuesday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner [Grade A only]
    • Wednesday & Thursday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner [Grade A only]
    • Friday & Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner [Grade A only]
    • Sunday: Open [1 meal]; Other meals [Grade A only]

    Grain Free Recipe Resources:

    None of this in here could hurt you (except that you might love me for making you do this and that can’t be a good thing!). May be after 4 weeks you’ll end up eating clean only 60% of the time. But that’s still way better than eating crap 7 days a week (1400 times a year)!


    As a side note…

    My diet:

    Grade A – 95%

    Grade B – 0%

    Grade C -3%

    Grade D – 0%

    Grade E – 2%

    I don’t count calories but my estimation is that I eat anywhere between 1600-1800 calories per day. Let’s say 1700 calories for easy math. I have an awesome cheat meal once in 2 weeks which accounts to about 1000-1200 calories (The most recent cheat meal looked exactly like this + this +  this). Since my total calorie intake for 2 weeks is 1700 x 14 = 24,000 calories (apprx), the 1200 calories works out to 5% of my total calorie intake.

    29 responses to “Transition to Clean Eating

    1. shilpa August 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      What about alcohol?

      • RG August 25, 2010 at 8:46 am

        Need to write a post on that… thank you for the reminder.

        For now though…
        – Alcohol in moderation is perfectly OK. A glass or two of wine/scotch 2-3 times a week is perfectly fine… and may be good for you.
        – On the other hand… getting smashed every weekend is not a great idea.

        Will get into greater detail about good and bad choices of alcohol in the blog post.

    2. Dan Tirabassi August 25, 2010 at 2:42 am

      Awesome! I just started a beginner class at my gym, this article is perfect timing! Thanks. Dan

    3. Anjana August 25, 2010 at 4:02 am

      What can be the primary source of proteins for vegetarians if not legumes? I know one could have dairy, but what else?

      • RG August 25, 2010 at 8:42 am

        Whole Eggs, Egg whites (available separately so easier to use), hemp seed protein, dairy products (cheeses especially), whey protein powder (cheap and easily available), tofu (for women).

        Remember vegetables have a bunch of protein too. Eating 4 cups of vegetables will give you around 20 grams of protein.

        FYI – Legumes are not big on protein. They have 3 times more carbs than protein.

        See this post for a little more information –

    4. Ranjani August 25, 2010 at 8:42 am

      Great post Raj! You have really simplified it and made it seem like healthy eating is easy!

      • RG August 25, 2010 at 8:51 am

        Thank you Ranju.
        The idea is to balance things. One cant be so obsessed about food quality and/or quantity that he misses out on other awesome stuff in life (read: Oreo cookies)… at the same time… he needs to be prudent enough to make the right choices (quality & quantity) MOST of the time so he gets to experience more awesome stuff (read: Oreo cookie cheesecake) for longer!

    5. Sukanya August 25, 2010 at 10:22 am

      Nice! I’m going to try my best to stick to this plan but I have a sinful vacation coming up in a week 😦 Nevertheless, worth a shot!

      @Anjana – Whey Protein!

      • RG August 25, 2010 at 11:08 am

        Sukanya – Very easy to eat right when on a vacation! Just look for the right stuff to eat. Good foods are super tasty too!

    6. Sukanya August 25, 2010 at 10:40 am

      RG – I think you should come out with a post totally dedicated to good fats vs bad fats, how to identify, what to eat/what not to eat! I’ve come across quite a bit of contradicting reviews and honestly I’m in no better position than I was before reading them.

      Also, what category does “coconut milk” come under? Any benefits of using low-fat coconut milk vs the original? Is it ok to consume it on a regular basis (once or twice a week)?

      (P.S- I’m an addict to Thai food!)

      • RG August 25, 2010 at 11:15 am

        A blog post on fats is long due! I’ve been busy and not been able to get to it. Will try and get it out this week.

        Ok you’re gonna love me for this…
        coconut milk = awesome! it has MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) which are insanely good for you. twice a week is great!

        thai food – if you eat it at a restaurant watch out for the sugars and other random preservatives added. your best bet is to make thai curries at home. they’re super easy and super healthy.

        coconut milk+red bell peppers+mushrooms+ginger+paprika+salt+lime juice on LOW flame. add curry to your protein.

        but please skip the rice 🙂

    7. Sukanya August 25, 2010 at 11:33 am

      Any concerns about low-fat coconut milk vs full-fat version?? And the saturdated fats in CM are good fats?

      • RG August 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm

        Go for the “real” coconut milk you get at asian or indian stores. If you dont like the coconuty taste you can get the So Delicious brand

        The saturated fats in the coconut milk are good for you. I’ll cover that in the blog post. As long as you dont drink more than half a liter of coconut milk everyday you’re fine.

        As a general rule… anything that says ‘low fat’ or ‘fat free’ on the package has been processed and you’re better off staying away from it. Even regular milk… get used to drinking whole milk… just ensure you’re within your calorie limit.

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    14. Madhuram March 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Raj, I have stopped bookmarking pages from your blog because each and every post is very important. But this one is extremely useful. I’m going to print it out and stick it on the fridge. The links for recipe ideas makes it so much easier. Thanks a bunch for all the effort you are putting into this. God bless you.

      I also noticed one more thing, if we follow this type of diet, especially with the Grade A stuff, you save so much precious time, which would be otherwise spent in the kitchen, literally the whole day cooking 2-3 meals. That time can be put to use in so many other useful ways like exercising and reading more about this.

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    18. Kanika March 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      Good stuff Raj! I like the grading system – right now I would say I’m on 85% Grade A, 14% Grade B, 1% Grade C. Finding it hard to cut out the dals and beans,but fermenting/sprouting the hell out whatever I eat in that food group!

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