Tosca Reno Author, Eat Clean Diet Book Series
What is Eating Clean?
Eating clean is a term that is not new to physique athletes, but is something that the mainstream is becoming more and more aware of, thanks to Tosca Reno and the spotlight obesity and unhealthy eating has been getting. What Tosca and I promote is a lifestyle which is centered on Eating Clean. What is Eating Clean and the lifestyle that goes along with it? Eating Clean is a way to turn your life around and is a lifestyle you should choose and embrace and is based on 6 principles which involves:
- Eating 6 small meals a day
- Eating breakfast – Breakfast is MANDATORY because that sets the tone for the rest of your day (breakfast idea: hardboiled or scrambled egg whites with a bowl of oatmeal)
- At each meal you eat lean proteins and complex carbohydrates (Complex Carbohydrates come from fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.)
- Consume healthy fats – Our brain is 75% and healthy fats are good for brain health
- Drinks lots of water – The more water you drink, the better it is for your metabolism
- Portion Control – pay attention to portion sizes by sing the palm of your hand as a guide.
Foods to avoid
Avoid all the over processed foods, particularly foods that are made of white flour and sugar, foods containing chemical preservatives, artificial ingredients, artificial sweeteners, saturated and trans fats, sugar loaded beverages and if you do drink alcohol, have it in moderation. Avoid what Tosca calls, “anti-foods” which are foods that have no nutritional value. And lastly, don’t supersize your meals.
The book that started it all
Tosca’s first book, The Eat Clean Diet was an instant success which spawned several other books creating the Eat Clean Series and although each book is based on the Eat Clean principles, they’re all different and more are on the way.
In the first Eat Clean Diet Book, Tosca shares her story of how she went from being unhappy and overweight to how she shed those pounds and rediscovered herself. The first Eat Clean Diet book has been replaced with The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged which as Tosca describes it, “is the first book on steroids.” It’s been beefed up with the experiences of her readers and the experiences of what she learned over the last 10 years on Eating Clean. That book was quickly followed up with the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook which is chock full of quick, easy, delicious, healthy, Eat Clean recipes. There is also the Eat Clean Diet Workout which is not only for the novice, but the person who wants to compete as a physique athlete. Other books include the Eat Clean Diet for families and Kids which has a cleaned up recipe for Chicken Nuggets your family will love, and the Eat Clean Diet for men. Tosca also has a hardcover, coffee table book called Tosca Reno’s Cookbook. Tosca says she has two more books in the works.
One of the things that happens to us as we get older is that we forget to put ourselves first, particularly since we seem to be short on time, there are more stresses and we seem to be doing more multi-tasking. Because of this fast paced lifestyle we live in, many of us forget to put ourselves first and let themselves go and can sometimes feel guilty taking time for ourselves. People need to be more aware of the importance of putting yourself first for your physical as well as mental and emotional health. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Tosca talked about motivation and finding motivation. To re-motivate herself, for her 51st birthday she has taken on a goal she has never done before and is competing in her first tri-athalon. She may also do another figure competition shortly there after. That is very remarkable, inspiring and motivating! To train and prepare for these type of events takes time, commitment, discipline and is accomplishing this with her very busy schedule. If you keep telling yourself that you don’t have enough time, or there aren’t enough hours in the day to eat healthy and exercise, think again. There’s someone busier than you that finds the time to do it and Tosca is proof of that!
Tosca explained motivation is something we all have to tap into. You need to make yourself a priority. Too many people put themselves at the bottom of their to do list. You need to put yourself at the top of that list and begin to tap into motivation to keep yourself there. Tosca’s children were her motivation for turning her life around because she wanted to be around to live a long healthy life to see her children grow up. You can find different strategies to tap into motivation by setting goals. These goals need to be small ones in the beginning. Small goals are the most amazing gems you can do for yourself. Once you’ve achieved a goal, you feel a flood of accomplishment and you become motivated to keep on going.
Giving the body shape
When women think of exercise, they tend to become cardio queens and tend to shy away from using free weights and if they do, they stick to the 3 – 10 lb dumbbells afraid that if they use heavier weights, they will get big and bulky. Tosca and I both know that is not the case. Muscle is what gives your body shape and exercise is one of the principles of the Eat Clean Program and has a book The Eat-Clean Diet Workout (with DVD)
You can’t change your body by just doing cardio. Tosca has a formula called “The Body Beautiful, Body Healthy” formula which makes total sense and gives you an idea of where to focus your energy. Tosca explained that crafting a lean and healthy physique is through 80% nutrition, 10% training and 10% genetics. The lion’s share of the job is in your hands and on your dinner plate.
The 10% that is training, the lions share of that needs to be weight training. Muscle is metabolic and the most hungry tissue in the body. Tosca says putting on a layer of muscle on your body, you’ve installed your fat burning furnace and that is what will keep you lean, healthy and strong long into your later years.
You can’t craft a shapely physique just through cardio training. You’ll be a skinner version of your former fat self. You cannot look like a freak with weights and muscle unless you’ve been taking steroids and growth hormones.
Tosca and I share similar stories. We were both overweight and transformed our bodies in our 40’s. Tosca entered a body building contest and I did my first figure competition in my 40’s. There are many aspiring fitness, figure and bodybuilding athletes who have never done it before and may be thinking about it. Tosca and I talked about the experience of getting on that competition stage.
For Tosca, as well as for me, competition was a personal journey. There is so much preparation and discipline involved that it takes to prepare for a competition. You get to learn what you are made of. You get to learn how to dig deep to create an amazing physique. Competing is a motivation, a goal that can take you to the next level.
Tosca says she met herself on stage. She discovered what she was made of when she got up on that stage. The dormant person you were wakes up and you rediscover yourself, new experiences, and possibilities.
Good Health Starts in the Supermarket
Good health starts in the supermarket and the Eat Clean Diet books do talk about grocery shopping extensively. I asked Tosca what should shoppers look for and stay away from in the supermarket. Tosca’s rule of thumb, if you can’t read the ingredients on the ingredient label, and don’t know what they mean, its best that you put it back on the shelf. Tosca says to look for items that are not packaged or have UPC codes on them which are primarily found in the produce aisle. Look for products that have 2-4 ingredients in them that you can read and understand.
You also want to buy lots of lean proteins from plants or animals, and lots of complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Sixty percent of your diet should come from raw fruits and vegetables. The more wholesome, natural the food is, the better it is for you.
Eat Clean Meals
Speaking of grocery shopping and food, Tosca came out with the The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook and for most people, coming up with a variety of quick, easy, healthy meals is quite a challenge and get bored eating the same thing all the time. The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook has so many quick, easy to follow recipes which will certainly help someone have a lot of variety of meal choices. The Eat Clean Cookbook is made from Tosca’s favorite family recipes that have been cleaned up.
Nutritional Needs as We Age
I asked Tosca if she has made any changes to her diet or think differently about food now that she is in her 50’s. Her response is to this was very introspective and insightful. “You need to take an interest in food, ingredients, and what you are feeding your body. Your decisions about what you are eating and your dieting process happens in your shopping cart and on your plate.”
She says she is more conscious of eating greens and staying much further away from processed foods and not going off track and eating sugars and rarely eats bread.
You need to start questioning your food. Is it good for me, where did it come from, what the nutritional profile is, and not being afraid to ask for certain things when in a restaurant. Eat foods that contribute to you rather than the “anti-foods” that take away from you and break you down.
Eat more disease fighting foods which are rich in anti-oxidants. The more pigmented the food, the stronger the smell, the greener it is and also the source. Make sure your proteins are grass fed and have no antibiotics or hormones.
Tosca’s Take Away Message
I asked Tosca what is the one take away message you want to make sure people get. This is what she had to say. “Stop eating sugar. White, refined processed sugar and white flour are two of the most detrimental anti-foods out there. The do not contribute to your health. They tear your health down. Don’t eat sugar coated cereal. Eat a bowl of oatmeal instead. Don’t eat sugary pastry snacks for breakfast. Eat lean protein and complex carbohydrates. It’s never too late to be healthy.”
Tosca’s mantra “Keep it Tight”
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