Tosca Reno


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Reality of Eating Clean

Don't miss this one! Today we are joined by Casey Gager. He gives us an excellent view of what life is really like as a male Eating Clean. He has also very generously shared both a sample workout and a recipe for Red Clam Sauce. Amazing! Don't miss his no-nonsense action plan - he really makes it work!
Casey starting at 250lbs (left) and now a svelte 195lbs.
For about three years my wife and I have followed the Eat-Clean Diet. It was her idea to start and she had a hard time selling me on the idea of another "diet" as we had tried three or four other diets and being the cook in the house, I found those diets to be tedious to prepare and lacking in flavor. Being a good husband, I did my research and read the Eat-Clean Diet for Men book. From there, I was able to adapt the principles to our weekly eating plan. We keep a 80/20 Clean to Cheat meal ratio to keep ourselves on track with our goals. Still, there are challenges I struggle with every day.

One common reaction during a discussion with another guy about the Eat-Clean Diet was:
"Guys don't diet."

It seems "diet" is the wrong word. A better word is "lifestyle". This is not a lesson in semantics. My point is that if properly implemented, the Eat-Clean Diet seems second nature and a permanent solution to weight management. Most men get stuck on the word "diet" when they hear about the program we follow. The people I talk to, include my co-workers both male and female. Even after spending
time to describe what the Eat-Clean Diet is to them, they still do not get the basic principles. In our office, they like to have pizza parties and bring in food for meetings and other events. Most of this food is not Clean, therefore, I do not partake in the eating of the food. People try to hassle me and say I only eat "rabbit food", or "you think you're too good for our food." In reality, in order to keep with my 80/20 rule, we do eat pizza and other foods not included in the Eat-Clean Diet. We now only eat those non-clean foods when we have a "cheat meal". I prefer to have those meals with my wife so we're both on the same schedule and we don't risk cheating more than we'd like.

Another challenge I fight is complacency. I lost fifty pounds in six months using the principles of the Eat-Clean Diet when I first started the diet in 2010. After loosing the weight, I let my pride take over. I felt a sense of accomplishment which allowed me to feel like I had "done enough". While loosing fifty pounds is an accomplishment, the weight I am at is not the goal I set when starting the Eat-Clean Diet. Luckily, I have kept myself at the same weight for over a year. Things change and goals should be met.
Recently we joined a boot camp class which renewed my desire to meet my goals. I plan to run a marathon in 2013, am going to reach my goal weight and have visible Abs. I know the Eat-Clean Diet is a major part of all three of these goals.

How I Make it Work
The Eat-Clean Diet requires a certain amount of discipline. Included in that discipline is a fair amount of preparation. I like to abide by the old adage: failure to prepare is preparing to fail. As the cook in the house, I find scheduling time to prepare food is hard to do while working a full-time job, a workout schedule and other life commitments. To make sure my wife and I keep on track with our Eat-Clean Diet lifestyle, I prepare all of our meals for the week on Sunday afternoon.

My wife and I keep pretty consistent breakfast and "snack" choices throughout the week which cuts down on much of the preparation for the week.
- Typical breakfast pre-gym is an oatmeal-orange-strawberry smoothie with flax and protein powder.
- Post gym we have 1 egg and 3 egg whites scrambled.
- Smaller snack meals include: an apple and almonds, banana and hard-boiled egg whites, oatmeal with goji berries or some of the Clean baked goods my wife concocts.

I then pick two meals, one for lunch and one for dinner and prepare those meals in bulk for the week. Yes, preparing in bulk does limit our choices somewhat as certain things do not keep as well as others. Also, we have to make sure we can stomach the dish for an entire week. Menu selection is often trial and error and an experiment in my house. To keep things interesting and keep us on track with our fitness goals, I try to make sure the two meals I select are not too similar. Who would want to have burritos and chili in the same week? Not this guy. I would rather have those burritos for lunch and maybe a nice seafood chowder for dinner.

I pull many of my recipes from the pages of the Eat-Clean Diet books (at this point I own them all), Clean Eating Magazine and I also create a few of my own using the principles outlined in the Eat-Clean Diet books. Just because you keep consistent to the principles of the Eat-Clean Diet doesn't mean you're eating the same thing all the time.

I also have some variety. I subscribe to a 80/20 Clean Eating to "Cheat Meal" ratio. The 80/20 ratio works for me as I never feel like I am missing out on something. My weight loss is slower when I try but I am also able to maintain a consistent weight without effort when I'll adapt some of my favorite comfort foods to the principles of the Eat-Clean Diet. Often those adaptations kill my cravings for food which would normally side track my goals.

Sample Workout
I do workouts like this one in my driveway when I'm short on time or want to burn some excess calories. I use an interval timer to keep track of my interval times and rest but, there are Apps for Smartphones which can serve the same function.

Each of the following exercises should be done for one minute with 15 seconds rest. I set my timer for 30 repetitions of 1 minute work and 15 seconds rest and use two of the repetitions for rest as I deem needed. Work with a much intensity as you can for each work period. Also, change up your exercises and work and rest times to slow your body's adaptation to your workouts.

1. Jump Rope
2. Jump Rope
3. High Knees
4. Run in place (try to hit the heels of your feet to your glutes)
5. Pushups
6. Jump Rope
7. Jump Rope
8. Jumping Jacks
9. Mountain Climbers
10.Jump Rope
11. Jump Rope
14.Pilate Sit-ups
15.Jump Rope
16.Jump Rope
17.Run in place
21.Squat Jumps
22.Jump Rope
23.Jump Rope
24.Dynamic lunges
26.Squat Jumps
27.Pilate Sit-ups
28.Reverse Crunches

Red Clam Sauce
I like to make this sauce and save it over whole wheat pasta. This is certainly a house favorite.
Yield: 24, 1-cup Servings

4 28oz Cans Diced Tomatoes (I buy Great Value as they do not add sugar!)
5 6oz cans of whole clams
3 cups dried lima beans
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp minced garlic
2 jalapeño peppers, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped

1. Cook Lima beans per directions on the bag, drain and put aside.
2. In a large pot, pour olive oil, garlic, jalapeños, salt and pepper. Turn the stove onto medium, stir until garlic and jalapeños are soft.
3. Add juice from 3 of the cans of clams to the pot and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add tomatoes and parsley, simmer for about 20 minutes.
4. Add beans and the drained clams to the pot and simmer until heated.
5. Serve 1 cup over 1 serving of whole wheat pasta.

I allow the sauce to completely cool before I put it in container and in the fridge. Be sure
to let the sauce cool before putting it in the fridge to cut down on the risk of bacteria
forming in your food while cooling in the fridge.

Nutrition Per 1 Cup Serving
191 Calories
31 carbohydrates (g)
1 fat (g)
21 protein (g)
7 sugar (g)


  1. Great article, to the point and factual. I have shared this on my page so that others may benefit from your comments.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, Casey. It's awesome to see more couples who are sharing and bonding over the Eat Clean lifestyle (notice I didn't say diet? LOL) My husband and I also share the same passion for the lifestyle as well as resistance training, we love it! We also take time to indulge once in a while, which is really what helps us stay on the straight and narrow. Thank you for sharing your pasta sauce recipe also, I haven't really eaten too much seafood since I started Eating Clean and I'd like to incorporate it more. I thinking of doing your sauce with shrimp!

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I'm new to Eating Clean and I'm trying to get my husband on board too. The problem we've been facing is he's always hungry. No matter what I do he's always hungry and because he's hungry he eats bad foods! I've ordered The Eat Clean Diet for Men and it should arrive tomorrow. Hopefully I'll stop starving the poor guy soon enough.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I'm new to Eating Clean and I'm trying to get my husband on board too.



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