Clean Eating

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By Coach Keenan

A calorie is not just a calorie and as an athlete who is constrained by weight restrictions, you have to pay even closer attention to your nutrition. Are you trying to add size and strength? What are you fueling your body with? Are you getting the most value out of your nutrition choices?

I have put together a resource that will give you practical tips on how to implement your refueling strategy.

Eat 5-6 meals per day
Many of you probably do this while working to gain size and strength but what about when you are cutting weight for a fight? It may sound like way too much food, but keep in mind that when you want to drop body fat, your portions are going to be smaller than what you have been taking in.

Fill up on green veggies
Eat foods that are straight from nature (and “as close to the way nature made it as possible”… think apple versus apple juice) and came from a tree, bush, plant or vine. Stay away from foods that have been altered or “processed”. Ensure you have a large variety in your diet. You will need every “building block” you can get your hands on.

Include Protein
When choosing meats, try to eat organic meats and if you can, try to buy meats that are whole and straight from the butcher. Prepackaged meats are questionable. You never really know what has been added to them. Avoid all deli meats… even the “organic” ones. They are only required to have 95% organic ingredients and who knows what they use to make the meats adhere to each other.

Read Labels
Marketing experts are slick… they will use terms like “whole grain” and “reduced sugar” but when you check out the label, the “whole grain” product doesn’t look much different from the regular variety and that “reduced sugar” really means “replaced with artificial sweeteners”. ALL artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Raw Stevia is a natural sugar substitute that can be used in moderation.

Enjoy Starches
Your body needs starches and your brain needs them more. Check out the list of Best Choices to find the best options for starches. Pay particular attention to your body’s response to wheat (and all of its derivatives). There is mounting evidence that wheat is the cause of numerous health concerns and affects you, the athlete, in particular.
“They reported that symptoms of acid reflux disappeared and the cyclic cramping and diarrhea of irritable bowel syndrome were gone.  Their energy improved, they had greater focus, sleep was deeper.  Rashes disappeared, even rashes that had been present for many years.  Their rheumatoid arthritis pain improved or disappeared, enabling them to cut back, even eliminate, the nasty medications used to treat it.  Asthma symptoms improved or resolved completely, allowing many to throw away their inhalers.  Athletes reported more consistent performance.” Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly Eat Fewer Ingredients

This is where companies hide the chemicals… if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.

Clean eating may feel a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you have many changes to make. Just take it one day at a time and even one meal at a time. Make little changes every day. Just realize that it is what you do on a regular basis that counts! Stick with eating clean at least 80% of the time and you will feel improved performance. Keep your eye on the prize and bump it up as your fight approaches.

If you are very accustomed to processed foods, you may have a difficult time enjoying the natural flavors of real food. This will change as you eliminate the processed foods from your diet. Your taste buds will become accustomed to these new flavors. This is because the pH in your body is going from highly acidic (from too much processed food) to highly alkaline (which is what you want and happens when your body is receiving plenty of water and green veggies).

These are not the only choices, but they are going to be some of your “best” choices. The goal here is to derive the most nutrients out of your foods and this list has some of the most nutrient-dense food items. VARIETY IS IMPORTANT so make sure you are having a wide variety of foods!

What are Great Choices for Carbohydrates???

  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Red Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • White Potatoes
  • Winter Squash (Acorn, Spaghetti, Butternut, And Pumpkin)
  • 100% Whole Wheat/Grain (Bread, Pasta, Cereal, Etc.) (Pay particular attention to how you feel when consuming any wheat products)


  • All fresh and/or frozen without added sauces/cheese


  • All fresh and/or frozen without added sugar

What are Great Choices for Protein???

  • Chicken Breast
  • Egg Whites
  • Egg Yolks (this is where all of the important vitamins and minerals hide)
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Lean Red Meats
  • Fish/Shellfish
  • Low Fat Cottage Cheese
  • Protein Powder (Whey, Casein, Rice, Pea)
  • Turkey Breast
  • Wild Game Meats
  • Yogurt (Non Processed And Unflavored, Greek has more protein than regular)

What are Great Choices for Fat???

  • Avocado
  • Fatty Fish (Salmon)
  • Nuts/Seeds and Nut-butters
  • Oils (Flax, Hemp, Sunflower, Udo’s, Coconut, Sesame, Pumpkin, Extra Virgin Olive, and other Nut/Seed Oils)
  • Regular, Non-Creamy Salad Dressings

Weekly Food Prep Tips and Tricks

Step 1: Plan out your menu. It doesn’t have to be exact, but knowing how many meals you will need to cook and which meals you will be cooking will go a long way.
Step 2: From that menu, make a shopping list.
Step 3: Cook on Sundays and Wednesdays:

Great Sunday meal ideas:

  • Stuffed peppers (using lean ground beef, bison, turkey breast, or chicken and brown rice or oatmeal)
  • Stuffed acorn squash (I love to stuff mine with lean ground protein and a mixture of frozen chopped spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and pasta sauce)
  • Meatloaf muffins (similar to stuffed peppers and can add some finely chopped zucchini and other veggies)
  • Meatballs (using lean ground protein and oatmeal as the base)
  • Egg white muffins (I love to load these puppies up with veggies too)
  • Fresh cut veggies

Quick Wednesday ideas:

  • Crock pot chicken*
  • Chicken/rice/veggie soup
  • Frittata

The point is to cook the meals that may take extra time when you have more time. Wednesday’s meals should be super easy since you will most likely be cooking them after a long day of work and on a limited amount of time.

Have containers ready and available for portioning and pack them up so all you have to do in the morning is pack them into your cooler and have them ready for the day.

*This chicken can be used for multiple purposes:

Top Salads

Make pizza on either a tortilla or a pita

Panini using a tortilla

As burrito, enchilada, or taco filling

Reheated and served with veggies

This is my shopping list when I travel for work. I typically go to the store when I first arrive and stock up on:

  • a bottle of good fat (Udo’s is my fave)
  • blue berries, bananas, oranges, grapefruits, apples (don’t have to be refrigerated)
  • oatmeal
  • protein powder
  • wheat germ
  • frozen spinach
  • carrots
  • hummus
  • celery
  • almond butter
  • egg whites
  • hard boiled eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • nuts

Meal Planning
You are most likely going to have breaks in your room, snacks in “class” or meetings, and dinner. I usually opt for going out to grab a salad for dinner… even the salad bar at a grocery store is good. You want to make sure you are having enough variety in TASTE, TEXTURE, and FLAVOR while you are eating clean because if you don’t, you will get bored with your food. That is when we start reaching for things that are not good for us… chips, etc.

FOR MY LAST TRIP… I made stuffed acorn squash, healthy meatloaf muffins, lettuce turkey wraps with avocado, and baked chicken with sliced zucchini and coconut butter. I have some fruit with me too and will have to make a run to Whole Foods to pick up some oats:). I have all the food in the freezer (exception: lettuce and fruit) so it will be nice and cold for the car ride.

The Who, What, and When of Protein Powder and Other Meal Replacements
I will preface this by saying that in an ideal world, I recommend eating organic whole foods in their natural state, but I realize this isn’t always possible, so having a CLEAN (FREE of artificial sweeteners, flavors, and other added chemicals) alternative beats skipping a meal.

Difference between Protein Powder and a Meal Replacement Shake:
Protein powder is just that… protein. It has very little carbohydrates and very little fat.

Meal Replacement… has a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

When to use protein powder…
As part of your post workout recovery nutrition. The benefit of using protein powder at this point is for convenience and for providing your body with a quick source of nutrition, but you will want to have a source of carbohydrates with this as well so add some fruit to your smoothie.
In recipes… there are recipes for making your own protein bars that are a better alternative because YOU control what goes in the bars. I also like to use it in my oatmeal if I don’t have time to cook eggs. Oats, protein powder and berries make a great easy morning meal.
When to use a meal replacement shake…
As part of your post workout recovery nutrition. The benefit of using a meal replacement shake at this point is for convenience and for providing your body with a quick source of nutrition. This shake has carbohydrates so you will not have to add fruit.
When you are going to miss a meal. I try to keep my shakes at 2 per day if I am having a hard time accessing whole foods, but I would take drinking 4 shakes per day over skipping meals.

What to look for/avoid:
Organic is best, but can be difficult to find. It will be more expensive, but well worth the extra money. Undenatured whey from New Zealand is what I use. Undenatured means that it has not been heated to high temperatures and therefore did not change the molecular structure of the protein. What does this mean to you? BETTER ABSORPTION.
FREE from any and all artificial sweeteners and flavors.

  • Sorbitol
  • Mannitol
  • Glycerol
  • Acesulfame potassium (k)
  • Aspartame
  • Cyclamate
  • Isomalt
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Alitame
  • Thaumatin
  • Neohesperidine dihydrochalcone
  • Aspartame-acesulfame salt
  • Maltitol
  • Lactitol
  • Xylitol
  • Erythritol

What about stevia?
Stevia is a word both for a plant and for a sweetener extracted from the leaves of that plant. Stevia has been grown and used in South America for centuries and is a safe alternative to artificial sweeteners that are made with chemicals.
To whey or not to whey???
Some people are allergic to dairy… this is different from lactose intolerance. There is a protein in dairy in addition to lactose. If you are allergic to this protein, choose a different type of protein and avoid the whey (AND all dairy). Read more here:
If not whey, then what?
There are several options… brown rice protein powder, hemp seed protein powder, and pea protein are great. Soy protein is highly controversial and I avoid it at all costs. Check it out for yourself right here:
My favorite brands

  • Whey protein: IsaPro by Isagenix
  • Whey protein meal replacements: IsaLean or IsaLean Pro by Isagenix
  • Meal Replacement Bars: IsaLean Bars by Isagenix
  • Brown rice protein by SevenPoint2:

There are a ton of other great brands out there. Just read the labels carefully and if the flavor is something like “gumball” well… when was the last time you saw a gumball tree, plant, root, seed, etc. Any other questionable ingredients? Google them and see if there are any health warnings related to them.
Healthy Shake Recipes
These healthy shake recipes are all made with Isagenix products which I recommend and use myself. To order your Isagenix products, please use the following link:

If you need some help in navigating the ordering process, we have created some simple “How To” instructions right here:
Do you already have a favorite clean protein powder? Go for it! The consistency may not be the same as the Isagenix shake, so you may have to experiment with the amount of ingredients.

Chocolate Coconut Dream

  • 10oz purified water
  • 2 scoops chocolate IsaLean Shake
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup spinach (you won’t be able to taste this, trust me!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

  • 10oz purified water
  • 2 scoops chocolate IsaLean Shake
  • 1tbsp peanut butter (organic)

Orange Creamsicle Energy Boost

  • 8oz purified water
  • 2 scoops vanilla IsaLean Shake
  • 1 scoop Want More Energy! in orange (or 1/2 stick)

Sassy Classy Strawberry

  • 2 scoops (or 1 packet)
  • IsaLean® Shake Natural Creamy Vanilla
  • 1 scoop (or 1 packet) IsaFruits®
  • 8 oz water
  • Handful of ice
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries
  • +1 strawberry for garnish

IsaLean Chai Express

  • 2 scoops Vanilla IsaLean Shake
  • 8 ounces purified water
  • 1 handful ice
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled brewed chai tea
  • 1/2 banana (only 40 calories!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional (1 teaspoon honey)

Strawberry Slimmer

  • 2 scoops Vanilla IsaLean Shake
  • 8 ounces purified water
  • 1 handful ice
  • 1 scoop IsaFruits
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (only 25 calories!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Harvest Apple Pie Shake

  • 2 scoops Natural Creamy Vanilla IsaLean® Shake
  • 8 oz water
  • Ice
  • 1 whole organic apple (cored, not peeled)
  • Dash or two of cinnamon

Cherry Chocolate Shake

  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in Rich
  • Chocolate
  • 8 oz purified water
  • Ice cubes (desired amount)
  • 6 organic cherries
  • Blend well and serve cold.

Orange Energizer

  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in Natural Creamy Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp Want More Energy?® in Orange
  • 1 scoop Isagenix FiberPro™
  • 8 oz Water and ice
  • Peppermint Patty Shake
  • 8 oz crushed ice and water
  • 2 Scoops IsaLean® Shake in Natural Creamy
  • Chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Piña Colada Shake

  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in French Vanilla
  • ¼ cup fresh or frozen pineapple
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 8 oz purified water

Shamrock Shake

  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in Natural Creamy Vanilla
  • 8 oz purified water
  • ¼ teaspoon IsaFruits®
  • 1 scoop Isagenix Greens!™
  • 1 handful of ice

Cinna-Fruity Shake

  • 1 scoop IsaLean® Shake in Natural Creamy
  • Vanilla
  • 1 scoop IsaLean® Shake in Natural Creamy Chocolate
  • 1 scoop IsaFruits®
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • one-quarter of a banana
  • 8 oz Water and ice

Berry Blast
(Kid Friendly)

  • 8-10 oz organic orange juice
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup frozen berry medley (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
  • 1 scoop IsaFruits®
  • 1 scoop Isagenix Greens!™

(Kid Friendly)

  • 8 – 10 oz organic orange juice
  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in French Vanilla
  • 1 squeeze of organic honey
  • Ice (desired amount)

Bubblegum Shake
(Kid Friendly)

  • 1 scoop IsaPro®
  • 1 scoop IsaLean® Shake in French Vanilla
  • 1 generous scoop of IsaFruits®
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks (5)

Twin Power Super Shake

  • 8 oz unsweetened organic rice drink
  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in Rich Chocolate
  • 1 scoop IsaPro®
  • 1 scoop IsaFruits®
  • ½ cup organic strawberries
  • Ice (desired amount)

Rip Roarin’ Protein Shake

  • 1/2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in Natural Creamy Chocolate
  • 1 scoop IsaPro®
  • 1 teaspoons Almond Butter
  • 4 ounces Almond Milk
  • 4 ounces purified water
  • 2 ice cubes

Egg Nog Delight

  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in Natural Creamy Vanilla
  • 1/2 of a Banana
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 4 ounces purified water
  • 4 ounces crushed ice


  • 8 oz purified water
  • 5-7 ice cubes
  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in French Vanilla
  • 1 scoop IsaFruits®
  • 1 scoop Isagenix Greens!™
  • 1 teaspoon IsaCalcium®
  • 1 scoop Isagenix FiberPro™
  • ¼ cup organic frozen blueberries

Key Lime Pie Shake

  • 8 oz crushed ice and water
  • 2 scoops IsaLean® Shake in Natural Creamy Vanilla
  • 1/2 Want More Energy? ® Stick in Citrus
  • 1 sheet honey graham crackers


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Stephanie Keenan Bio
Competitive fitness athlete, competitive figure coach, wellness expert, and founder and author of

2011 WBFF World Championships Fitness Model, Top 5; Bikini Model, Top 10
2011 Fitness America Pageant, New England, Bikini & Figure, 4th
2010 WBFF World Championships Figure, 3rd
2010 Fitness Universe Pageant, Miami, Bikini & Figure, Top 10
2008 Fitness America Pageant, New York, Bikini & Figure, Top 10
2008 Fitness Universe Pageant, Miami, Bikini & Figure, Top 10
2008 Fitness America Pageant, Atlantic, Bikini, 3rd Place

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