Congratulations on your decision to eat clean and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more natural diet. If you are new to clean eating, you may initially find it difficult to follow or even challenging, but while eating clean does take effort, it does not have to be complicated and in the long run it will lead to a much healthier and happier lifestyle.
- Start by avoiding processed foods – These are foods with all those chemical and unhealthy additives, and choose instead to eat more naturally produced, fresh, whole and unrefined foods. The best way to approach clean eating is to wean yourself off those pre-packaged and fast foods that we rely on as a result of our busy daily lives. Replace them with fresher and more natural choices.
- Avoid foods and drinks loaded with refined sugars – Elevated blood sugar causes elevated insulin levels and eventually causes insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. There are over 60 names for sugar that food manufacturers use; it is simple to include them as most consumers either don’t check for them or don’t recognize them as sugar.
- Learn to read food labels – Successful clean eating means we must learn to recognize harmful food ingredients. Foods containing more than one ingredient are required to list the ingredients, but often we have no idea what those ingredients are anyway, as they are long unpronounceable words that sound more like chemistry class than food. That might be a clue that this ingredient should be avoided in your diet.
- Simplify your food choices and their ingredients – Choose foods with a shorter and more natural ingredients list. The fewer ingredients the better. As an example, consider two jars of salsa, a useful condiment that can be a tasty and healthy addition to many foods. Jar #1 contains tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices and water. Jar #2 contains all of those plus 15 additional ingredients, such as potassium sorbate, modified food starch, calcium chloride, xanthum gum, guar gum, dextrose, pectin and others, which you cannot even pronounce. Which is the “cleanest” choice? You can do this with every food item you purchase, check the ingredient list and ask yourself “Are there more than 5 or 6 ingredients?” and “Do I recognize and understand what each ingredient is?” Simple.
- Shop the perimeter of your grocery store – The outer perimeter of the grocery store contains foods like fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meats. It also includes dairy products that range from lightly processed to highly processed items. When you start moving towards the center of the store you will find more foods that are pre-packaged and overly processed and probably contain a long list of ingredients, so be cautious whenever you wander into these parts of the store.
- Eat smaller, cleaner meals more frequently – Eat at least 5 small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism fired up. Also combine a small portion of lean protein, complex carbs and some healthy fats into each meal. Your body will work more efficiently once you begin to eat cleaner as it won’t have to deal with the toxins and chemicals in processed foods. Eating clean also means not counting calories to lose weight or feeling hungry.
- Drink more water – Clean fresh water and some herbal (especially green) teas can help to rid your body of toxins. In addition, drink only fresh vegetable juices or smoothies made at home. Avoid alcohol, sodas and colas, conventional sports drinks, energy drinks and bottled juice drinks that are loaded with toxic high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and sweeteners. Many of the drinks we choose every day are sugar and syrup delivery systems that add unhealthy calories and pounds to our diets – choose pure water instead!
Clean eating is as simple as choosing foods as close to their original, natural state as possible. This means foods that do not have any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Clean foods are naturally low in salt, fat, sugar and additives. And don’t forget that if you see any food with a list of ingredients that sound like a science project, that food is not clean.
Do you have any other clean eating tips and ideas you like to add to the list? Please let us know in the comment section below.
Eat Clean. Live fully.