The pathway to eating clean.
Ever hear the adage “cleanliness is next to Godliness?” It’s long been a standby for mothers and grandmothers trying to get the kids to clean up before dinner or wash behind their ears. That’s not exactly the concept behind the growing trend toward “clean eating.” Clean eating, as a movement and a nutrition plan, isn’t a literal reference to food that has been thoroughly washed, it refers to food that is as close as possible to its natural state. You might say it is…”just like God made it,” not fooled around with by man – no additives, preservatives or processing. When you think about it, clean eating is really very simple. It is all about choosing fresh…vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, lean meats, fish, nuts, and unsaturated fats. It’s a lifestyle, not a short-term diet that is more about healthy eating than weight loss, although healthy weight loss can be a pleasant result.
Eat Fresh Clean eating ascribes to the “fresh and local” philosophy. That means when possible choosing foods that are in season and come from local sources, as opposed to those foods that have been grown thousands of miles away and shipped across country, a journey during which the foods loose much of their natural nutrients. If you must include vegetables and fruits that are not fresh, the rule of thumb is that frozen is better than canned. Then keep your plate colorful with a variety of fresh and fresh-cooked fruits and vegetables.
Punt Processed Foods If it comes in a box, chances are a food will be chock full of added sugars, salt and trans and saturated fats. Go through your pantry and see which foods have the most “ingredients.” Think of fresh alternatives and find quick, healthy recipes to make your favorites from scratch.
Balance Protein and Carbs Choose whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat over processed grains. Eat lean meats including organic or grass fed meats and poultry, since these are free of pesticides, hormones and additives. Grill, broil or steam your meats rather than frying.
Drink Clean Avoid sugar-laden sodas and other high calorie drinks. A goal of clean eating is removing added sugars from the diet. Drink water or unsweetened tea, or juice your own fruits and vegetables and enjoy them without added sugars and preservatives. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, juice it up with some lemon, lime or orange slices or a sprig of fresh mint. Keep alcohol consumption to the recommended 1 drink per day for women or 2 for men.
Say No to Sodium Eating fresh will naturally help you cut down on sodium intake. When cooking, try boosting the flavor of your food with herbs and salt-free seasonings. Avoiding processed and restaurant foods will go a long way toward reducing your sodium consumption.
Trade Bad Fats for Good To eat clean, you want to remove saturated fats from your diet. Avoid fast food, choose lean cuts of meat and fatty fish. Select low-fat or fat-free dairy products and avoid other animal fats. Good natural sources of unsaturated fats are nuts, avocados and olive oil.
Eat More But Smaller Meals Instead of three meals a day, eat several small meals to keep blood sugar stable and avoid overeating. Choose snacks like unsalted nuts, low-fat or fat-free dairy, fruits and vegetables.
The Take Away
We really are what we eat. Clean eating is simply the practice of eating and enjoying whole, healthy and fresh foods. When you do, you will feel the difference in your body, mind and soul, and you will find renewed energy and stamina to live the life your were meant to live…making the most of nature’s bounty.