A Beginner’s Guide to the “Clean Eating” Phenomena
The practice of eating Real Food!
Clean eating is the popular term these days that refers to the simple practice of avoiding processed and refined foods, and pursuing a diet consisting mostly of whole foods, aka “real food”. The benefits from readjusting your eating habits in this manor are vast. You can gain proper nutrition, control your weight, help prevent and manage diseases/ailments, detoxify, and generally improve your health.
When I first started my nutrition program last year I knew I’d want to start a blog to practice sharing my new knowledge, despite my hatred for blogging – which is really a fear of having absolutely no idea what I’m supposed to write/post about. (A thriving fear, based on the paltry number of posts up thus far!) So I asked a few friends what they want to know about getting healthy, and one of my best friends asked “What is clean eating? And how will it make me skinny?” Well, six months later I’m finally putting something up for you. Sorry it took me forever!
GOOD BASIC PRACTICES TO JUMP-START YOUR JOURNEY TO EATING CLEAN
- EAT WHOLE FOODS – whole foods are foods that haven’t been touched at all in a manufacturing plant or lab. “Straight off the farm” :
o Fruits (look for local & in season)
o Vegetables (look for local & in season)
o Whole grains
o Grass-fed and free-range meats, poultry & fish
o Unrefined fats and oils
o Eggs from free range hens – they eat grass, grubs & bugs
- AVOID PROCESSED FOODS – Strictly speaking, processed foods are any foods that have a label. You don’t have to eliminate these from your diet! But READ INGREDIENT LABELS! And if they contain anything you don’t recognize and/or can’t pronounce, don’t put it in your basket.
- ELIMINATE REFINED SUGAR – if you’re going to eat sugar, eat it in the form of raw honey, pure maple syrup, dates, or at worst cane sugar, NEVER artificial sugar.
- COOK YOUR OWN MEALS – with your own whole and real foods and real sugar, so you know what’s going into your food. Best alternatives to sugar:
o Raw honey
o Date sugar
o Pure maple syrup
o Agave nectar
- COMBINE PROTEIN AND CARBS – when you do snack or eat a meal, make sure that it’s balanced, so that you’re satiated (full). If you eat real food, and a balanced combination, you’ll feel fuller faster. Meaning your body won’t feel the need to eat as much but will be able to utilize the nutrients and kcal more productively.
- EAT 5-6 SMALL MEALS / DAY – Split up your normally larger 3 meals / day into more meals throughout the day. This will help increase your metabolism, plus you’ll never feel hungry because you’ll constantly be snacking.
HOW REAL FOOD AND CLEAN EATING WILL HELP YOU STAY HEALTHY & TRIM
While initial adjustment from modern foods and conveniences may seem [like a burden/monumental], you won’t feel you need to compromise or missing some of your favorite foods. Quite the opposite. Modern ways of processing and treating food remove satiating nutrients, which is one of the reasons why many of us eat far larger quantities than ever before.
- Regulating your weight helps reduce risk of several other diseases
- Eating a variety of foods helps ensure you get adequate amounts of most essential nutrients
- Whole foods are an excellent source of micronutrients
- Many artificial additives – such as aspartame – have the adverse affect people expect it to. While the sweetener has zero calories, it actually destroys receptors in the process of digestion and also tells the brain that you’re still hungry, resulting in your eating more, not less… Whole foods on the other hands keep you longer fuller so you’re less likely to be tempted for junk food.
- Foods high in micronutrients help regulate blood sugar and healthy cholesterol
- There are some nutrients present in whole foods that we cannot yet separate adequately for supplements
- Eating whole foods help keep your digestive tract regular
- Avoiding artificial ingredients helps keeps your cells strong and your body working more efficiently
- Eating well makes you stronger so you can be more active
- If you feel good, and your body is working as well as it possibly can, you’re more likely to take care of yourself in other ways, too.
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE – CLEANLY!
Eating clean doesn’t mean bland! Food before artificial sweeteners (think grandmas cooking or Greek food, etc!) was full of flavor! This is a calorie free way to flavor your food in bold ways.
BONUS POINTS: Herbs and spices not only bring flavor to your food, but they bring added health benefits, too.
- Cayenne Pepper – reves metabolism; relieves pain, flu symptoms, congestion; reduces cholesterol, and blood clots
- Basil – cardiovascular health, strong antioxidant
- Oregano – antibacterial properties, cancer fighter, highest antioxidant activity of fresh herbs
- Parsley – anti-oxidant, detoxifier, neutralizes carcinogens, inhibits tumor formation, prevents artery build-up
- Cinnamon – anti-infalmatory, blood-sugar stabilizer, metabolism booster, improves arteries, brain function
- Ginger – immunity booster, digestive aid, relieves headaches and migraines
- Cloves – relieves pain, nausea, diarrhea
- Turmeric – anti-inflamatory, and pain reliever
- Garlic – immunity booster, antibacterial/antiviral, anti-fungal, promotes healthy cholesterol levels, prevents artery build-up, cardiovascular health
- So many, many more……
- Sea salt! not table salt. Even better, when you come across sea salt with pigmentation – like Himalayan Sea Salt (pink hue) – this tells you it’s nutrient dense with other minerals, so it’s an even more ideal way to go. Not always easy or cheap to find, though.