You may have heard the phrase "Eat Clean" recently, but what does it mean? Clean eating means to eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.
Why Eat Clean?
So, why should we eat clean. When foods are processed, they lose many of their natural occurring nutrients. Also, harmful substances may be added in such as chemicals and preservatives. Eating clean allows us to gain the most nutritional benefits from the food we are eating and avoid the harmful side effects of processed or altered foods.
Things to Avoid
The most obvious things to avoid are things that are processed or pre-packaged. Another one is eating out - you have no idea how it is prepared or what is put into it.
The not so obvious are foods that have been genetically modified (GMO) or non-organic. When things have been genetically modified, there may be some health benefits lost. When things are not organic, they often times have been treated with chemicals that can be harmful.
Is it a Fad Diet?
Eating clean is not a "Fad" or "Crash Diet", it is a way of living. There is no math, no points system or tracking calories. It is simply replacing processed, fried, unhealthy foods with fresh, natural foods such as fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Your body will respond in amazing ways.
I remember when I hit my low. I was so sick and the doctors could not figure out why. A long story short, I realized I needed to change many things about my health and eating habits.
Once I started eliminated certain processed foods and foods that I found to be my "triggers", my body started to respond in amazing ways and I started to feel better.
Everyone has different foods that may be triggers for them. I have done food sensitivity testing and also paid close attention to my diet to find mine. Once you know your triggers, do everything you can to avoid them.
Benefits of Eating Clean
Your body is amazing and will respond to these changes. Something that will happen is that your muscles will respond to lean proteins by growing, which will speed up your metabolism. Your bowel movements will become more regular. Excess water weight retained by sodium from processed foods will be eliminated. Inflammation will start to go down as you avoid things that trigger bad responses. These are just some of the benefits!
Tips for Eating CLEAN
C: COUNT your meals. You should be aiming to eat 5-6 times a day, which should consist of three meals and two to three small snacks. Try to eat every couple of hours, this will keep your metabolism going.
L: LEAN protein! Every meal should have about a palm-sized serving of lean protein (white-meat chicken/turkey, fish, black beans, egg whites, etc.) Learn what a healthy serving size is and do not over-eat. Our nation has strayed from healthy portion sizes.
E: EAT your fruits and veggies.They are so good, filling and packed with nutrients we need! Look especially for bright colors, this means they are packed with Phytonutrients.
A: AVOID processed and refined foods. White flour, sugar, bread and pastas are big no-nos! Replace them with complex carbs such as brown rice and whole wheat. Also, make sure to read ingredients; a long list typically means a dirty list. Also watch for hidden sugars!
N: NEVER eat mindlessly. It is too easy to grab "convenient" food and eat it without thought, often while watching TV or working. Every time you go to eat, ask yourself, "Will this do anything positive for my body" and "Will I regret this later?"
My hope is that even if it is step by step, everyone can start to eat a little more clean each day. It will have amazing health benefits that you will notice. Love on your body by eating right!