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Benefits of Clean Eating:
It’s hard to argue against the benefits that clean eating can deliver to the body. First, by merely increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you are consuming, you boost your intake of fiber which contributes to a healthy digestive tract and gives us the sense of feeling full after a meal.
Next, clean eating increases the number of plant compounds in our bodies which play a significant role in combating symptoms associated with conditions like inflammation, menopause, arthritis and even asthma.
Studies demonstrate that it can also reduce the occurrence of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Of course, eating clean whole food also supports weight loss and healthy weight management.
1. Start Slow in the Beginning
Changing the way you eat should not be a rapid progression. Instead, you want to start slow to avoid the risk of failure that can sometimes come with radically changing the foods you eat. Pick a day or a meal, to begin with, and focus on being consistent with that meal for a few weeks.
Once you are comfortable with your habits, take another step by adding another meal or day that centers around the concept of clean eating.
2. Eat Whole Food
Whole foods are those foods eaten in their natural state without processing and with all their vital nutrients intact. It’s the difference between an apple and apple pie or a baked potato and a potato chip. Switching to a diet comprised of whole foods gives you many benefits. Whole food is real food, nutritious, delicious and gives your body the substance it needs to thrive.
3. Plan Your Meals
If you do not know what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner tomorrow, you may already be in for a bit of trouble. Take control of your dinner table and kitchen by taking a little time to plan! Your goal each week should be to lay out your meal plans for the week so that you do not fall back into those old habits of grabbing a processed meal in a box.
Once you know what your meal plan is for the week, make a grocery list. Grocery lists can be a lifesaver and help you control those impulses to buy things that are not on the list.
4. Stock Up on Clean Eating Snacks
If you enjoy a decent snack, make sure to stock your snack arsenal with foods that are “clean eating” friendly. The temptation to snack is always there looming in the background, waiting for you to have a stressful moment or skip a meal. Stay prepared with fresh snacks on the road, at work, and in your home.
5. Load Up on Veggies
Vegetables are an abundant resource for vitamins, fiber, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and so much more! Try to eat two servings of leafy greens every day to secure an adequate intake of vegetables. Over time, you should plan to build a healthy relationship with your produce department at the grocery store. Veggies are where you will get the biggest bang for your buck. Try different vegetables so that you can learn which of these items you like best.
6. Keep it Interesting
Okay, so the last tip encourages you to build a healthy relationship with your produce department and taste every veggie there is! However, over time you will eventually achieve this goal. There is a real risk that you will eventually grow bored with eating the same old healthy foods. Should this happen, there are a few random actions you can take to keep it interesting.
- Learn About Seasonal Fruits and Veggies:
If you want to keep it interesting or if you are watching your wallet, take some time to learn about seasonal fruits and vegetables. Seasonal purchases are a great way to save money while also enjoying a good harvest.
- Be Adventurous:
For the adventurous soul, try something strange each week –meaning, step outside of your comfort zone to taste something new! From new veggies to challenging recipes to a different herb or spice, this is a great way to keep your journey moving while also expanding your palate’s repertoire.
- Mix Things Up:
Do not settle for the standard or same old combination of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t get caught in a rut by eating the same breakfast every day switch your meals around or pull in elements from your lunch for breakfast. Look for ways to bring life to your salad by giving it a little texture. Try out different mixes of greens, fruits, and proteins in your salad. Jicama, artichokes, and chickpeas can spruce up your salad. Try creating your own salad dressing by combining healthy oils (i.e., olive, grapeseed) and lemon or vinegar with a few spices like cilantro or dill and refrigerate the leftover for the next day
7. Choose Healthy Fats
As followers of a clean eating lifestyle, our goal should be to cook with or eat healthy fats. Examples of healthy fats include:
• Nuts and nut oils
• Grapeseed oil
• Sunflower oil
• Organic Ghee
• Organic unsalted butter (grass-fed)
• Coconut oil
• Extra-virgin olive oil
Many clean enthusiasts will advise you to reduce your overall consumption of all oils including olive oil. If you really would like to consume healthy fats in the right way, stick with eating the fat in its original form (i.e., olives instead of olive oil or soybeans instead of soybean oil).
8. Get Rid of those Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Try to avoid man-made fats. Why are there partially hydrogenated oils at all? Manufacturers of oil hydrogenate liquid vegetable oils to help them sustain a longer shelf-life and enable them to store at a more solid consistency.
The reason most clean eaters decide to ban partially hydrogenated oils is that they contribute to high cholesterol. Partially hydrogenated oils are thought to cause 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year (Prevention.com).
9. Be Okay with Not Being Organic All the Time
Clean eating does not require every morsel that crosses your lips to be organic. Some people embrace a full clean-living lifestyle. They will often impart advice like telling you to choose fruits and veggies that are organic or meat that is organic or grass-fed or farmed seafood. The theory behind making such choices is that these are the best options for reducing your carbon footprint while also consuming foods in a state that is to nature.
It is okay not to eat organic all the time if it’s too expensive for your wallet or not available in your local food market. You are still pretty close to nature whether your veggie is organic or not. If you are concerned about pesticides, you will be happy to know that only certain fruits and veggies also known as the ‘dirty dozen’ are susceptible to chemicals such as apples, cherries, pears, spinach, nectarines, celery, grapes, peaches, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Switching from a processed food diet to eating clean will take patience, and time to adjust. Be kind to yourself and just do your best every day.