Diet trends change frequently, but clean eating is a strong movement that is only gaining more momentum. Eating clean can have a powerful impact on your life because it affects your body and your mind. Have you checked how many additives and chemicals are in your favorite packaged foods? You’ll see a list filled with long and mysterious names.

The basic principle of clean eating is to eliminate processed foods from the diet. In addition to being high in sugar and salt, refined foods have many chemicals, preservatives, and additives. They can have a negative impact on the body that ranges from weight gain to allergies.

Eating clean means, you’re focused on choosing healthy, natural foods and are paying attention to the sources of your food.

Clean eating can transform your life.

UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF CLEAN EATING

Clean eating focuses on a diet of unprocessed and healthy foods. Instead of counting calories, your center of attention is on finding and eating whole foods.

Your entire diet changes after a commitment to eating clean. Your meals are more frequent and smaller during the day. In addition, you’ll feel fuller and avoid blood sugar spikes. You’ll learn to appreciate food again with a renewed sense of love.

Consider these tips:
  1. Understand this is a lifestyle change. Clean eating is more than a diet trend that vanishes at the end of the week. It’s a lifestyle change.
    • A true commitment to clean eating requires that it become a permanent lifestyle change. This is not the type of diet that can end after one month of juicing or a couple of weeks of eating raw vegetables.
    • Without counting calories or worrying about portion sizes, you are able to adjust to the lifestyle change easier.
  2. Accept a gradual transformation of your diet. It’s not easy to eliminate every processed food from your diet, so a more gradual approach lets you slowly exchange the bag of potato chips for baked kale chips you make in your own oven.
    • It’s easier to switch to clean eating by using a slower approach. Your family members may need time to accept the loss of their favorite pretzels or burgers.
    • Cutting out the junk food may be easy, but processed foods are also lurking in other parts of the kitchen and cabinets. The canned soups and lunch meats aren’t part of a clean eating plan, so you’ll have to get rid of them.
  3. Learn to pay attention to your food. Clean eating will change how you look at food and what you’re willing to accept on your dinner plate.
    • Today’s busy lifestyles can keep people from paying attention to their meals. They grab a quick breakfast or snack on junk food during the day to deal with hunger pangs. Clean eating addresses all of these issues by making you focus on each bite.
    • Relying on other organizations for food safety may not work. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t examined or analyzed every additive or chemical in food to see its impact on human health. You have to be vigilant and search for information about them yourself.

Clean eating is a not a diet trend that will fade after a few days or weeks. It is a long-term lifestyle change and commitment to eating better.

BASIC GUIDELINES FOR EATING CLEAN

The basic guidelines for clean eating are easy to follow and require a promise to avoid processed foods in the diet.

Refined foods have been increasing in number since the 1940s. Today’s supermarkets and grocery stores are filled with many processed options that make cooking unnecessary. However, clean eating will help you avoid them.

Try these techniques for clean eating:
  1. Focus on whole foods in your diet. Whole foods are items like an entire apple or piece of lettuce. They’re not processed or refined, and there is no long list of ingredients with strange names on their labels.
    • Eating straight from a farm is the ideal way of avoiding processed foods. However, this isn’t an easy option for everyone, so there are other ways to get whole foods.
    • Focusing on organic produce is essential. Whole foods grown without pesticides or other chemicals are the best option. Organic items are becoming more popular, so more local stores are carrying them.
    • The goal of clean eating is to eat raw food as often as possible. Fresh bananas, ripe cherries, and green kale are preferred over muffins, pancakes, or chips.
    • The clean eating plan replaces white flour with whole grains. You can use bran, quinoa, amaranth, and other popular grains in your cooking to create delicious meals that your family will adore.
  2. Get rid of canned and bagged items in the kitchen. An easy way to start the clean eating diet is to remove all of the canned and bagged items in the kitchen that are not whole foods.
    • The canned soups, vegetables, and fruits aren’t part of the clean eating plan. The cans can have BPA, a chemical capable of disrupting human hormones, and previous studies from the Environmental Working Group found high levels in cans.
    • Avoid packaged lunch meats and crackers because they’re usually filled with additives and chemicals.
  3. Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. The clean eating plan recommends reducing the sugar in your diet, but it can remain in some healthy forms. For example, fresh fruit is an acceptable food.
    • Eliminate artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners supply empty calories that aren’t part of the clean eating plan. These sweeteners include acesulfame potassium, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose.
    • High fructose corn syrup is another source of sugar that is not recommended.
    • Natural sources of sugar can stay in your diet in small amounts.
  4. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s important to experiment with new fruits and vegetables, so your diet has variety. Have you tried passion fruit with your breakfast or added kiwi to your lunch?
    • Organic and fresh items are the best choice for a clean eating plan.
  5. Eat more nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are important sources of protein and other nutrients. They can give you more energy and strengthen your health.
    • From pecans to cashews, your diet will benefit from the addition of nuts and seeds.
  6. Add healthy fats and get rid of trans fats. Trans fats aren’t nutritious, and the Mayo Clinic considers them the worst category of fat.
    • Many processed foods contain trans fats. They’re common in baked goods like cookies and fried foods like French fries. Trans fats can wreak havoc on your cholesterol levels by increasing the bad cholesterol while decreasing the good one.
    • Healthy fats such as avocado oil are better for your body. They can improve cholesterol levels and help those who have diabetes.
  7. Enjoy low-fat, organic dairy products. It’s not easy to cut dairy for some people, and the clean eating plan allows low-fat, organic products.
    • Hormone-free dairy products are best, and many organic items will indicate this.
  8. Avoid foods with complicated ingredient names. Many processed items have long ingredient lists filled with puzzling names.
  9. Organize your meals into five or six parts per day. Try smaller, but more frequent, meals.
    • This plan will help improve your metabolism while keeping you full longer. In addition, it helps avoid dangerous blood sugar spikes.
  • Learn to mix carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats at every meal. The best clean eating plates have a combination of carbs, protein, and fats. This also helps you feel full and gives you energy.

Whole foods are at the heart of the clean eating diet. It’s essential to focus on raw and fresh ingredients at every meal.

The elimination of processed foods will help you discover new foods that are healthier. Your meals can be filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy, and fresh meats. Once you’ve replaced packaged and refined items with healthier options, you’ll notice a positive change in the way you feel.

SHOPPING TIPS FOR CLEAN EATING

At first, eating clean may be a challenge to your shopping habits. However, once you establish guidelines and find the right foods, you’ll look forward to going to the grocery store.

It may be better to shop once a week, so your kitchen will have the freshest ingredients. If your busy schedule requires you to shop differently, then consider stocking up on some items or growing your own produce.

Clean eating is easier if you cook at home, so plan the shopping list carefully.

Also, consider the recipes you’ll be preparing ahead of time and stock up on essentials.

Follow these basic strategies in shopping for food:
  1. Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can dominate the shopping list. Since clean eating focuses on these items, your list will be filled with healthy produce.
    • Consider purchasing vegetables that can double as snacks. Have you tried eating baby carrots or cherry tomatoes as snacks? A homemade ranch dip is perfect for enjoying these snacks.
  2. Add healthy flours and granola to the shopping list. These items can be unprocessed and healthy.
  3. Focus on the organic aisles in the store. You’ll want to buy organic items as often as possible. In addition, the clean eating plan works best if you can find local items that are currently in season.
    • You’ll have to read labels carefully to find local and organic items.
    • You may have to ask the store manager questions about where they get their food. Local farms are the best choice.
  4. Visit farmer’s markets and health food stores. Your local farmer’s markets are an excellent source of local products. Health food stores are another option for finding a variety of unprocessed items.
  5. Purchase frozen fruits and vegetables. Organic, frozen fruits and vegetables are the second-best option. If fresh produce isn’t available or if you need to stock up on items, then frozen foods can help. You’ll find a wide variety of choices.
  6. Stock up on essentials. Essential kitchen items like uncooked rice or quinoa can be life-savers during a busy weeknight.
    • Whole grain pasta with no preservatives or additives can also be a part of many meals.
    • Dried beans are another kitchen essential that can be worked into multiple recipes and meal plans.

Shopping for clean eating diets can be a fun experience. Once you master the basics and know the ingredients you need, you’ll have fun experimenting in the kitchen with different recipes.

COOKING TIPS FOR CLEAN EATING

Cooking at home makes clean eating easier. You’ll know exactly where the ingredients come from and what they can do.

Meal plans can be simple, and raw foods still need to be the focus.

Cooking in a kitchen stocked with essential items and ingredients will make the process easier.

These techniques are also helpful:
  1. Avoid deep frying foods. Frying may be quick, but it’s not part of the eating clean plan.
    • You can still fry foods in healthy fats but avoid deep frying. Instead of frying, consider steaming or stewing.
  2. Avoid excessive salt. Salt can add flavor to your meals, but excessive amounts aren’t necessary or healthy. Instead of salt, consider trying different herbs and oils to add flavor to your meals.
  3. Stock your kitchen with cooking essentials. Do you have good pans and skillets? These kitchen items are crucial to making healthy, clean eating meals.
    • When was the last time you sharpened your knives or looked at the kitchen shears? If you have good tools, then cooking at home is less of a challenge and more of a fun experience.
    • Consider getting a salad spinner to wash your raw fruits and vegetables.
  4. Occasionally check the oven temperature. You can use a thermometer to test the oven temperature and see if it’s accurate.
    • Older ovens may have more issues with accurate temperatures. If your recipe depends heavily on the right temperature, then use a thermometer instead of relying on the oven to be accurate.

Clean eating will change how you cook. The focus on raw and fresh foods means there are fewer things to prepare. However, you can still enjoy a large variety of foods and cooking techniques to keep your diet fresh and exciting.

A kitchen that has the basic ingredients and tools to make cooking easier will make changes to a clean eating diet a faster process. Consider doing an inventory of your kitchen tools, so you’re prepared to make delicious recipes.

TIPS FOR SPICING UP YOUR MEALS

Clean eating can be a challenge if you’ve spent years enjoying fast food burgers and fries. Spicing up your meals is one way to make the transition easier.

Spices and herbs can make eating clean an enjoyable experience. You can get the family involved in picking out their favorite flavors. Then, you can incorporate their top choices into new and old recipes.

Spices and herbs can do more than make a simple chicken dish spectacular. They can add important and healthy nutrients to your meals.

Try these spices to add variety and additional healthy benefits to your foods:

Cinnamon

  • Add cinnamon to homemade granola or homemade muffins that follow the clean eating plan.
  • Cinnamon can help control diabetes and improve cholesterol levels. It also has the ability to reduce inflammation.

Turmeric

  • Turmeric appears in many recipes and has powerful health benefits.
  • Turmeric has curcumin, which is an important chemical that can reduce the risk of cancer, and it has other benefits as well. It’s an easy way to add color to your meals without using traditional food coloring products.
  • This spice helps reduce inflammation in the body while increasing antioxidants. It also improves brain function.

Thyme

  • Thyme has several nutrients that are essential for body function. It has vitamin C, manganese, and other minerals and vitamins.
  • Thyme has antioxidant properties that can help protect cells from damage.
  • This herb can provide essential dietary fiber that is part of the clean eating plan. It can be easily added to homemade pasta sauces. Thyme can also be a part of omelets and soups.

Rosemary

  • Rosemary is a good source of antioxidant compounds.
  • Rosemary is a popular addition to chicken and other meat dishes. It has a strong fragrance that can make the meals memorable.
  • Rosemary can help the digestive system.
  • It can improve the brain and help you focus better. Rosemary can also help cells in the brain stay younger for longer periods of time.
  • Rosemary can also reduce the risk of cancer.

Mint

  • You can add mint to many dishes, ranging from meat to soups. It’s a versatile herb with a strong flavor.
  • Mint has multiple health benefits, including a high antioxidant level.
  • This herb has decongestion properties that help during colds and flus. In addition, it can improve the digestion. Recipes that require lamb or chicken can benefit from the addition of mint.

Basil

  • This popular herb appears in many recipes. Did you know that it also has important health benefits?
  • Similar to other herbs, basil is filled with antioxidants. However, it also has vitamin A and vitamin K. In addition, basil has the ability to cut down on inflammation in the body while providing dietary fiber.
  • Homemade pasta sauce often incorporates this herb. You can use it in salad dressings or try adding it to your favorite soup. Fresh basil can also be added to salads.
  • The strong aroma of this herb can help spice up your clean eating recipes.
  • Incorporating more herbs and spices into your diet will help you eat clean and improve your health at the same time. Herbs and spices provide a variety of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that are essential for staying healthy. They can also make cooking at home more exciting.

Spicing up your meals will help attract family members to the clean eating lifestyle. Rich, bold flavors and aromas can help your cooking stand out.

UNDERSTANDING WHY IT’S WORTH IT

Clean eating requires a complete lifestyle change. Your shopping, cooking, and eating habits are modified in this diet. However, it’s worth making the change because you will strengthen your health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found that your diet matters greatly. The study, “High Costs of Poor Eating Patterns in the United States,” found better diets can reduce health expenses by $71 billion. Changing your diet can help you reduce your own medical expenses.

There are multiple benefits to the clean eating diet:

Lose weight

  • By focusing on healthy, whole foods and cutting refined products out of your diet, you can lose weight.
  • Whole foods have more nutrients than the refined and processed ones. This helps control your hunger, so you can make healthier food choices throughout the day. In addition, smaller portions and meals help cut down on extra calories.

Enjoy clearer skin

  • By eliminating the chemicals and additives in processed foods, you’ll enjoy clearer skin.

Enjoy more energy

  • Clean eating encourages you to combine proteins with carbohydrates and fats. This meal plan gives you more energy on a daily basis.

Strengthen your immune system

  • Clean eating cuts out the refined sugars and unhealthy fats that can drag you down. The addition of herbs and spices also helps boost the immune system.

Uplift your mood

  • The study, “On carrots and curiosity: Eating fruit and vegetables is associated with greater flourishing in daily life,” found that adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet makes you happier.

Sleep more soundly

  • A study from the University of Chicago found that diet is tied to sleep patterns, and other studies show a connection. Eating clean can help you sleep better by regulating your metabolism and blood sugar.

If you’re eating clean, then you’ll notice several health benefits. Although it’s a diet plan that can help with weight loss, there are also other advantages. Clean eating is a powerful way to improve your body and nurture your mind.

CONCLUSION

Clean eating involves a lifestyle change that focuses on getting rid of processed foods in favor of whole foods. You can replace the powdered doughnut with homemade trail mix filled with delicious nuts, seeds, and spices for flavor. You can adjust your shopping and cooking habits.

Since this is a complete lifestyle change, it’s important to find your own comfort level with how quickly you eliminate processed foods. It’s easy to add fresh fruits and vegetables, but it may be a challenge to get rid of your favorite chips or cookies. A gradual process works best as you slowly learn to love eating clean.

Clean eating can have positive benefits ranging from deeper sleep to better moods. Discover the power of healthy, nutritious, and unprocessed foods with clean eating.

R3 Wellness © 2019. All rights reserved.