What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is something that many people are doing. You may have heard about it in the latest celebrity magazine. This way of eating is not some new fad diet that will be here today and gone tomorrow.
Clean eating just means that you’ve made the choice to get away from foods that are bad for your body and you’re going to choose healthy, whole foods instead. The best part about clean eating too is that not only is it healthy, but if you have some weight to lose, it can help you lose those extra pounds.
Plus, it’s a great way to detox if you want to a fresh start. You’ll have more energy and be in better shape than you would be if you were eating processed foods.
Some supposedly healthy eating plans will have you eliminating entire food groups such as not having any protein. But that’s not what clean eating is all about.
When you practice this way of eating, it means that you pay attention to the food that you put in your body. You make sure that the foods that you eat are whole foods that have limited or no processing at all.
One of the best ways to remember how to excel at clean eating is to eat foods as nature made them and nature doesn’t put things in cans. Clean eating means that you won’t be putting the extras into your body that are bad for you.
Foods that are processed contain a whole lot of additives to keep the food fresh enough to be eaten even years down the road. While that might make the food last, these additives can derail your health.
Many of these foods will contain things like chemicals so that the food tastes better. Some of them will have a lot of salt, enough to fulfill a whole day’s sodium intake, to preserve the food.
There will also be artificial flavoring or coloring in the foods. For example, not all the roast beef that you buy packaged in the lunch meat area naturally looks that way.
Coloring is added to give it the look of roast beef. Every food that you eat that’s in boxes, cans or jars has been processed in some way. That means that it’s not the healthiest choice to put into your body.
Many of these additives contribute to health problems later in life. All you have to do is read the labels to see what some of these additives are. Look them up and you’ll see exactly what they are and how they can affect your body.
When you choose to follow a clean eating lifestyle, it means that you’re going to forego the refined foods and opt for everything natural from your breakfast cereals, to your breads to your vegetables, fruits and meats.
What Is a Clean Eating Plan?
A clean eating plan means that you look at the options available for you to eat and you choose the one that’s the most natural. All of the foods that you buy in cans, bags and in the frozen section of your grocery store started out in their natural state. Now get a clean eating grocery list to know what to buy!
The reason that a lot of shoppers buy these processed foods is for the sake of convenience. But when you weigh this convenience against being healthier, then it really is no contest.
It might take you a little bit more time to prepare foods that are in their natural state, but it’s better for you physically and even emotionally in the long run. It’s better emotionally because there’s a link between processed foods and depression just like there’s a link between sugar laden foods and addictive behavior.
Choosing foods in their natural state for your eating plan means picking the apple over the applesauce. But if you have a choice between an apple turnover or applesauce, then you would take the applesauce because it’s the least processed.
If you had the choice between an orange, orange juice or orange soda, then you would choose the orange. If that option wasn’t available, then you go with the next natural choice.
If you need to eat fruit and the only option was in a can, then you would choose the fruit that was packed in water or in light syrup over heavy syrup. When it comes to buying lunch meat, if you have to have that, then you would choose meat from the meat counter first.
If that wasn’t an option, then it’s healthier to pick up deli lunch meat rather than buying the processed kind that’s already packaged. When buying meats, look for ones that are grass fed over grain fed.
Clean Eating 101: How to Start Eating Clean
Make bagged, frozen meats your last choice. In the dairy department, buy low fat milk and yogurt that doesn’t have any flavorings. The flavorings are additives that aren’t healthy.
If you need bread, always go with a whole grain first. Make white bread your last option because it’s packed with additives and is the least healthy. Choose natural peanut butter over any other kind for your clean eating plan.
Think of your clean eating plan as direct from nature to your plate. If you can pick whole foods such as fruits or vegetables, wash them and eat them, that’s the best choice.
If you need it cooked, then you would steam it or stir fry it over frying it or deep frying it. But if you had to something other than steaming it, to avoid the worst option of frying it, you would bake the food.
What You Gain From Clean Eating
The way you eat should always give you nutritional benefits. If you’re not getting any health benefits from the way that you eat, that’s a good sign that your body is crying out for something better.
Any eating plan that makes you feel sluggish, causes you to gain weight or gives you health problems – such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure – needs to be changed.
The sooner you decide that you want to practice clean eating, the better you’ll feel and the more benefits you stand to gain from it. When you practice clean eating, you’ll feel better, plus you’ll be healthier.
Even if right now you’re experiencing some health issues as a result of the way you’ve eaten in the past, if you begin clean eating, you can eliminate those problems. With clean eating, you’ll be able to get rid of the extra weight that can lead to illnesses, diseases and pressure on your joints from the weight.
When your body feels better, you feel better. This will make it easier on you to want to get up and be more active than you have been in the past. Plus, when you do get rid of any extra weight, it will be easier to keep it off with clean eating.
You’ll be getting a better intake of vitamins and minerals with clean eating than you would with eating processed foods or foods that aren’t whole or natural. These vitamins and minerals can help keep your immune system healthier which, in turn, will allow you to be able to fight off illnesses.
One of the problems with eating any old way is that you can often feel hungry half an hour after eating a sugar or salty food. Because natural foods are bulkier, you won’t be as tempted to run to the pantry looking for a snack.
This means that you’ll not only have longer lasting energy with the better way of eating, but you’ll also be less likely to fall back into your old eating patterns. Clean eating can help you live longer.
When you have a clean eating plan, you can keep your heart healthier. This way of eating helps prevent cardiovascular diseases – and it’s a great way to fight back against diseases like diabetes, which can lead to heart problems.
Clean eating is a way of eating foods that have a lot more fiber in them. This means that you’ll be less likely to experience digestive problems such as constipation. Eating this way also helps you fight back against aging. It helps boost the cell growth within your body so that your skin looks smoother and you appear younger, too.
How To Practice Clean Eating
When you’re used to one way of eating – especially if it’s the way you’ve eaten most of your life – change can be difficult. Fortunately, it’s not impossible to choose clean eating so that you have a healthier, long lasting life.
When you decide that you’re going to make changes in how you eat, there’s more to it than just staying away from foods that aren’t healthy for you. You need to know which foods you should eat in order to get the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to have in order to function properly.
Choose the majority of the foods that you eat from the way that nature made them. This will be whole foods like you would find on any healthy eating plan. You should eat plenty of whole grains along with fruits and vegetables.
Use only dairy products that are low in fat. When you do eat plant products – such as nuts – buy the brand that doesn’t use salt. Additional salt in a product can push your sodium level over the healthy limit.
You’ll want to stay away from as much processed foods as possible. Because life is what it is with time crunches, you might end up having to choose a processed food every now and then.
If that’s the case, choose the healthiest food from among your choices. For example, if you have to buy a boxed pasta, make sure that you pick the one that’s whole grain.
Look over the label carefully. The more ingredients listed on the side, the higher the odds there are some dangerous additives in the box. For the healthiest result, pick the foods that have short labels with a list of ingredients that you can understand.
Clean eating means that you need to watch the amount of sugar that goes into your eating plan. Foods that contain sugar can cause you to develop a sugar addiction.
Plus, the additional added sugar can lead to weight gain and health problems. How many times a day that you eat is just as important with clean eating as what you eat.
The number one reason that drives people to unhealthy eating is hunger. When you allow yourself to get so hungry that you feel as if you need to eat immediately, it’s easier to grab something that’s not healthy for you.
When you eat only three meals a day, you have longer periods of time to cause your glucose levels to fall. At the same time, your metabolism slows down when you space your meals out that far apart.
Instead, eat at least five meals a day. You’ll want these meals to be smaller than if you were eating a three meal plan. What eating at least five times a day will do for you is it keeps your glucose levels steadier and it also keeps your metabolism from slowing down.
5 Tips to Make the Transition to Clean Eating Easier
Clean eating might be easier for some people if they already have a fairly healthy way of eating. But for others, transitioning to clean eating can be as jarring as a physical move from one state to another.
There will be a little bit of an adjustment period as well as a conscious awareness to step away from bad choices. First, you need to eat between five and six times a day to make it easier on your body.
This will keep your energy up and your desire to snack down. It can also help you eliminate the cravings for foods that aren’t good for you. There are four things you need to make sure you have with your meals and snacks when you’re practicing clean eating.
Make sure that you have a protein, a fruit and a vegetable – and with meals, a complex carb. The protein will help you keep your energy level up. It doesn’t have to be something big.
For example, if you need a protein with your snack, then opt for a serving of unsalted, unprocessed nuts. Second, make label reading an automatic part of your shopping.
Remember that the more ingredients that are listed on the label, the further away from clean eating the food will end up being. When you’re choosing clean eating, there should only be one (at the most two) things listed on the side of the can or bag.
Watch labels for potassium bromate, artificial sweeteners, trans fat, food dyes, BHA and BHT, monosodium glutamate and avoid these ingredients. If it’s possible for you to choose organic food products, then do that.
As part of a clean eating plan, organic foods are free of harmful pesticides and GMOs, both of which can be harmful to your health. Third, make sure that you get plenty of water.
Clean eating means making sure that you’re maintaining a healthy water intake. You should have at least sixty four ounces of water a day. Fourth, if possible, get the entire family involved in clean eating.
Not only will this make it easier for you, but it’s healthier for them, too. If you start kids out on healthy eating plan when they’re younger, they’ll already know how to make good choices when they’re older.
Fifth, because clean eating can be a little bit more time consuming than just grabbing that processed food at the store, you’ll want to find ways to make it easy to stick to this way of eating.
One of the ways that you can do that is to package the foods that you eat yourself. This means that you can go ahead and chop, cut or cook the foods in advance so that on those days when you’re short on time, you can grab something that’s healthy and stick with your plan.
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