Eating clean is the practice of eating food in its most natural state. By eating clean, you cut back on the pesticides, additives, preservatives, unhealthy fats, refined grains, and excessive sugar and salt found in most modern diets. With this change in your diet, you can replace damaging processed foods with foods that promote long-term health. Long-term health has many benefits. You can enhance the quality of your life while also giving yourself the opportunity to potentially live longer.
What is not clean eating? Clean eating is not a diet, calorie restriction, or about being perfect. There is no need to deprive yourself because you are “eating clean.” You should simply just overhaul your normal eating habits with healthier whole foods, which largely means knowing what your food is made of.
How to Stick with Eating Clean
The easiest way to stick with eating clean is to approach your meals as a lifestyle. Give up on diets and simply think of clean eating as a lifestyle you will keep forever. You might have to find new ways to enjoy your food, learn to cook, and prepare a balanced diet; but clean eating isn’t as hard as it sounds. Also, keep in mind that clean eating is all about nutrients and not calories.
To get started on your new clean eating lifestyle, create a grocery list filled with fresh produce, whole grains, healthy fat sources, and grass-fed meats or wild caught fish. Buy only what is on your list at the grocery store and make sure you can pronounce all of the ingredients on anything you buy. A good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store and skip the aisles. The perimeter is where the vegetables, meats, whole grains, dairy, nuts, and dried fruits can usually be found.
For a few additional tips on clean eating, try following these rules:
Load up on fresh produce – You should be eating as much fresh produce as possible at every meal. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and nutrients to fuel your body and help you feel good.
Eliminate added sugar – This will be hard to do at first, but your taste buds will adjust. Foods in their natural state don’t contain added sugar, but don’t worry about the natural sugars found in things like fruit and plain unsweetened yogurt.
Drink more water – Aim to drink a minimum of 8-10 glasses per day; more if you exercise regularly. Staying hydrated helps your muscles grow and perform at a higher level. If you have trouble drinking enough water try drinking herbal teas, water flavored with fruit, and black coffee.
Eat less meat – Eating more plant-based protein can help reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and keep weight in check. Make sure you are eating enough plant-based protein from sources like eggs, dairy, beans, and nuts. Grass-fed beef and wild caught fish are also acceptable to eat. Just make sure you are sticking to high quality meats when you eat them.
Eat healthy fats – Fill your diet with fresh wild caught fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, eggs, olive and coconut oil, and dairy. These foods will help keep you full, but help you to avoid going overboard on calories.
Eat according to your goals – Whether your goal for cleaning eating is to lose weight, gain weight, or just feel better overall, make sure your meal planning aligns with that goal.
Eating clean and healthy is easy to do once you get started. Follow these tips to get started on your new and healthy lifestyle!