I get a lot of confused looks when I mention Clean Eating to people. I can just imagine what’s going through their heads…”she wants me to wash my food? That would be easy! Perhaps spray on some kind of cleaner-like windex??” No, not at all! Clean Eating is simply the idea of eating food that is in it’s original, natural form-unprocessed or very minimally processed. What does ‘processed’ mean? The definition varies slightly, but it’s generally any food that has artificial ingredients and generally comes in a package, box or bag.
The most obvious examples are frozen ‘tv’ dinners, deli ‘meats’, Velveeta ‘cheese product’, Doritos flavored chips, and sodas.
The most obvious exceptions are things like plain, uncooked dried beans, or a ‘package’ of fresh lettuce. There are many more, but hopefully you get the idea.
Examples of Processed Foods
I think most people would agree that Clean Eating sounds like a healthier way to live than consuming chemically engineered, highly processed, artificial foods. So why doesn’t everyone do it? Simple. Because they think that Clean Eating isn’t simple and grabbing quick convenience foods is, well, convenient! So is learning about Clean Eating really worth it? Will it really make that much of a difference to your inner health and outer body weight? YES! FOR SURE! DEFINITELY! Here’s what Clean Eating expert Tosca Reno has to say on the subject…
Tosca Reno, author of The Eat Clean Diet
“Eighty percent of the answer to achieving a more beautiful physique lies on your plate. Everything you put in your mouth shapes what you look like. If you eat loads of sugary doughnuts and greasy friend foods, you will probably look a lot like that – doughy and heavy. If you eat fresh fruits and vegetables, along with other wholesome foods you will look healthy, fresh and vibrant. The choice is yours, but who doesn’t want to look and feel their best?! It’s possible that you are among the many who believe that if you are exercising regularly, you can eat whatever you want and still be fit and healthy. Not true! I know a man who trains hard every day-running, lifting weights, hockey-but because of his bad food habit is still 25 pounds overweight and has a flabby belly to prove it. Don’t be misled by the notion that woring out offsets the need to eat properly. It definitely does not. The only way to accomplish the physique of your dreams along with excellent health is to put nutritious clean foods on your plate, eat them regularly and follow the Clean Eating principles. That’s how it’s done.”
7 Tips to Clean Eating
1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.
2. Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
3. Include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal.
Most of us typically do well with carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially in the early part of the day, like at breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder, and it can also help curb your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it keeps us feeling full longer. Be aware of the kinds of meals you put together and space out your protein.
4. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.
5. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.
This usually pans out into three main meals and two or three hefty snacks. Eating this way prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady so energy doesn’t lag.
6. Don’t drink your calories.
High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water first, or my personal favorite, unsweetened tea (any flavor). Other clean drinks: low-fat or skim milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water.
7. Get moving.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.
Remember, it takes 80% Clean Eating nutrition to build your ideal physique. 10% is dependent on your fitbness schedule of cardio and strength training and the final 10% is genetics (thanks mom and dad!!) While it’s true that clean eating takes a little more time to plan and prep, it, like anything else, is easy…when you know how!
If you aren’t currently engaged in one of my fitness or Clean Eating Challenge Groups, you can learn more about how to make Clean Eating EASY to incorporate into your daily life by joining one of my next groups! You are welcome to contact me with questions or for more information-always happy to help!