What eating clean means is eating healthy. While there is certainly no ‘dirty’ eating, there are certain food lifestyles that can compromise health and wellbeing over time. Eating clean will make you feel more energized, emotionally more satisfied, give you a clean complexion, and provide you with adequate nourishment. If you stick to some simple clean eating guidelines for a couple of weeks, you will notice a difference in your body and overall energy levels. Here are some simple guidelines you can follow and make the first steps to a healthier diet.
The Simple Rules of Clean Eating
A good place to start with clean eating is to learn about the simple and basic rules involved with this lifestyle. In general, you are focusing more on healthy, whole, and fresh foods. Instead of counting calories or cutting your carbs, you are simply trying to cook more, using fresh ingredients, and avoiding highly processed foods. This means grating your own cheese, no longer using canned fruits and veggies, and only having eggs or dairy that is from free-range or grass-fed animals. With a clean eating lifestyle, you should be cooking most meals on your own and reducing your saturated fats and trans fats. You also want to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake as much as possible.
Go For Fresh Produce
With clean eating, produce is going to be a big part of your diet. You can also have some carbohydrates and plenty of protein, but fruits and veggies are a good portion of your meals, particularly with lunch and dinner. You want to have fresh produce as much as possible. This means even trying to reduce how often you turn to frozen veggies, and get them in the produce section and slice them up yourself. To save money and have a larger selection, try finding local farmer’s markets.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods is a major no-no on the clean eating diet. You want to use as many natural and fresh ingredients as you can. If it comes in a package, consider whether there is a more natural version of that ingredient. Shredded cheese comes in a block of cheese you grate yourself, for example. Plus, you should only have dairy when it is from a grass-fed cow. Chopped onions come in full onions you can buy and chop yourself. These are good examples to start with.
Start Cooking More At Home
As you can see, cooking is a major component to eating clean. It would be very difficult to do if you were not cooking on a regular basis. You don’t need to be a natural chef, but you should be able to follow a simple recipe. If you don’t have a lot of time to prep and cook, invest in some appliances that help the process go faster, such as a food processor for chopping, and a slow cooker to cook your meals during the day while you are at work or school.
Processed food in packages and prepared food in some restaurants is full of different preservatives, colors, and additives that are not natural to the human organism. Food that is processed has usually undergone a couple of refinements and cooking which has taken all the nutrients and enzymes from it. When you cook at home from scratch, you are using the ingredients in their natural form without any conservatives and synthetic additives. Whole foods have all the minerals and vitamins needed in the proper proportion, so the body absorbs them in the best manner.
Eat Lots of Color
Strive to eat more colorful fruits and vegetables in your day. This will ensure that you get enough of your vitamins and minerals from live food that has not been cooked or processed. Raw food has enzymes that help you digest food and drive certain processes in your body. They are just as important as vitamins and minerals to your health. The antioxidants found in colorful fruits and vegetables fight off free radicals that damage the cells in the body.
Upgrade Your Refined Food
Eating clean does not mean that you have to quit on favorite foods that you are used to eating. There are many healthy alternatives to the standard, refined foods such as sugar, wheat flour, and white salt. Instead of white sugar you can try using honey, maple syrup, or brown, unrefined sugar. Instead of white flour, you can buy whole-grain, spelt, or rye flour. There are many different types of flour that are healthier and some that are gluten-free.
Drinking sufficient amounts of water and consuming fruits help you stay hydrated. Drinking water whenever you are thirsty throughout the day will help your body function properly.
You can also incorporate a healthy living lifestyle by following simple guidelines. The most important rule is – if you do not want to eat something, do not buy it in the first place. Stack up on healthy food at home so that is all you have available to you whenever you get a craving.