You have probably heard the term “clean eating” by now in magazines and on t.v. shows like Dr. Oz. but you may be wondering what eating clean really means. There are levels to eating clean, but it basically means, “if it’s man made, don’t eat it.”
The Typical American Diet
The typical Western diet has evolved into heavily processed, packaged, and fast food. Just walking into an average grocery or convenience store is like walking through a gauntlet of temptation. In fact, typically, the very first thing you see when you walk into the grocery store these days is a glimmering, mountainous display of fresh baked pies, cakes and cupcakes. Following that, there are the glorious shelves of holiday candy, boxed cereals or chips on sale. If you do happen to make it past the front door without picking up some of these sugary delights, there are the aisles upon aisles of boxed and bagged convenience foods awaiting you concluded with the final plank: The candy laden check out stand.
What is Clean Eating?
Basically, the movement towards clean eating means that more Americans are paying attention to this barrage of unhealthy, but convenient food, and are wanting to eat food they know is healthier and will make them feel better. Clean eating means getting back to eating foods that are in their natural state with no preservatives or additives. It means choosing foods throughout the day that are in their natural state and from the earth. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains, fish, eggs, chicken, and unprocessed meats. Eating clean means choosing the most minimally processed foods you can get your hands on such as:
- a whole orange rather than orange juice
- a whole apple rather than apple juice or apple sauce
- olive oil and vinegar rather than bottled salad dressing
- raw almonds rather than sugar coated almonds
- whole grain bread rather than white bread
- fresh fish fillets rather than fish sticks
- Create a plan. Make a shopping list before you go to the store and stick to the list
- Have a snack before you go shopping so you are tempted to buy “convenience” foods
- Shop only on the perimeters of the grocery store. If you have to go down an aisle, make sure the item you purchase has 5 ingredients or less in it such as a bag of coffee, tea, raw oats, ect.
- Don’t be fooled by foods that are low fat or organic. Read the labels and stick to the 5 ingredient rule
- Track what you eat in a day by writing it down
- Watch your results and track those for motivation. Pay attention not only to your weight, but other improvements such as clearer thinking, improved skin and nails, better digestion, ect.
Most importantly, eating clean does not mean you have to go hungry. Stay on top of keeping whole foods in your home, in your purse and at the office so that you are not tempted to buy something you really don’t want. You can easily take bags of baby carrots, almonds, walnuts, raisins or an apple where ever you go. Eating clean can be a major transition for people addicted to sugar and processed food, but don’t give up. Soon enough, you will look forward to eating clean, and the long-term health benefits are worth it.