Clean eating is a way of eating based on the idea that the best way to eat is to abundantly enjoy whole foods that are close to their natural state as possible. This means eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Processed foods, fast foods and pre-packaged foods are all kicked out. This type of eating is also about commitment to replacing saturated fats with healthy fats. Most of us on this eating plan don’t bother getting the calculator out to tally up the calories, instead we put our trust in good quality, healthy food. So as you can see, this type of eating mimics the way cavemen (and women) ate hence the term cavegirl 🙂
What are the benefits of clean eating?
I have found the benefit of eating clean to be more energy (can I possibly have more than I did? 🙂 ) in workouts and general day , weight loss, more even moods, clearer skin and I sleep sooo much better! On a personal level I have taken my clean eating to another level after stumbling across Mark’s Daily Apple website http://www.marksdailyapple.com/ He takes the eating clean message to another level and doesn’t eat grains because technically they are processed (even the good ones). But no one is telling you to take it this far unless you want to. And as I have always said, you have to find an eating plan that suits your lifestyle.
Want to give it a go?
If you want to take the plunge into eating clean, I suggest starting off small and then gradually adding in more discipline once you’ve got one habit mastered. So for example the first step could be to kick out white foods from your diet and replace them with brown foods like brown rice or quinoa.
How to begin.
Step 1 – Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose fresh, unprocessed foods over canned or processed products. Clean eating enthusiasts believe that we were meant to survive on fresh fruits and vegetables and that processing them reduces their nutritional value and fiber content and adds salt, fat, sugar and chemicals. Choose fruit instead of fruit juice and if you must pick a processed vegetable, frozen is always better than canned.
Step 2 – Balance protein and complex carbohydrates. Incorporate whole grains like brown rice or millet over processed grains. Eat lean meats, and choose organic or grass fed meats when possible as these foods are usually clean of pesticides, hormones and additives. Grill, broil or steam your meats rather than frying.
Step 3 – Avoid all fizzy drinks including sugar free versions and high calorie, sugary ones. Choose water or tea for your beverages, or juice your own fruits and vegetables and enjoy them without added sugars or preservatives.
Step 4 – Trade bad fats for good fats. One of the most important aspects of clean eating is removing saturated fats from the diet. Lower your saturated fat intake by avoiding fast food, choosing lean cuts of meat and getting your fat calories from foods like nuts and fatty fish.
Step 5 – Eat several small meals to keep blood sugar stable and to avoid overeating. Choose snacks like nuts, low-fat or fat free dairy and fruits and vegetables. Some folk who live a clean eating lifestyle don’t eat dairy products while others adapt clean eating to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Remember, it’s hard to stick to an eating plan 100% of the time, so it’s ok to adhere to the 80/20 rule. If you eat this way most of the time, the odd time of eating that cake is not going to kill you! 🙂