How to start a clean eating diet – and why
With more and more people choosing to ‘eat clean’, you would be forgiven for wondering why you should? What exactly is so “dirty” about our current diets anyway, and how do we go about ‘cleaning’ them up with a clean eating diet?
Well firstly we all are eating far too much junk and processed foods, and potentially ingesting too many chemicals, E-numbers, additives and thickeners. Think about how many disorders you are aware of which can be connected to an unhealthy diet – diabetes, obesity, hormonal problems, even bowel cancer…
And have you ever thought about how many chemicals you may be putting in your body day to day? Pesticides sprayed on crops and even the feed for the meat we eat, can find their way into our bodies.
Add to this the well researched and documented dangers of eating a high-sugar and/or high-sodium diet as well as all the relatively new additives, starches and preservatives we do not yet fully know the potential impact of, and we have a recipe for disaster. Did you know there are over 50 different types of sugar??
So what does ‘eating clean’ mean and how do we go about it? To start with there are no absolute rules,no calorie counting, no supplements, no meal replacements, no shakes, no points counting and no restrictions.
However there are a number of guiding principles which pretty much all clean-eaters follow:
• Eat the freshest foods locally available to you, and in their most natural state
• Prepare/cook as many of your meals as possible – so you know exactly what is in there!
• Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit – choose organic and buy locally from farmer’s markets where possible
• Eat six small meals per day – Choose to eat your delicious natural foods in small portions throughout the day. By consuming your meals and snacks frequently, it will allow your body to burn off calories in between meals and make your metabolism run at it’s optimum level. This is key to maintaining your weight and blood glucose sugar levels.
• Reduce your meat intake by eating smaller portions, and choose lean healthy proteins such as turkey or sustainable fish
• Avoid refined grains – which means white bread and pasta are out, brown rice and quinoa are in
• Instead of using salt and sugar in large quantities, flavour the food with fresh herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, citrus, etc.
• Avoid drinks such as coca-cola, sweetened juices and alcohol – drink water – drinking plenty of water on a daily basis is key to maintaining your clean eating lifestyle. Water flushes out the toxins and keeps your body working at optimum level. You can always add lemon to the water for extra flavor
The concept of clean eating diet is not a ‘diet’(be aware that weight loss often happens :-)! – nor is it a fad. It is a way of life for people who just want to make sure they are eating the most nutritionally valuable foods for their physical and mental well-being.
Making this lifestyle choice can have huge benefits including increased energy and mental alertness, improved digestion, clearer skin and improvement/relief of allergies.
What is there not to like?
Clean eating diet essentials
If you think you would like to see how clean eating diet can make you feel better and brighter, here are some useful store cupboard essentials to help you:
• Tins of beans, chickpeas, lentils (in water)
• Tinned tuna, salmon, mackerel (in olive oil or water, NOT brine)
• Whole-wheat pastas, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, freekeh and dried lentils
• Natural (unsalted) nuts and nut butters, seeds, raisins, unsweetened dried fruit, rice cakes
• Coconut oil/olive oil
• Apple Cider vinegar
• Organic Tamari (soy) sauce
• Plenty of your favourite herbs and spices
• Brown rice syrup or organic maple syrup or local honey
• Herbal teas and green tea
• Wholegrain mustard
If you have a selection of the above list in your cupboard, some fresh organic fruit, veg and grass-fed meat and a handful of recipes which you can find in my eBooks you are well on your way to a healthier future. You can always visit my Clean Eating Facebook page for some inspiration.
Remember I am here for you, so if you ever need help, please shout.
Good luck on your clean eating diet!