A Comprehensive Guide to Clean Eating You may have heard of clean eating a hundred times from watching television or from friends who are turning their life around by starting on this regimen. If you are still clueless about clueless eating, here is a foolproof guide to clean eating that will hopefully enlighten and motivate you to start living and eating healthy! Clean eating is essentially about eating more amounts of nutritious, healthy food options across all food groups. In addition, eating clean also refers to a diet with decreased consumption of unhealthy food items.
Clean eating inspires people to adapt to a healthier eating lifestyle as evidenced by choosing whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains as well as healthier meat and fat options. In addition, eating clean also means cutting back on unhealthy compounds such as salt, sugars, and bad fats. Clean eating is not the same as dieting in that you don’t really have to reduce your food intake. It’s all about healthier and wiser eating decisions on the long term.
1.Reduce or eliminate the intake of processed foods
Majority of processed and canned goods are saturated with salt, sugar, and fat- unhealthy substances that go against the basic principles of healthy eating. Make label reading a habit of yours during grocery shopping. Look ay the ingredients of canned and packaged goods. If you see ingredients that are hard to pronounce, simply stay away from them. These ingredients are most likely sugar, sodium, and fat derivatives in their proper names. The best thing that you can do to avoid consuming unhealthy food is to make your own version of your canned goods favorites such as tomato sauce, macaroni and cheese, mushroom soup, and granola bars to name a few. A simple rule you should always bear in mind is this- not everything that comes out of a can, a box, or a bag is essentially bad for you. Whole-wheat pasta, chickpeas, and spinach in cans or boxes are very health and are still considered as clean packaged food items. They are minimally processed and possess beneficial nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and fibers.
2. Increase vegetable intake
It is a no-brainer to include veggies into your diet. They have a wide array of health benefits:
– Vitamin A for healthy vision and proper immune system function
– Vitamin K helps in keeping the bones healthy
– All veggies are high in healthy fiber which helps in curbing appetite
– Vegetables are low in calories which means you can eat a lot of them without having to worry about weight gain
Vegetables are clean in that they are unprocessed and are delivered straight from the farms. Ideally, adults should eat at least 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables daily.
3.Decrease your intake of saturated fat
It is not necessary to eliminate fat intake just so you can eat clean. The best thing to do is to choose consuming the healthy fats over bad fats that are most found in cheese, butter, and meat. Ideally, opt for healthy sources of fat such as olive oil, canola, oil, and those found in nuts and fatty fish. Healthy fats are good in that they even boost the level of good cholesterol in the body. Unhealthy fats are saturated in nature. They can clog the blood vessels resulting in heart diseases, hypertension, stroke, and even heart attacks.
If you need help in identifying the two fat categories, here is a simple rule:
– Saturated fats are fats that become solid in room temperature.
– Unsaturated or healthy fats are oils that remain liquid in room temperature or even at low temperature.
4.Reduce your intake of alcohol
Clean eating also means that you need to be more discerning with the drinks that you consume. Alcohol drinking is not prohibited, but health experts advise to stay within the recommended limited. For women, it is ideal to drink at least one glass of alcohol, whilst alcohol limit in men is at two glasses of alcohol per day. Alcohol at the right amounts I known to deliver health benefits. On the other hand, too much alcohol intake can result in weight gain due to excessive caloric intake as well as dehydration. In addition, experts advise to steer clear from mixed cocktails or anything that is loaded with sugar such as drinks that have suspiciously bright hues and those that come out from a frozen machine.
5.Un-sweeten your diet
We eat food items that are high in added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends women to consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar and for men no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. To get started on a clean eating regimen, it is best to limit, or better, eliminate your intake of carbonated drinks, candies, and desserts. In addition, make sure to limit the amount of sugars added to healthy desserts like yogurt. If you cannot avoid eating foods that contain sugar, make sure that its concentration is kept at a low.
6. Keep your salt intake at a low
Increased sodium intake can be detrimental to health. It can raise your blood pressure levels resulting in hypertension. The majority of the American population eats more than the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium intake per day. One way to reduce salt intake is to eliminate the intake of processed foods. Packaged foods are also high in sodium, thus it is best to make homemade versions of these items as a healthier alternative. Another tip to minimize sodium intake is the use of herbs, spices, and citrus fruits to flavor dishes.
7.Opt for whole grains
Whole grains are undeniably healthier than refined grains since the former still feature the germ and the bran. Look for the word “whole” when shopping for grains such as in the case of whole wheat and whole bread. Choose whole foods such as quinoa, oats, and brown rice over white rice. One other advantage of consuming whole grains contributes to lower body mass index as well as lower fat percentage as opposed to those who eat refined and processed grains.
8. Lower intake of meat
Clean eating is not synonymous to being vegan. However, when your focus is to adapt a clean eating habit in the long run it is best to lessen meat consumption. This habit will significantly decrease saturate fat concentrations in the body too. Switch the use of lean meat to vegetarian proteins such as tofu, tempeh, and beans to name a few.
9.Increase Fruit Intake
Fruits are naturally sweet and delicious, thus they earned the name, nature’s candies. These food items are also loaded with vitamins and minerals.
– Potassium that keeps blood pressure levels in check
– Vitamin C which keeps the immune system to function optimally
Just like vegetables, fruits are unprocessed in nature. Even frozen and canned fruits are minimally processed or unprocessed at all. The recommended intake of fruits is 1.5 to 2 cups per day. This recommended intake ensures excellent heart health and can even help in weight loss efforts too.
10.Cut refined grains from your diet
It is recommended to nix refined grains off your eating regimen. Cutting out the use of flour and refined grains is one of the basic foundations of clean eating. Refined grains are processed in nature. This means that they are already stripped off of natural nutrients such as selenium, fiber, and magnesium among many others. Skip the consumption of anything that contains refined flour and similar ingredients. Always go for their whole grain variant if possible.
Hopefully, these ten tops have inspired you to clean up your act and be more health conscious not only at the start of this year but for many years to come.