Clean eating is actually a lot easier than many people make it out to be. It’s really quite simple.
All you have to do is follow these 5 simple rules of clean eating that will not only transform your physique but will also make you happier, more energized and improve your health and sense of well-being.
Clean eating has become a trend nowadays, showing no signs of slowing down and almost everyone has heard of it. There are lots of restaurants that offer clean eating menus and many fitness gurus and celebrities are promoting it. It has become a way of life for many people but few know what it means and the benefits it brings for the body.
It’s a pretty straight forward concept. Instead of thinking of it as some kind of diet where you’re supposed to eat more or less of specific things, such as more protein or fewer calories, you should become mindful of how the food travels from its origin to your plate.
One thing you need to always keep in mind clean eating consists of eating “whole” or “real” foods. What this means is eating foods that aren’t refined, processed or handled in any kind, making them as close as possible to their naturally found form.
So, here are the 5 golden rules of clean eating that you need to implement into your diet:
1. Always go for fresh, whole foods over refined ones
Refined or processed foods are defined as most types of food you can find in a can, bag, box or any other type of package, and even though there are some exceptions to this rule, such as a bag of fresh green beans, the majority of the foods you’re consuming should be fresh. This is also more environmentally friendly and cuts down on plastic waste.
2. Natural sugars and whole grains are a hearty option
Even though you may not be able to eat all too often, you can try whenever you can to increase your intake of whole grains such as millet, brown rice, amaranth, and quinoa. Legumes and beans are also very important for your heart’s health and can protect the heart from coronary heart disease. When eaten in moderation, clean natural sugars are good too. These include maple syrup, honey, and dehydrated sugar cane juice. All of them are natural sweeteners full of antioxidants and free of cholesterol and fat.
3. Eat plenty of protein
The majority of people are on diets that are high in carbs and fat, but are seriously lacking in protein. This is especially true for the early part of the day, for breakfast or an early lunch. As everyone knows, protein is the most important nutrient for muscle building, and it can also help suppress your appetite. If you eat it throughout the day, it will keep you feeling satiated longer. Always be mindful of the nutrient ratio in your meals and see to it that you eat even amounts of protein during the day.
4. Be aware of your salt and sugar consumption
Doing this is a lot easier than you think, especially if you’ve already eliminated processed foods, which are the biggest source of all of our excess calories and high levels of sugar, salt, and fat. Clean, whole foods usually have a low content of all of these ingredients. Your salt intake should not exceed 6 grams per day, but even that is on the high end.
5. Avoid drinking your calories
Drinks with high-calorie content such as vitamin waters, specialty coffees and all types of soft drinks, on average, can add an extra 500-600 calories a day to your total intake. This is also true for many protein drinks so check the label before buying. Whenever you feel thirsty, choose water first, or some unsweetened tea, whichever flavor you like. Other suggestions include organic milk or 100% fruit juice. You can add some sparkling water in the latter for a more refreshing taste.
How to eat clean
The main principle you need to learn for clean eating is to be able to recognize which foods are processed and which ones are closest to their natural form. The best way you could do this is to live on a farm and grow your food, but unfortunately, this is not an option for the majority of people. Not to worry though, here is a list of foods which should be included in your clean eating plan.
Unprocessed, whole foods include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- All types of nuts
- Dried legumes
- Eggs from naturally fed chicken
Minimally processed foods include:
- Unrefined grains, like whole-wheat bread and pasta, steel-cut oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, and quinoa.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
- Olive oil, flaxseed oil, etc.
- Hormone-free dairy products
- Unprocessed meat, wild over pastured, pastured over grain-fed animals
It is also generally recommended that pesticide-free organic food is eaten so that you can avoid consuming the added hormones and various chemical compounds. It’s important to note that this can lead many people into thinking that as long as you eat clean you are free to eat as much as you want. The truth is that although they may be healthy, they still have calories in them.
This nutritional approach can help you maximize your energy levels and improve your overall health, making it much more than just a diet, but a lifestyle. This fact alone implies that it has a certain flexibility to it, meaning it can be adapted to fit almost any type of routine a person has had.
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 21st June, 2020.