You’ve probably heard before about clean eating but do not exactly know what it’s about and how to join the health trend. Clean eating is consuming whole foods that are as near as possible to their natural state. In other words, it is eating only foods that have undergone minimal processes of refining, processing, and handling, making them as close to their natural state as possible.
It does not involve eating a specific amount of food or less of something, but being mindful of where the food comes from, its process, and how you finally put it on your plate.
Nowadays, it is difficult to find foods that have not been refined or processed in some way. This becomes a challenge for clean eating enthusiasts. The rationale of clean eating emphasizes raw food options such as fruits and vegetables while eliminating refined grains, sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats and proteins.
Should You Be Eating Clean?
Anyone aspiring to a healthy diet should go for clean foods. Eating clean is very easy to follow and does not require any strenuous effort apart from being mindful of your food choices. Unlike dieting, you are not restricted to any specific amount of food and hence calories.
You can eat as much as you would like to, or less for that matter. What is important is to ensure that you make healthy food choices by selecting foods that are not refined or processed. Choose foods which are as close to their natural and raw state as much as possible.
How to Go about Eating Clean Food and Why it is Important to You
Clean eating has a lot of dietary benefits that come along with it. Knowing how to make the right food choices is only the beginning. With the challenge of not knowing which food is to be considered clean, you must follow these steps to be able to eat clean.
- Eliminate processed foods: Processed foods have undergone various refining stages. They have additives and ingredients that are considered unhealthy. To begin with, check whether the ingredient list has anything that is classified as additive or artificial colors. Many refined foods have sodium, sugar, and fat which do not qualify them as clean foods. There are however clean packaged foods such as whole-wheat pasta, baby spinach, and chickpeas which are all good clean eating options.
- Eat more veggies: Vegetables are classy sources of vitamins A and K which help improve your vision and immune system. Go for fresh vegetables which are obtained straight from the farm, they are unprocessed and clean.
- Eat healthy fats: When eating clean, you do not need to cut back on all fat, but instead opt for clean options or healthy fats. Swap out saturated fats such as those found in meat, cheese, and butter. Healthy fats are vital in improving the health of your heart and also in raising the level of the good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol.
- Reduce alcohol: This may contain unhealthy sugars and excess amounts of calories which is not good for your health. Avoid mixed drinks containing lots of sugar. Be moderate in your alcohol intake-one drink per day for women and two for men.
- Monitor your salt intake: Many people have a problem taking more than the recommended limit of 2,300 mg of sodium per day. This exposes them to high blood pressure. By eating clean, you should avoid packaged foods that are high in sodium.
- Eat whole grains: Choose whole grains which contain bran and germ, unlike refined grains which have them removed during processing. When shopping, check the label to ascertain that it is ‘whole wheat’ and not just ‘wheat’.
- Check the portion size of meat: Eat less meat. But this does not mean that you entirely eliminate any prospect of meat. Certain meats have saturated fat which does not constitute healthy eating. Lean meat is a preferred option.
- Eat more fruits: Fruits are naturally sweet, delicious, rich in potassium and vitamin C. Take 1½ to 2 cups of fruit per day to obtain the recommended vitamins. Go for whole unprocessed fruits which are raw and obtained straight from the farm.
- Clean eating requires your deliberate effort by consciously choosing what to eat and being mindful all the time. It is not difficult once you are aware of what you should be eating and what to avoid. Avoid or cut back on anything refined or containing unknown ingredients that form a lengthy list on the label. These are most likely processed and ultimately unclean foods.