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The Starter Guide to Clean Eating

20 Oct 2015

You’ve offered a person a piece of cake, and they respond to you with “no thanks, I’m trying to eat clean”, but what does that actually mean? While you may have to steer clear of treats that your former self would drool over, in the long run, by eating clean you’re serving your body far greater portions of good health more valuable than any other sweet has to offer. Here, a basic guide for how to eat clean and why it’s an investment your body will want to stay true to.

1. WAY MORE FRESH FRUIT & VEG

It’s important to keep in mind that clean eating is not a quick fix, it’s a lifestyle change and by doing so, you’re able to indulge in the purest of natural foods. The primary foundations here are to eat whole fresh fruits and vegetables, cut out processed foods as much as you can and avoid added sugars.

By maintaining clean eating, scientific research suggests that mostly plant-based diets can prevent various diseases and conditions, specifically high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Clean eating also assists an individual in maintaining a healthy weight, and can improve both their hair and skin.

These foods are your friends -

  • Ancient (unrefined/whole) grains: quinoa, sorghum, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, farro, oatmeal and spelt.
  • Unprocessed foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, dried legumes, nuts and farm-fresh eggs. 
  • Lean meats: try to reduce the amount of meat you eat, opt for lean meats instead.
  • Vegetarian foods: by replacing your average meat intake, you can upkeep the same amount of protein by having beans, tofu and tempeh.

We’re human, and sometimes we have cravings. But instead of running to the junk stash, try any of these essential good foods for satisfying your hunger, making the right snack or perfecting any dish as just the right topping.

  • Chia seeds, fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut and kimchi, hummus, peppercorns, salmon and tuna pouches, oats, raw nuts, sprouted-grain bread, garlic powder and pumpkin seeds.

And just because you’re eating right, this doesn’t mean that you can forget about portion sizes. An integral part of maintaining a balanced diet is to be aware of how big your serving is, where fruit and vegetables should primarily fill your plate.

2. BEWARE OF THESE

These foods are not your friends -

  • Artificial sweeteners: specifically be cautious of ‘saccharin’, ‘aspartame’ and ‘saccharin’. Artificial sweeteners have been scientifically linked to overstimulating the brain’s sugar receptors and thus, actually make us desire sweet foods. Foods claiming to be “low carb” or “low sugar” are usually a giveaway for hiding these types of sweeteners.
  • Alcohol: after trying so hard to maintain balance, over-drinking can easily ruin your progress. Alcohol is filled with empty calories and sugar, which can make you gain weight. Though everything is recommended in moderation, so try to keep it to a minimum.
  • High-fructose corn syrup: otherwise labelled ‘corn sugar’ or ‘corn sweetener’, these concentrated simple sugars are hidden in so many foods that you need to be cautious, because they cause a drop in blood sugar, insulin spikes and confuse the brain into thinking it needs more high-sugar and high-fat foods - even if you’re full.
  • Processed foods: as mentioned before, processed foods are filled with salt, sugar, bad fats and preservatives where there are so many, you particularly need to be cautious...

3. BE CAUTIOUS

The everyday person will spend a significant portion of their wages on groceries each week, so why wouldn't we try to understand our money’s worth? If you’re buying anything from a box or packaging, it’s bound to have a label. Read it. This nutritional information will reveal to you all that you should and need to know about the food you’re about to buy, and it will also state whether or not it contains any ingredients that you need to avoid, especially those nasty artificial or corn sweeteners.

4. MONITOR YOUR CAFFEINE

Aim to keep your intake of caffeinated drinks to a minimum, because having more than you should will most likely confuse your energy and anxiety levels, resulting in poor food choices. If you drink milk with your coffee, the healthiest option would be to have an alternative such as cashew, almond or macadamia milk. Low-fat milk is a greater option than full-cream which can cause bloating, but overall it’s best to reduce how much milk you have. And if you’re headed for that second (or third) cup of coffee, try something else like black coffee or green tea instead.

5. GET CREATIVE

The beauty of eating clean is that you’re widening your taste palette to a whole variety of natural foods. Research recipes or create your own to include various fruits and vegetables that you love, and try cooking at home! Grab your partner or friends, experiment with flavours and exchange thoughts because once you change the way you eat, you’ll also change the way you see and consume the glorious world of fresh foods.

Clean eating should make your body feel like the temple you know it can be, instead of burdening your pocket.


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