Clean or dirty hands? Clean or dirty underwear? Clean or dirty house? You’re answer to all of these questions is obviously clean – clean always trumps dirty (except in the bedroom where sometimes a little dirty is good too, but I digress). So when it comes to the foods that you eat – why wouldn’t you choose to eat the cleanest and healthiest foods for your body as well?
Clean eating is all the rage these days, and with good reason. With so many chemicals, preservatives and just straight-up crap added to our foods, it’s scary not knowing what you’re eating and putting into your body which is why I’m all about eating as clean as I can. For a lot of people though, they’re not sure how to eat clean or what it means so here’s my breakdown of it.
Eating clean is really as simple as it gets – it means that you eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible by eating foods that are free of any added chemicals, aren’t processed, preserved or refined. Your diet should consist mostly of lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grain carbs.
It’s not so much of a diet, as it is a completely doable lifestyle. Once you make the switch to clean eating you’ll notice that not only will extra weight come off but you’ll be able to maintain your weight much easier as well, your energy levels will increase, and you’ll just see a major boost in your overall mood and health in general. Start by making a couple of small changes and swaps at first, and don’t feel bad if you fall off the clean bandwagon every now and then and indulge in those “dirty” foods, because it’s all about balance at the end of the day.
So here are my top 10 tips to help you eat clean:
- Switch out your white carbs (bread, pasta, flour), with whole grain options instead.
- Look at the ingredients on your food labels – they should consist of just a few ingredients, not a ton of man-made chemicals that you can’t pronounce. If you don’t know what an ingredient is or can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
- Eat lean proteins like chicken, fish, turkey or very lean cuts of red meat.
- Try to avoid sugar altogether, but if you can’t use healthier substitutes like agave, stevia, coconut palm sugar or honey.
- Try to buy only organic products, especially when it comes to meat, dairy and eggs because many of these non-organic items can contain hormones and/or antibiotics.
- Drink plenty of water each day, and stay away from sugary juices and sodas. To figure out how much water to drink each day, divide your weight in half and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink (If you weigh 160 lbs., you should drink 80 oz. water/day).
- Aim to buy organic, seasonal and local produce at a Farmer’s Market. Not only is it free of pesticides, but it’s fresher, tastes better, leaves less of a carbon footprint and supports your local community.
- Stay away from fried food, fast-food and most pre-packaged foods.
- Replace saturated fats with healthy fats and essential fatty acids.
- Choose low-fat dairy products over full fat or non-fat options.