What Is Clean Eating? Learning to Eat Clean To Feel Great & Avoid Toxins
Everyone is talking about it, but what is clean eating, really? How can it help you detox your body, and live a healthy lifestyle?
Clean eating is based on eating foods that are not processed. Healthy, natural foods without chemicals, toxins, and GMO’s. It’s about eating what we call ‘real food’.
Real Food: Single ingredients that contain no added chemicals.
Processed Food: Chemically processed foods that are manufactured using refined ingredients and artificial substances.
Most of our food today is mass produced in factories and then is sold in large stores. This convenience comes at a heavy price. The foods we eat are designed to have a longer shelf life in order to maintain the local store’s profits. To help the longevity of the food, it’s pumped full of toxins in the form of salt, sugar, and other chemicals.
There is an obesity and health crisis sweeping the Western world, and this is mostly due to these ‘convenience foods’ we consume on a daily basis. But we cannot ignore the physical and mental improvements experienced by those who actively eat clean.
How Does Clean Eating Work?
When you eat clean, you’re putting only natural food sources into your body, eliminating chemicals and additional added ingredients that are found in processed foods.
The sugar in your foods is often disguised under other unfamiliar names like:
- Agave nectar
- Corn syrup
- Crystalized fructose
- Fruit concentrates
Sugar can have an extremely damaging effect on the body, brain, and metabolism. It can cause insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes, raise triglyceride to dangerous levels leading to heart disease, and increase the accumulation of fat around and in the liver and abdomen, which leads to dangerous levels of obesity.
High sugar levels has also been associated with some forms of cancer.
The Hazards Lurking In Your Diet
Fats: Processed foods often contain refined or hydronagated vegetables or seed oils. When consumed, they convert to Trans Fats. Since these fats are simply labelled as vegetable or seed oils, the damaging effects of them are often overlooked. High levels of these fats can lead to heart disease, body inflammation and oxidation.
Refined Carbs: While carbohydrates are a necessary part of your diet, and they provide a steady release in energy- refined carbs such as those found in processed foods, aren’t healthy. These carbs are digested too quickly which leads to spikes and dips in blood sugar and this affects your insulin levels.
The spikes and dips can lead to both short term and long term health problems and have an adverse effect on your emotional stability which causes unnatural highs and lows in your mood.
Additives: Unfortunately, food manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients on a product. Of those that are listed, many of them include long, unpronounceable names or even a simple code that uses letters and numbers.
The 4 Main Categories of Food Additives:
- Colorants: These are chemicals that are added to provide specific colors to the food, and are also used to improve the look of the processed food to entice you to buy them.
- Preservatives: Chemicals that are added in order to increase the lifespan of the food before it begins to rot.
- Flavorings: Chemicals that are added to improve the flavor of the food.
- Texturants: Chemicals that are added to improve the food’s texture.
One example of a preservative that’s found in bread is Ammonium Sulphate. In small amounts, it’s considered harmless. Ammonium sulphate is a chemical combination of Sulphur, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, and Oxygen, and it’s primarily used as fertilizer.
This is just one example of what’s lurking in your food.
Simply by eliminating these ingredients from your diet, you will feel and look healtheir, as well as increase your overall energy levels.
A varied clean diet provides you with everything you need to maximize your health and improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
The Basics of Clean Eating
Before looking at meal ideas and other tips for a clean eating lifestyle, you should hone in on what exactly this type of diet is going to do for you. The following information goes over clean eating, what is allowed and not allowed, and basically how it works.
The Simple Rules of Clean Eating
A good place to start with clean eating is to learn about the simple and basic rules involved with this lifestyle. In general, you are focusing more on healthy, whole, and fresh foods. Instead of counting calories or cutting your carbs, you are simply trying to cook more, using fresh ingredients, and avoiding highly processed foods. This means grating your own cheese, no longer using canned fruits and veggies, and only having eggs or dairy that is from free-range or grass-fed animals. With a clean eating lifestyle, you should be cooking most meals on your own and reducing your saturated fats and trans fats. You also want to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake as much as possible.
Go For Fresh Produce
With clean eating, produce is going to be a big part of your diet. You can also have some carbohydrates and plenty of protein, but fruits and veggies are a good portion of your meals, particularly with lunch and dinner. You want to have fresh produce as much as possible. This means even trying to reduce how often you turn to frozen veggies, and get them in the produce section and slice them up yourself. To save money and have a larger selection, try finding local farmer’s markets.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods is a major no-no on the clean eating diet. You want to use as many natural and fresh ingredients as you can. If it comes in a package, consider whether there is a more natural version of that ingredient. Shredded cheese comes in a block of cheese you grate yourself, for example. Plus, you should only have dairy when it is from a grass-fed cow. Chopped onions come in full onions you can buy and chop yourself. These are good examples to start with.
Start Cooking More
As you can see, cooking is a major component to eating clean. It would be very difficult to do if you were not cooking on a regular basis. You don’t need to be a natural chef, but you should be able to follow a simple recipe. If you don’t have a lot of time to prep and cook, invest in some appliances that help the process go faster, such as a food processor for chopping, and a slow cooker to cook your meals during the day while you are at work or school.
Staying away from processed foods and chemicals and switching to a clean eating diet can help you live a healthier lifestyle. Learn about the benefits of clean eating today!