What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a way of living that entails eating natural, whole foods and avoiding processed ones to ensure better health. Clean eating is more than a diet. There are specified foods to eat while practicing clean eating; some of them are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. On the other hand, it is mandatory to avoid salty and sugary foods, unhealthy fats and proteins, processed or refined grains, and foods with additives and preservatives. Clean eating has positive effects on the body and mind.
Benefits of Clean Eating
- strengthened immunity
- improved gut health
- lower chances of constipation
- improved skin, hair, and nail health
- better chances of weight loss
- improved sleep and energy levels
- increased productivity
Do you like these benefits and are interested in clean eating? Here are strategies that can help you.
Clean Eating Strategies
Consume Unprocessed Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in dietary fiber. Refined whole grain loses its outer bran and inner germ layers, hence loses some nutrients in the process. Unprocessed whole grains aid weight loss and lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The recommended intake of whole grains is three servings per day. To consume whole grains, invest in barley, wheat, oats, red rice, brown rice, corn, or quinoa.
Consume Fruits and Vegetables
The recommended portion for consuming fruits and vegetables is five servings per day. Fruits and vegetables enhance weight loss and improve the immune system. To practice clean eating, you need to invest in fruits and vegetables.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods such as salami, sausage, instant noodles, pre-packaged frozen meals, and ready-to-eat foods with additives and preservatives are not allowed on clean eating. They are a no-no for you.
Consume Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are unsaturated fats that reduce inflammation and promote heart health. They include avocado, nuts, flax, seeds, and salmon.
Consume Lean Protein
Lean proteins like chicken, beans, wild-caught fish, lentils, nuts, and seeds are rich in amino acids which ensure enzyme activities. Ensure you add some protein to every meal that you consume.
Consume Less Added Sugar
Limiting your consumption of added sugar in processed and packaged foods reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. It is unhealthy to consume more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. Sadly, a number of unhealthy foods contain up to 25 teaspoons of sugar. Avoid foods that contain ingredients like fructose, dextrose, and corn syrup. It goes without saying that you should always read food labels.
Clean Eating and Weight Loss
Many wonder if weight loss is actually possible through clean eating. Yes it is, and here`s why:
- Lean proteins help maintain lean body mass.
- Dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains enhance weight loss.
- Healthy fats lower inflammation and control cholesterol.
- Avoiding foods that have hidden calories, sugar, and salt enhances weight loss.
Clean Eating Grocery List
cauliflower, bell peppers, cucumber, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, tomato, arugula, ginger, garlic, fennel, celery, asparagus, onion, Brussels sprouts, peas, sweet potato, beet greens, scallions, lettuce, cabbage, carrot, beetroot, radish, radish greens, kale, chard
avocado, plum, peach, apple, blackberries, kiwi, apricot, lemon, lime, grapefruit, strawberries, apple, orange, honeydew, melons, papaya, banana, raspberries, pineapple, watermelon
trout, mackerel, shrimp, clam, mussels, whole eggs, skinless chicken breast, lean cuts of beef, pork, yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna
beans, quinoa, nuts, lentils, tofu, seeds
coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk
Herbs and Spices
bay leaf, clove, cinnamon, cilantro, dill, sage, rosemary, paprika, chili powder, Himalayan pink salt cardamom, turmeric, cumin, coriander, parsley, nutmeg, mustard
Fats and Oils
nuts, butter, tahini, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, flaxseed
oat bran, buckwheat, Ezekiel bread, wheat, brown rice, red rice, black rice, wild rice, quinoa, whole barley
water, coconut water, freshly pressed juices, green tea/oolong tea, black coffee in moderation
Nuts and Seeds
almond, chia seeds, hazelnuts, walnut, pepita, flaxseed, sesame seeds, macadamia, pistachio
maple syrup, organic honey, fruits, palm sugar, agave nectar
white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard
Foods to Avoid on Clean Eating
- pre-packaged foods and beverages
- foods with “natural flavors”
- diet soda
- French fries
- fried chicken
- canned veggies
- deli meats
Clean Eating Recipes
Let`s discuss some recipes you can explore while you practice clean eating.
Apple Walnut Tofu Salad
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup tofu, crushed
- 1 cup home-grown or organic baby spinach
- ½ red apple, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- a handful of dried cranberries
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
How to Prepare
- Put the veggies and apple slices into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt to this dressing.
- In another bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper, and orange juice, and whisk properly.
- Add the dressing on top of it, and give the salad a final toss.
- Add the crushed tofu and dried cranberries.
Berry Protein Breakfast Smoothie
- ¼ cup blueberries
- ½ cup goji berries
- some more goji berries for garnish
- ½ cup almond milk
- 1 banana
How to Prepare
- Put all the ingredients (except the gogi berries for garnish) into a blender and blitz.
- Pour the smoothie into a glass and garnish with a few goji berries.
- Now your berry protein breakfast smoothie is ready.
Lean Beef Stew
- ½ cup lean cuts of beef, cubed
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- ½ inch ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup cubed carrot
- ½ cup chopped beetroot
- ¼ onion, chopped
- a cup of water
- slices of whole grain bread
- salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- a handful of cilantro
How to Prepare
- Add the olive oil and beef to a soup pot.
- Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chopped onion, and ginger.
- Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the beetroot, carrot, salt, and pepper.
- Cook for 5 minutes more.
- Add the water and simmer for 20 minutes.
- When the beef is cooked, transfer the soup to a bowl.
- Garnish with cilantro.
Did You Know?
- It is best to think of clean eating as a way of eating more of the most nutrient-rich and healthiest options in each food group, and less of the not-so-healthy ones.
- Clean eating, at its extreme, is known as orthorexia, which is an excessive preoccupation with eating healthy food.
Because clean eating is big on avoiding processed foods, let`s see some facts on processed foods.
Some Facts about Processed Food
- Foods are processed to kill harmful microorganisms, and also to make their shelf life longer.
- Processing removes some of the nutrients in food.
- Regular consumption of processed foods increases the risk of early aging and kidney damage due to the presence of phosphates and genetically engineered ingredients.
- Processed foods can be highly addictive.
- Processing may affect the taste of food, as manufacturers may add some artificial salts, sugar, additives, or fats to it.
- Processed foods cost more than fresh foods.
- Trans fats and sugar in some processed foods can cause inflammation that leads to asthma.
- Some processed foods like blueberry jam, peanut butter, homemade cranberry juice, grape juice, and apple juice are healthy.
Now That You Know…
You too can practice clean eating, simply by following the guide in this article. With some determination and discipline, you`ll be great at it.