Thursday, March 24, 2016

What is Clean Eating?

The buzz around health and fitness these days is all about "clean eating".  It's actually nothing new, but all the hype is probably a really good thing because many people have gotten away from this way of eating as the food and marketing industry has put out some pretty dangerous stuff, labeled as food.  It's time we go back to a cleaner way of eating!
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First things first, let's just get it straight that clean eating is not a diet, rather a lifestyle choice.  Diets are temporary and may give quick fixes, in which people are often left feeling hungry, depleted of essential nutrients, and feeling just plain miserable.  So what happens?  They give up because it's not an ideal way to live and the body begins to crave the wrong types of foods as it starts lacking the nutrition it needs to sustain.  As a former yo-yo dieter, I can attest to feeling this way, and not only did I give up, I gained backed any weight I lost plus more!  Dieting just does not work...plain and simple!

Clean eating, along with a consistent exercise routine will not only give you the results you are looking to achieve, but will help you create habits that will last a lifetime.  Just a few of the side effects include: fat loss, better sleep, increased energy, healthier hair and skin, increased mental well-being, and a better physical feeling overall.

So, what does it mean to "eat clean"?  Well, just eliminating all processed foods and any additives, like preservatives and artificial ingredients are the basics of clean eating.  It's just making a choice to eat whole, unrefined foods.  Choose foods that come straight from nature in an unaltered state, like fruits and vegetables - organic is always best, but it's not always economical.  Get your meats straight from the butcher or prepared by you.  Stay away from prepackaged sausages, hot dogs and hamburgers, and even some ground meat, which have so many fillers and additives that can be harmful.  Include whole grains into your meals, like brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, oats, bulgar, etc.  Stay away from white carbs, like white rice, pasta, white bread, etc.

Become a label reader and don't always believe what the front of the packages say.  Something labeled as "low fat" usually means that they have added other ingredients, usually chemical and artificial ingredients, to boost flavor.  Something labeled "sugar free" means that it contains artificial sweeteners, which are linked to cancer and other diseases.   

If you must purchase something prepackaged, look for those with less than 4-6 ingredients and make sure they are all something that you recognize and can pronounce.  If you can't identify it, then it's probably not good for you.

Follow these guidelines:
* Eating small frequent meals 5-6 times per day, or every 2-3 hours to level blood sugar and prevent hunger
* Include lean proteins like fish, chicken, turkey and pork, and whole grains and heart healthy fats in each meal choice
* Avoid ALL processed and/or refined foods (sugar, baked goods, candies, white flour, white rice, etc)
* Avoid saturated and trans fats
* Avoid sodas, high calorie juices and other drinks that give your body no nutritional value and lots of unnecessary (unwanted) calories - water is the best!
* Avoid high calorie, non nutritious foods - NO JUNK FOOD!
* Drink at least half your weight in ounces of water each day
It may take some time to become a 100% clean eater, but once you make the transition, you will soon realize that your body will start to crave whole foods and all the bad stuff won't even be a temptation anymore.  You may also start to realize that eating clean is actually a less expensive way to eat!  There are so many great cook books and clean eating recipes out there!  Check out some of my recipes here!

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