FOOD YOU EAT CAN EITHER SLOWLY KILL OR CURE YOU
Clean eating. Sounds vague, ha? How is it different from … dirty eating, I assume? Is there even anything else to munch on besides veggies? There are a lot of myths about clean eating floating around: some sources recommend to eliminate fats, others see the enemy in carbs. Some consider meat being a poor choice, and other exclude all the dairy. When it comes to nutrients, the balance is the key, and all those ‘innovative’ diet trends will come and go. Let’s clarify what classic clean eating is all about and break it down into simple principles anyone can easily understand and use.
Clean eating and healthy lifestyle are simply the most efficient formula to lose weight. Scientists and people in the health industry aren’t just some boring old-fashioned nerds that want you to lose weight properly and deny any fad diets without even checking them out. Trust me, fad diets would be highly recommended if they were proven to be safe, effective, and result-lasting at the same time. Clean eating might not be a fast track, but if structured properly, it does guarantee the goal weight achievement. And in contrast to fad diets, clean eating won’t let your body stress, will maintain your health, and will keep the result.
PRINCIPLE#1: STEER CLEAR OF PROCESSED FOODS
Don’t eat that garbage. That’s the main rule that will make sure that the worst stuff is out of your diet. Processed foods are items that have traveled a long way before being served at our table. Typically, they have artificial flavorings, preservatives, long shelf-life, and chemicals. A good ol’ rule is to check out the length of ingredients list: is it too long and has some words that an average consumer wouldn’t understand? If yes, then you are holding a highly processed ‘food’ item. Examples of highly processed foods are:
- fast food items
- frozen dinners
- chocolate/granola bars
- salad dressings
- honey-baked ham
- breakfast cereals
- cheese spreads
- most of food court meals
- fruit drinks
- white rice
- flavored yogurt
Nevertheless, some minimally processed foods are acceptable; for example, canned tuna, whole grain bread, pasta, frozen vegetables/berries.
PRINCIPLE #2: LIMIT SATURATED FATS AND AVOID TRANS FATS
Unsaturated (mono- and poly-) fats should be the main source of fats in your diet. The most common examples are:
- peanut butter
Trans fats (type of unsaturated fats) are terrible for you and should be avoided at any cost. Basically, they lower your good cholesterol (increase the risk of a heart disease) and raise your bad cholesterol. Some examples of trans fats are:
- frozen pizza
- microwave popcorn
- baked goods in groceries
Saturated fats should be limited, so don’t binge on:
PRINCIPLE #3: DITCH THAT GODDAMNED SUGAR
It’s crazy to see how sugarful our world is. Foods are packed with it, and an innocent breakfast as granola with fruity yogurt has more sugar than a recommended daily intake. Besides the obvious sources like sweet desserts and soda, added sugar is hiding in many other foods, such as:
- salad dressings
- canned soups
- frozen meals
- fruit juices
- pasta sauce
- flavored yogurt
The good thing is that almost all foods with added sugar are processed, so eliminating processed foods will significantly reduce your sugar intake, which shouldn’t be higher than 25 g per day.
PRINCIPLE #4: MACRONUTRIENTS ARE IMPORTANT
You probably think, ‘Why wouldn’t I just cut down carbs or fats? It’s a proven way to shed a few pounds.’ It’s not a good idea, really. Rather than classifying food by nutrients, focus on the best food from each nutrient group. Holistic diet is the best diet, so try to incorporate all nutrients: fats, carbs, and protein.
- fats protect organs, support cells and hormonal health.
- carbs give you energy and help brain activity.
- protein is responsible for cell/organ functions and for building muscle mass, of course
- fat sources: avocados, oil, butter, nuts, cheese, fatty fish, peanut butter, olives, seeds, coconuts
- carbohydrate sources: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, bread, pasta, dairy
- protein sources: lean meat, poultry, egg whites, farmer’s cheese (almost pure protein,) tofu, seafood
PRINCIPLE #5: CLEAN EATING IS EASY WITH HOMEMADE MEALS
Great news: eating healthy homemade meals can actually be fun and tasty, yo! And no, clean eating being exciting isn’t a spell healthy people use to comfort themselves while having a boring salad for lunch. Here is a little guideline of how you can rock cooking – you’ll love creating simple, healthy, nutritious meals!
Many people think that eating healthy is expensive – it’s not true. It’s all a matter of perception, and the truth is – you can easily eat healthy on a budget. While having all existing superfoods added to your smoothie for breakfast, 10 oz of organic salmon fillet for a dinner, and a pound of walnuts for snacking may turn out pricey, there are definitely cheaper ways to stay healthy.
And keep in mind: it’s always better to purchase those non-organic tomatoes that may have pesticides in them, than it is to buy a canned tomato soup. And get one for free. Double the poison, you know.
I’ve created an image that includes a healthy grocery list and meal ideas. Pin it or save it to your Facebook wall, so it comes in handy whenever you need it.
What Clean Eating is for you? How easy it is for you to stick to the principles described above?