Let’s be honest here, we live in a world where we are surrounded by fast food and twinkies. We are constantly looking for the most convenient, fastest and easiest way for everything. It’s human nature to want the easiest way. The fact of the matter is that if you want to see results and accomplish goals, you are going to have to go against the grain and work hard at it. If it were easy then we wouldn’t have such an obesity problem.
So what does it mean to eat clean? Well, in all honesty it means something different to everyone, but the overall idea for most clean eating diets (and what I personally agree with) is trying to eat foods as natural and unprocessed as possible. Stick to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats and stay away from foods that come with labels. For many, this is an extremely hard thing to wrap their heads around. Not because the concept itself is difficult to grasp, because I’m sure most people will agree with it. It’s hard because many people grew up eating processed foods and foods that have a label with 50 ingredients, only 5 of which they actually recognize. It’s hard because the processed and unhealthy foods are the cheapest and we are still in some economically hard times. Trying to drastically change the way you eat when that is all you have known is definitely hard, even if you know it’s good for you.
Personally, it has taken me years to understand what healthy food is, and how to better incorporate it into my diet, and I’m still learning. When it comes to making healthy changes to their diet, some people have the “go big or go home” mentality, which is fine. But it’s not that easy for everyone. I think a good way for people to get healthier and make long-lasting healthy habits is to slowly incorporate them into their daily lives. Ever wonder why your friends never stick to their crazy diets? It’s because they go all out on a super strict diet that no sane person can withstand for long periods of time. So they stay on the diet (if they’re lucky) until they lose the weight, then they gain the weight back once they go back to their regular diets. These diets are short term, made to get you fast results, but not lasting results. Instead, start incorporating healthier options instead of cutting everything bad out all at once. To go completely clean with no processed foods can take time and a lot of preparation, and definitely worth trying. But, I would rather see people work their way to that point, by first trying to make healthy switches to adjust to the lifestyle than go all out and quit. Because this is a lifestyle, not some short term fad diet.
Clean eating tips:
- Switch from white bread to whole grain bread (try finding bread with the least amount of ingredients or buy from a bakery)
- Switch from white rice/pasta switch to brown rice or whole grain pasta
- Stick to the perimeter of your grocery store, most foods within the aisles are processed and unhealthy. Exceptions are whole grains, oats, nuts(unsalted of course) and frozen fruits/veggies.
- Instead of cooking with oil, try cooking with water, chicken/veggie/beef broth.
- Make your meals as colorful as possible, incorporating different colored veggies/fruit
- Items that are easily made at home…make them.(It’s surprisingly easy to make your own nut butters )
- Eat breakfast ALWAYS.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Cut out sugar (as much as you think you do, you don’t need it)
- Instead of drinking juice eat the whole fruit instead.
- Try cooking your own beans instead of canned
- If you must used canned, wash the beans several times to get the juice off them
- When buying frozen fruits/veggies make sure they don’t have any additions like sauces or salt. The only ingredient should be the fruit/veggie itself.
- Switch water and tea for soda
- Use vinegar (there are so many kinds) on your salads instead of store-bought dressing
- Use clean cheese (ingredients should list things like milk, salt, enzymes, rennet) -found this on a great website
- Add fresh and dried spices to food for added flavor
I will be posting a week challenge Sunday night or Monday to see if people can eat clean for the week. Please feel free to post any more tips below. I will try and include some recipe ideas with the challenge, as well as on my Facebook page.
Some great articles: