If you’ve heard the term “clean eating” before, but you’re not totally sure what it means, it’s a lot like spring cleaning your house. The difference between straightening up and spring cleaning is with the latter, you’re making sure that you go beyond sweeping and picking clothes off of the floor. You’re cleaning the refrigerator, washing exterior windows---you’re taking things to another level.
Clean eating is similar. When it comes to your eating habits, it's more than just “getting by”. It’s going beyond eating vegetables at dinner or having a couple of glasses of water every day. It’s about making some lifestyle changes that can detoxify your system, take some pounds off of your body and also help you to better digest the nutrients that you need.
If that sounds appealing to you, here are five things that help to clearly define what clean eating is.
1. Clean eating means eating more fruits and veggies
Source: Iowa Girl Eats
If you’re only having one serving of fruits and/or vegetables a day, it’s time to up that amount. Fresh fruit and raw or steamed vegetables are some of the best sources of the daily vitamin and mineral intake that your body requires. They are also full of fiber and low in calories too. So how much should you have in order to be considered a “clean eater”? Many nutritionists recommend no less than three cups each day. That will get you well on your way.
2. Clean eating means eating less processed foods
Source: Super Healthy Kids
Processed foods may seem convenient, but in the long run, they usually do more harm than good. Not only do they have a lot of salt, sugar, and fat in them, but they oftentimes have lots of preservatives and chemicals that are not good for you too. How do you know if something you’re eating is processed? The next time you go shopping, look on the back of the label and read the first three ingredients. If you notice salt, sugar, fat, preservatives, or chemicals, it’s best to leave it on the shelf. Matter of fact, you should try and get as much food as possible from the produce section. The fresher something is, the less processed it’s going to be. (Oh, and granola bars are this picture because they are loaded with sugar. Just read the back of their packaging!)
3. Clean eating means eating whole grains
Source: Half Baked Harvest
Whole grains are something all of us need because they have a lot more nutrients in them than refined grains do. They contain plenty of fiber, can lower your cholesterol levels, and regulate your blood sugar. They also have lots of Vitamin B in them. For all of these reasons and more, from your choice of bread and cereal to your choice of rice and oats, try and avoid purchasing anything unless it says “whole grains” on the package.
4. Clean eating means eating less sugar
Source: Huffington Post
Sugar addiction is a real health concern. And just what are the signs of someone who is a sugar addict? If you feel sluggish or fatigued a lot, if your cravings constantly center around sugary foods, if you find a way to incorporate them into every meal or you eat them even when you’re not feeling well, you could be suffering from an addiction. One way to detox is to start clean eating more. Consume less desserts and sodas. Even when it comes to juice, try and drink it mixed with half a cup of water. After about a week or so, you should notice that you have a lot more energy than you did before.
5. Clean eating means eating less meat
Source: Bon Appetit Magazine
Meat has a lot of protein in it. That’s the good news. At the same time, it can make digesting food harder to do. Another thing to keep in mind is based on what kind of meat it is and how you prepare it, you can find yourself eating quite a bit of salt and fat. You don’t have to cut out meat entirely from your diet. But do try and avoid having it with every meal, every day. And when you do have meat, bake it instead of frying and look for lean cuts. The less meat that you eat, the cleaner your system will be.