The commitment it takes to begin the clean-eating process is no small one. Hopefully, though, you’ve at least begun making that commitment, since you’re reading this article. For those of you who are new to the scene, I bet you’re wondering what the big deal is with clean eating, why it’s becoming popular and what in the world it means to convert to this lifestyle change.
What is Clean Eating? First of all, let me define clean eating: Clean eating is a movement towards awareness of where our food comes from and what’s used to grow it, process it or make it. Many clean eaters are out there looking at food labels, scouring the produce aisles for organic items and learning the power of a home-cooked meal versus one you just grab and go. This movement goes against many of our current American food trends. We have, historically, built franchises that know how to get us things quickly and at a low cost, often with a startling lack of quality. Clean eating renounces those ideals in favor of new ones, or, rather, old ones. It reverts back to an idea that we are made up of the things we put into our bodies.
Starting the Clean Eating Way of Life Clean eating isn’t really about convenience, which means that it requires a little bit of work. It’s not hard; it just takes some getting used to. To help you in this process, here are ten tips to follow on clean eating.
1. Read Labels. You know that ice cream commercial where the kid reads the ingredients on the back of the carton and he can pronounce every word? There’s a great point to that. Look for ingredients that are something you know.
2. Look for “Clean” Versions of Your Favorite Recipes. There are quite a few websites out there that are devoted to helping you do this, but I like Clean Eating Magazine in particular. Their recipes can be customized to fit your needs and budget.
3. Buy Meat From a Local Butcher. A local butcher will often give you the cuts that you need without all of the extra, harmful packaging. You’ll know where your meat is coming from and that it’s a reliable source. You can even ask that they grind up some of the pieces for you, to keep you from buying pre-packaged ground meat.
4. Cook at Home. This may seem like a no brainer, but eating at home using your own ceramic cookware is a much better use of time and money, as you can control exactly what’s going into each dish. When you’re able to choose the ingredients, you’re able to choose the results.
5. Stick to Whole Grains. Skip the processed flour and buy items made with whole wheat. Making such a small change can help your waistline and give you the proper nutrients like fiber and antioxidants that your body needs to run smoothly. If that’s not enough incentive for you, check out the Whole Grains Council’s helpful article on the lowdown of whole-grain benefits.
6. Eat Plenty of Leafy Greens and Veggies. Choosing to increase the amount of vegetables you consume in a day is like choosing purified water over water from the creek. Eating more vegetables will allow your body to absorb more fiber and antioxidants.
7. Limit Your Salt Intake. Salt covers most of our foods but is often needless. Though OK in small doses, try substituting other spices or vinegar for your salt. Salt has a habit of getting us to retain water and can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
8. Commit to Water. Aside from the calories, many other drinks just don’t do the body good. Loaded with sugars, fruit juices and soda can bog down your system, temporarily cause a spike and then bring you crashing down into a sugar coma. Instead, grab some water and feel the benefits of a well-hydrated system.
9. Grab Some Fruit. Like all of the abovementioned foods, fruit has a great value to your system. Use it as an alternative to processed desserts and sugars, or add it to teas and water to promote flavor, while gaining important antioxidants and nutrients.
10. Don’t Go it Alone. Find at least one other person who will help you in your clean-eating challenge. Look to him or her for support in your endeavor and share your progress as often as you can (maybe even over a nice, home-cooked meal)! By following these ten tips, you’ll be well on your way to a balanced waistline and a healthier, cleaner you.
Savannah Marie is a health and wellness writer. She has a passion for fitness and living your best life. Follow her on Twitter: @savfmarie