What is “Clean Eating” Anyway?
Clean eating diets are a very popular trend these days. They focus on replacing unhealthy processed foods with fresh, whole alternatives. Processed foods have often lost much of their nutritional value in order to make them last longer or taste better. Not only that, they may also contain additives or preservatives that have a negative impact on your health with regular consumption.
Here’s some more info on the clean eating lifestyle, as well as some tips for “cleaning up” your diet if needed.
Who Started Clean Eating?
While the idea of eating whole foods to stay healthy was certainly not new at the time, it gained in popularity in 2007 when the Eat-Clean Diet Book was published by bestselling author and fitness model Tosca Reno. The book detailed the “eat-clean” diet that she stuck to in order to get in shape for a bodybuilding competition. The popularity of the book lead to ten more titles in the Eat-Clean series being published.
Stay Away from Sugar
The first step to take in order to eat a more clean diet is to cut out sugar as much as possible. Regularly eating sugar or foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup can lead to weight gain and diabetes, among other things.
Cutting sugar out of your diet completely won’t be easy. Just about every sweet, processed snack food on the market includes some sugar. But, when you’re in the mood for something sweet, reach for some fruit rather than candy or sweets.
Drink Plenty of Water
When you feel thirsty, water is the healthiest drink to reach for. Try to drink at least two liters of water every day. You may want to buy a reusable water bottle to help encourage you to drink more.
Soda and sports drinks both come with a lot of added sugar (not to mention the acid found in soda, which softens tooth enamel). An occasional glass of fruit or vegetable juice is a healthy drink alternative. Just make sure that you look for juice made from real fruits and vegetables.
Check the Labels
When in doubt about a certain food, check the nutrition facts and ingredient list carefully. Make sure that the bulk of the ingredients listed are whole foods and not artificial or processed. Some foods may say that they are “whole” on the label, but actually only be made in part with clean ingredients.
Also, make sure you pay attention to the serving size. A food’s nutrition facts may not look so bad, but “one serving” usually doesn’t include the whole product.
While there are many different ideas of what exactly encompasses clean eating, the basic principle of skipping processed foods in favor of whole, fresh ones is of great benefit to your body. Even if processed foods have had nutrients added in to replace what they've lost during processing, they are not as healthy as the real, unprocessed versions. Next time you go to the store, try to buy as many of your ingredients as possible from the produce aisle rather than the canned goods aisle. Not only will all of your meals taste better, they'll also be better for your health.