Have you been hearing a lot about clean eating? Maybe you’re wondering whether you and your family can do this. Of course you can! First of all, understand that clean eating is not a new diet fad. All it means is that you eat only natural foods and eliminate those that contain any artificial ingredients. It sounds simple enough, right? So why not start this week on the road to better health by eating clean? Here are some helpful tips to get you on the right track:
1. Get Rid of the Bad Stuff
Sort out your fridge, cupboards and pantry and get rid of “unclean” or artificial foods that contain ingredients such as refined flours, processed soy products, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and preservatives. Note that you don’t have to purge all at once. You can slowly eliminate the junk and add in clean foods if it will make it easier to start.
2. Pay Attention to Food Labels
When shopping, always look at food labels. Remember that the fewer ingredients listed on a food label, the better. But don’t just count the ingredients – read them. If you cannot pronounce what’s on the label, put that item back on the shelf. Also, be careful about hidden sugars in food. As much as possible, choose natural foods like fresh whole fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and whole grains.
3. Go to Local Food Sources
Make it a point to visit local food markets. These places would be the best sources of the freshest meats and produce that are in season, and most are sold at prices cheaper than in grocery stores.
4. Start Every Day Clean
Start the day by drinking warm lemon water. Take a cup of warm water and squeeze into it half a lemon. This simple concoction is good for digestion, detoxification and immunity. Drink this first thing in the morning every day to set your mind and body to eat clean the whole day. For breakfast, keep it simple as well. Hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit and all-natural oatmeal with no sugar added are some of the best breakfast foods for eating clean.
5. Eat Frequently
Eating every few hours instead of the typical three meals a day increases metabolism. It might seem like you need to eat less and skip meals, but this actually makes your body use calories much slower. What you should do instead is eat smaller meals in two to three hour intervals so that your metabolism remains high and your body keeps burning fat. Also, eating smaller frequent meals will keep you from feeling starved or deprived.
6. Lean Protein + Complex Carbs
The ideal food pairing when you’re eating clean consists of lean protein (chicken breast, fish, legumes) and complex carbohydrates (fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains). Your meals should always include this combination, which boosts your energy and metabolism, curbs hunger and optimises your health.
7. Drink Lots and Lots of Water
A great and easy way to kick start the clean eating lifestyle is to skip artificial juices and soda, and stick to water. Drinking plenty of water (about 8 glasses a day) will not only keep you hydrated, but it will also help your body flush out waste, break down food faster and absorb nutrients better.
8. Stop Eating When Your Stomach Tells You
Moderation is a key principle in clean eating. Listen to your stomach’s signal when it’s full and stop taking another bite. You may be eating clean, but if you’re not watching how much you’re eating, so don’t be surprised that the pounds are not coming off. So, mind your portion sizes and learn to follow your body’s cues.