One of the hardest things about switching to clean eating is avoiding temptation. When you’re hungry, it’s easy to grab the first thing you can find to eat, especially something that takes no preparation time and doesn’t require a plate or silverware—something like a bag of potato chips.
If you want to avoid sabotaging your efforts to go clean, get rid of the toxic junk food in your kitchen.
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1. Stock up on healthy snacks
As you’re going through your cabinets, a fear of not having anything to eat when hunger pangs strike could make you hesitate before tossing unhealthy treats. “What if I’m really hungry?” you might ask yourself. “Half a bowl of those Frosted Crispy Crunchies once in a while can’t be that bad.”
Stock up on nuts, raw vegetables and fresh fruit so you’ll have something healthy in your kitchen when you need a quick bite. Make healthy snacks a regular item on your shopping list.
2. Read the labels
Go through the foods in your pantry and your fridge, and separate toxin-free foods from toxic ones. When reading ingredients labels, look for added sugar, which can appear under many names including glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin, xylitol, fruit juice concentrate, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Added salt can appear on the label as sodium or as monosodium glutamate.
Keep an eye out for artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. Look for preservatives, such as BHA – an endocrine disruptor that might cause cancer.
3. Take it slowly
Now that all your toxic food items are in one place, you might be tempted to throw them all away at once. Don’t. If you’re used to sugar, salt and artificial flavoring in most of your food, eliminating them all at the same time could be too much for you to handle. Sugar is particularly a problem, as it is addictive. A too-rapid transition from a high sugar to a low sugar diet could lead to you binging on sweets and giving up your plans for clean living altogether.
Quiz: Is Your Body TOXIC? Take the Test...
Instead, every week, replace one or two toxic foods with clean ones. For example, replace a box of sugar and salt-laden crackers from the supermarket snack aisle with organic, additive-free rice cakes. Throw away your brand name yogurt with artificial colors, artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup, and replace it with organic plain yogurt and fresh fruit.
4. Learn to love water
Soda has to be at the top of any toxic food list. Drinking soda is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and other health problems. Switching to diet soda isn’t a solution. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharine, can increase insulin production and so have an effect on the body similar to that caused by sugar. Juice drinks with sugar or artificial sweeteners are also unhealthy.
Fruit juice is healthier than soda and drinks, but it still isn’t the best choice. The sugar in commercial fruit juice is concentrated during processing and, because fruit juice is fiber-free, digested very quickly, causing blood sugar spikes.
How should you quench your thirst? Drink water. It will help flush the toxins from your body while making you look and feel healthier. The next time you have a craving for soda, treat yourself to a refreshing, cool glass of water instead.
5. Look for affordable clean food sources
When you lead a busy life, sticking to a routine can seem like a good idea. You’ve been to the same supermarket so many times that you can get there without thinking. When you’re in a rush, the last thing you want to do is waste time searching for an organic bakery or a local butcher who sells organic meat.
Don’t wait until your pantry is almost empty, and you find yourself rushing to the junk food-filled supermarket because you don’t have time to find a place to buy clean food. Instead, give yourself a tour of your area before you take the clean eating plunge. You might find some fantastic stores and vendors with healthy foods at reasonable prices—hidden gems you ignored because you were focusing on getting to the supermarket and back as fast as possible.
Effect of artificial sweeteners on insulin secretion, ROS, and oxygen consumption in pancreatic beta cells, Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, American Journal of Public Health
Relationship of Soft Drink Consumption to Global Overweight, Obesity, and Diabetes: A Cross-National Analysis of 75 Countries, American Journal of Public Health