Do’s and Don’ts of Clean Eating

Move over junk food. Clean eating is the new ‘it’ trend in 2017. Whether you are health conscious or junk food enthusiast on a road map to better health, clean eating is a relatively facile eating pattern that focuses on fresh, whole foods. It is not about tracking your calories intake, but rather making a smart decision to eat minimally processed foods which provide maximal nutritional value for an optimum long term health. When there is a will, there are ten ways you can do to maintain a clean eating lifestyle.

 

 

1. GO WHOLE GRAIN

Your craving for a bowl of hearty rice bowl or slice of avocado toast can still be satisfied, granted that the carbohydrate involved is a just-harvest state of whole grain such as whole meal, bran, and quinoa. Swap all “white carbohydrate for a fiber and nutrients rich whole grain toast, pasta, rice. Brownie points as people who eat whole grains are more likely to keep their weight in track because whole grain takes longer to digest and have a more satiating effect, keeping your portions under control. Make sure to always double check each “whole grain” products’ to ensure the primary ingredient is truly whole grain and you don’t get duped by the mislabeling of profit oriented industries.

 

2. BREAK UP WITH PROCESSED FOODS

Overly processed foods can trigger clinginess and make you crave for more and more. While attachment to healthy food would have been significantly commemorated, heavily processed foods contain ingredients futile to our body system – a much-needed avoidance. The key is the less processed, the better because nature certainly did not color those sodas bright yellow or neon blue. Our bodies digest processed and unprocessed food differently, with processed food leaving the body less work to do by stripping the wholesome goodness of the ingredients. Instead, go for high-quality whole food – such as nut butter with fruit which reduces the risk of bowel cancer.

 

3. SUGAR RULE OF THUMB

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 – 9 teaspoons of sugar per day and coming at no surprise; the average individual consumes four times the recommended amount. As a member of the family of “empty” calories, excess sugar has a devastating effect on metabolism which leads to insulin resistance, harmful cholesterol, fat accumulation in the liver, high blood pressure, and inflammation. In any case, always opt for a low-sugar, sugar-free or natural sweetener such as honey, and stick to naturally occurred sugar found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy. They are the least of your worry, pertaining the fiber and protein that help blunts the effect of sugar.

 

4. SAY GOODBYE TO SODIUM

Real talk here: we’re probably consuming more sodium than we probably should. The American Heart Association recommends having no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day, in which the lesser the sodium, the less likely for you to be associated with high blood pressure and aging up to 20 years. While the use of salt is inevitable in bringing flavors to the food, coarse sea salt or kosher salt which contain less sodium can be a better substitute to bring a little flavor to the food, granted on a minimum usage. For that extra kick of flavor to complete your dish, you can instead sprinkle your food with a plethora of herbs, spices, citrus and vinegar which is rich in antioxidant and protects your body from harmful radicals affecting your heart health, infections, and cancers.

 

5. GO MEATLESS FROM TIME TO TIME

Clean eating is not just better for you, but also for our mother earth. Apparently, the meat industry is to be put into blame for the greenhouse gas emissions which increases the carbon footprint and promotes global warming. Shifting to a plant-based eating style reduces the usage of water and energy by three and two in a half times, respectively. The effort shall reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and add a decade to your life by lowering the risk of heart disease, as studied by Harvard. Ingredients such as tempeh and tofu are examples of guilt-free substitutes of meat which proves just how delicious environmentally friendly ingredients can be.

 

6. “SIX OR LESS RULE” OF GROCERY SHOPPING

You don’t exactly need to know how to read everything on a label, but always shop for groceries with six ingredients of less. While the number you adopt is arbitrary, the more the ingredients, the more highly processed it probably is. Thus, there is absolutely no reason to buy oats that are made of ingredients more than ‘just oats.' Those favorite granola of yours that is highly regarded as healthy food is surprisingly be made up of a profuse of highly processed ingredients such as high maltose corn syrup solids, bleached salt, and palm kernel oil. Instead, purchase the raw ingredients and toast them as healthily as possible!

 

7. EAT THE RAINBOW

The central ideas between clean eating are balance and moderation, and there’s nothing like sitting down to a plate with a balance amount of carbohydrate, protein, and  vegetable – all packed with the juiciest nutrients. Vibrant colored fruit and vegetables shall fill half of the plate, contributing the highest nutrient value for the lowest number of calories. Besides, vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals which are essential for a healthy immune, glowing skin, strong bones, and crystal clear visions. The spectrum is endless – you can go from fresh produce of eggplants, carrots, bell peppers, kale to tomatoes.

 

8. READ YOUR LABELS

Tosca Reno, one of the pioneers of the Eat Clean Diet, said that “if you can’t read it, don’t eat it!”. If the ingredients sound like it came straight from a chemistry book, chances are additives added to artificially flavor or preserve the food. Instead, walk away from the shelves and shop the perimeter to obtain the freshest ingredients and choose living food. Fresh ingredients have traveled a lot less to get to your hand, and therefore, has higher nutritional value and health benefits. Do not be scared of the short shelf life because when we eat clean, we aim to eat fresh from the farm and nothing less.

 

9. BE A MINDFUL EATING GURU

Mindful eating fights binge eating. Practicing mindfulness meditation is a method wherein you pay attention to your food intake using your heart, mind and your five senses; sight, smell, touch, hear and feel. Develop a strategic mindful eating by choosing fruits and vegetables as main fuel, followed by proteins as a building block and boost your plate with healthy whole grains accordingly. Studies show that when people use their sense of taste, smell, see and feel to their food choice and consumption, less food is consumed yet they are more content regarding flavor and fulfillment. Thus, it acts as a “red light” for your consumption pattern, raising your self-awareness of how and what is best to nourish your body.

 

10. EAT WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD

Don’t get too caught up with the numbers, but focus more on the nutrients intake. The calorie-counting diet is a relic of the past and does not define your overall health. One scoop of ice cream may contain less calories than one nutritious sweet potato, but it does not make it healthier. However, you don’t need to get obsessive and throw out your favorite ice cream. You’re allowed to nimble on your guilty pleasure now and then, but keep things in moderation and do not let a little flub derail your entire vow of clean eating lifestyle. A strong will to make a small change can lead to a big difference in your life.

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Regina Wiriadinata
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