The typical modern Western diet is filled with processed foods. This typically means lots of sugars, additives, preservatives and saturated fats. It is not what the body is meant to have. Sure, much of it is convenient, but with this convenience has come a myriad of health problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other problems.
Eating clean is the antithesis of today's typical modern diet. It means eating whole grains, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.
Benefits of Eating Clean
There are many health benefits of adopting a clean eating diet. Really, it is more of an overall lifestyle then just a diet. One of the reasons many people first look at adopting an eating clean diet is to lose weight. Without all those sugars and processed foods, your body will drop weight.
In addition to losing weight, some of the first things people will notice are an increase in energy and healthier looking skin and hair. Taking out all the additives and preservatives from the diet and filling your body with the nutrients it wants and needs, will help increase your energy and lead to a healthier appearance.
Overall health is another benefit of eating clean. Reducing the saturated fats in your diet decreases the possibility for heart failure or stoke. Eliminating highly processed foods and sugar from your diet can decrease your likelihood for diabetes. And the list goes on.
Basics of Eating Clean
Here are a few basic components of adopting an eating clean diet:
Food in its most natural state
Think of how the food you eat originated - in its most natural state. Certainly wheat was not meant to be stripped of all its nutrients, pummeled and then mixed in with a large amount of additives and preservatives in order to feed the body. If this was natural, we would see white bread growing on stalks in fields. In following this line of thinking, eating clean means taking the food back to its most natural state. This means eliminating processed sugars, additives, and preservative from your diet.
Eating small frequent meals
Another aspect of eating clean is to eat small frequent meals. Our standard of three square meals a day is outdated. It has been researched and proven that eating smaller meals more frequently helps the body in a number of ways. It helps to have a feeling of being satisfied over being "starving" at meal time, and thus have a susceptibility to overeating. It also helps increase the metabolism overall, which brings a wealth of health benefits, including weight loss.
Cooking your own meals
One of the downfalls of our modern over processed diet is that it is convenient. You can reach of a box of this or a jar of that or a frozen package of something else and pop it in the microwave for a quick meal. The problem is, the reason it can sit on your shelf or be in your freezer for extended periods of time is that it is chock full of additives and preservatives.
By cooking your own meals, you are able to avoid these pitfalls. You can start with all natural eating, clean foods, and then add some more. Spices are a great way to add some pizzazz to your meals. Again, these are natural herbs and spices, not the pre-packaged kind of the shelf. You will be amazed and how different the real flavor is of herbs and spices that you get fresh!
How to start eating clean
It can be a little daunting to think of jumping in to an eating clean diet. After all, your body is used to all those processed foods you've been feeding it for years. It's probably a good idea to take it one step at a time. Remember, your body will be riding itself of toxins. All that processed food you've been feeding your body for years will be crying out to you...after all, a highly processed carb diet just means your body will want more of the same.
Start by eliminating one food category at a time. For starters, maybe it's eliminating all white bread including hot dog and hamburger buns.
A good idea when you are starting eating clean is to re-route your grocery shopping trips. You probably have a 'typical" route that you go in when grocery shopping right? Maybe you start at one end of the store and go up and down the aisles until you are done. Think about planning your shopping this way: start in the fresh fruits and vegetable section. This is usually on one side of the store. Stock up on fruits and vegetables - just about the simplest thing to find in its true natural state. If your produce section has an organic section, take a look at it closely. This way you know there are no pesticides being added to your foods. Start trying out some new fruits and vegetables you haven't tried yet... there are probably plenty. Take your time in the produce section...if there is a fruit or vegetable you haven't heard of and aren't sure how to prepare, hop on the internet to find out more.
Next, continue through your shopping trip by going on the outside perimeter of the store. This will usually take you through the dairy and meat sections of the store. Again, look for organic items as much as possible. Then think long and hard before you go down any other aisle. There are MANY that can be skipped altogether. Eating clean is about making smart decisions.
You don't have to do it all at once. It can actually be really hard on the body to do so. Start with some small steps, and then add more and more. Soon you will be on your way to feeling and looking better by eating clean.
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