Hi! Are you looking for what clean eating consists of? Read on here about the components of clean eating & how to start eating clean for beginners?
Whether your goal is to lose weight or not, it’s nonetheless recommended to eat clean. Clean eating generally means eating fresh and whole foods as close as possible to their natural state. You can make this diet pattern easy and enjoyable by following certain guidelines.
Why You Eat Clean?
One of the main reasons for eating clean is the health benefits of having foods rich in nutrient contents that have not been overly processed. Eating clean nourishes your body with healthy, nutrient-dense foods. That ensures that your body gets vitamins, minerals, high-quality protein, and healthy fats, which improve your heart and brain health, help weight management, promote a more robust immune system and boost your energy levels.
How To Start Eating Clean For Beginners?
Does “eating clean” sound to you a challenging task. Don’t worry; I will make it easy for you. I have compiled ten easy tips that will help you start eating clean. They are:
Eat More Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
Fresh Vegetables and fruits are unquestionably healthy.
They’re full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and compounds that help protect our cells from damage and fight inflammation.
Many studies have found that high vegetable & fruit consumption lower risks of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
In fact, fresh fruits & vegetables are at the core of a clean eating lifestyle because you can eat most of them raw immediately after picking and washing.
Selecting organic produce also helps you take your clean eating endeavor one step further by decreasing pesticide exposure and improving your health.
Here are some easy tips to include more vegetables & fruits into your daily diet:
- Have your salads as colorful as possible, adding at least three fresh, different colors vegetables along with greens.
- Add berries, orange or banana slices, grapes, or chopped apples, to your favorite dishes.
- Wash and chop veggies of your choice, sprinkle olive oil and herbs over them.
Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods are modified/altered from their natural state, so they directly conflict with the clean eating lifestyle.
Processed items lose substantial fiber and nutrient contents and gain added sugar, preservatives, chemicals, or other additives. In fact, processed foods have been associated with inflammation and increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other lifestyle illnesses.
Even if unhealthy ingredients aren’t added, processed foods still lack many of the health benefits offered by whole foods.
To eat clean, try to avoid processed foods as much as you can.
Though “eating clean” is based on fresh, whole foods, you may eat certain types of packaged foods, for example – packaged nuts, vegetables, and meat.
But then it becomes important to read labels to ensure there aren’t any preservatives, unhealthy fats, and added sugars.
For example, many nuts are roasted/fried using vegetable oil, which exposes them to heat-related damage. Therefore, it’s best to eat unsalted raw nuts — or the ones, which are roasted at a low temperature.
Another example is pre-washed salad mixes. Although they can save your time but may have additives — particularly in the salad dressing wherein these are often included.
Stop Eating Refined Carbs
Refined carbs are highly processed foods. They have little nutrition, yet we tend to overeat them.
Research studies have shown that refined carbohydrates consumption can lead to inflammation, insulin resistance, obesity & fatty liver.
On the other hand, whole grains offer more nutrients and fiber and help decrease inflammation and promote better gut health. People who eat whole grains are less likely to have excess belly fat than those who eat refined grains.
If you want to eat grains, steer clear of white bread, ready-to-eat cereals, and other refined carbs. Instead, opt for the minimally processed kinds, like sprouted grain bread and steel-cut oats.
Keep away from added sugar in any form
It’s important to steer clear of added sugar if you’re trying to eat clean. But, added sugar is a widespread problem — and even contained in foods that don’t taste sweet, such as sauces and condiments.
Both table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup have high amounts of fructose (kind of sugar).
Studies have found that this kind of sugar is one of the main reasons for obesity, fatty liver, diabetes, cancer, and many other health problems.
Depending on your health, you may occasionally eat small amounts of natural sugar — such as dates, raisins, or honey, if you want to eat clean.
But, if you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or similar health problems, it’s better to keep away from all forms of concentrated sugar — including those from natural sources.
Furthermore, even natural sugar sources have little nutritional value.
Try to eat foods in their unsweetened, natural state for real clean eating. Learn to relish:
- The natural sweetness of fruit; and
- Subtle flavors of nuts & other whole foods as close to their natural state as possible.
Avoid vegetable oils and spreads
Vegetable oils and margarine are manufactured using chemical extraction, making them highly processed. So, they don’t meet the criteria if you want to eat clean.
Some oils also have high amounts of omega-6 fat linoleic acid. Studies in animals and isolated cells have shown that it promotes inflammation, increasing the risk of weight gain and heart disease.
Whereas artificial trans fats have been banned in the USA and certain other countries, margarine and spread still contain small amounts.
Though “eating clean” curbs all vegetable oils and spreads, it’s important to eat a moderate amount of healthy fats such as fatty fish, nuts, and avocado. If you can’t avoid vegetable oils completely, opt for olive oil or other healthy, least processed oils & fats.
Limit alcohol consumption
Mixing yeast with crushed grains, fruits, or vegetables and fermenting the mixture produce alcohol.
Moderate consumption of certain types of alcohol — especially wine — may boost heart health.
But, frequent intakes of alcohol have been found to develop inflammation and can contribute to several health issues, like liver disease, excess belly fat, and digestive disorders.
When following a clean eating diet pattern, restrict or eliminate your alcohol consumption.
Avoid packaged snack foods
You should try to keep away from packaged snack foods if you’re following a “eat clean” lifestyle.
Muffins, granola bars, crackers, and similar other snack foods are typically made of refined grains, vegetable oils, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients.
Most of such processed snacks offer little nutritional value.
When you get hungry between meals, try to keep healthy snacks ready on hand to steer clear of these foods.
Some good choices are nuts, fruits, and salads. These foods are tasty, high in nutrients, and can help you keep protected against lifestyle diseases.
Substitute vegetables in recipes
If you want to add nutritional value to your meals & boost health, the good idea is to swap refined like grains (rice, pasta & other refined grains) for veggies in recipes.
For instance, cauliflower can be mashed like potatoes, chopped finely to mimic rice, or used in pizza crust.
Another example is spaghetti squash makes a good natural substitute for pasta since it separates into thin, long strands after cooking. Zucchini makes amazing noodles as well.
Make water your primary beverage
Water is the most natural & incredibly healthy beverage you can drink. Pure drinking water contains no sugar, additives, artificial sweeteners, or other unhealthy ingredients. It’s the cleanest beverage that you can drink.
Water keeps you hydrated and helps maintain a healthy weight as well.
On the other hand, sugar-sweetened beverages are linked with obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle diseases. Even packaged fruit juice may cause many similar health issues because of its high sugar content.
Unsweetened tea and coffee are also good options that provide some health benefits. But if you are sensitive to caffeine, you need to moderate your intake.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”