Clean eating is a trend that has caught on with the leading food and nutrition experts of the world. But what does the term exactly mean? It is about eating more of the healthiest food options, and consuming less of the unhealthy ones. In other words, it is used to imply eating lots of wholesome foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, as well as healthy fats and proteins. You must develop a healthy eating habit, which should be as natural and organic as possible while avoiding packaged, processed, or factory-made food products. Home-made dishes with healthy and natural ingredients are also encouraged.
Here, seven easy tips are shared below to get you started on a clean diet.
7 Useful Ways to Incorporate Clean Eating
1. Curtail Consumption of Refined and Processed Foods
Refined foods are processed or altered to change their natural state. This leads to a loss of beneficial fibers and nutrients. These foods are high in calories and have low nutrient content. To maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of many health issues, you must eat less of refined and processed foods. Some refined foods and their healthy alternatives are discussed below.
- White flour, which is produced from refined wheat grains, and white flour products like most breads, pizza dough, pastas, cereals, cookies, cakes, muffins, and more. You must opt for food products that contain whole wheat for a healthy alternative to refined wheat. Also, brown rice is healthier than white rice. In white rice and white flour, bran which contains fiber, and microorganisms that provide nutrition, are removed.
- White sugar, and high fructose corn syrup found in baked goods, candies, sodas, ice creams, ketchup, and also in bread, are common refined foods. You can satisfy your sweet tooth by eating dry fruits like raisins, dates, and apricots.
Processed foods are modified or chemically processed during preparation to make them have longer shelf life, while being more convenient and flavorful for consumers. In these food products, sugar, artificial flavors, colors, and other ingredients are added to increase the texture, flavor, and stability of a food product.
Some processed foods that should be avoided are bottled sauce and dressings, canned fruits, tortilla chips, deli meat, hot dogs, bacons, instant oatmeal, etc. Sodas, sweetened beverages, and commercially baked goods are also linked to multiple health issues like kidney and liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, and more. For a healthy lifestyle, you can try dry rub and homemade dressing, high-fiber crispbread, fresh fruits, and slow-cooked oats instead of the processed options.
2. Include Organic Food Items in Your Diet
Organic food is essentially food items that have been produced without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, sewage sludge, irradiation or ionizing radiation, and genetic engineering. This organically grown food is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In these food products, 95 percent of the ingredients are produced organically and are free of sulfites.
Organic food items are devoid of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals. Less exposure to these harmful chemicals ensures fewer detrimental effects on our immune system. Also, the antioxidant content in organically produced food is higher than that in conventionally grown ones. Opt for organic poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy products coming from animals, which feed on organic food items, and on which antibiotics or growth hormones are not used.
3. Eat Only When You are Hungry
You must find out what macro values help to meet your health goals. You can experiment with different diet options to find out which one is suitable for your body, food items with high fat and low in dietary carbohydrate, Paleo or flexitarian diet. also, try to eat only when you feel hungry. We often end up eating multiple times a day, and it depends on our mood greatly. We also tend to eat when we are bored, or have nothing else to do, or when we are depressed. This should be strictly avoided. You must observe your body and determine your hunger instincts. You shouldn’t start eating while your stomach is still full.
4. Learn the Amount of Food You Need
You must know how much food you need to eat at one time, whether at home or in a restaurant when you’re trying to maintain a clean diet. This depends on your age, metabolism, weight, gender, activeness, and other factors. A proper diet should be based on both quality and quantity of food.
5. Drink at Least Two Liters of Water Everyday
Your regular water intake must be at least two liters as a part of your clean eating habit. Drinking sufficient water is crucial, as our body is made up of 60 percent water and our brain contains 75 percent of it. But, make sure that your drinking water is safe, clean, fresh, and replenishing.
6. Consume Healthy Fat
You must include essential fatty acids in your diet regularly. These include unrefined extra-virgin olive oil, almond oil, and peanut oil, which contain monounsaturated fat that helps to keep your heart healthy. Coconut oil contains saturated fat, which is used by our body to get energy and is not accumulated as body fat. Seasame oil also has some monounsaturated fats and some unique antioxidants, that are not destroyed after cooking.
7. Minimize Your Carbon Footprint
For clean eating, try to buy locally produced and seasonal foods that will prove cost-effective for you and beneficial to the environment. Going local is the first step in the process of reducing your carbon footprint.
When you buy from local farmers, the need for middlemen is eliminated, which helps the local farmers to earn more. Moreover, local farms preserve fertile soil and outdoor space, which is good for communities.
When you want to start with clean eating, the aforementioned tips can help you to get inspired and make more efficient use of your resources in pursuit of your goal. This is a health-promoting initiative and will boost your nutrition intake. However, it should be noted that food should be enjoyable. Include more of whole and unprocessed foods, and also enjoy a small bite of chocolate or a cup of coffee every now and then. Balance and moderation must always be maintained for a healthy lifestyle.