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If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve heard of “clean eating” before but never really implemented it. Well, the fact that you’ve made the decision to eat clean and lead a healthier life is a great step. Many health complications are associated with what we can say is “dirty eating,” and by adjusting your diet, you can live a disease-free life.
Eating clean is not a fad, rather, it’s an eating pattern that focuses on fresh, whole foods. It’s basically the concept of“eating more of the good foods”
and“eating less of the bad foods.”
It’s not a quick weight loss scheme. It’s all about adopting a healthy lifestyle for long-term health benefits. To help you make the transition, here are 10 ways to start eating clean.
How to Start Eating Clean and Achieve Your Health Goals
1. Load Up On Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are undeniably healthy and should be an important part of your clean diet. They are packed with essential vitamins like Vitamin A, C, and E, and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorous, folic acid, and many others.
The good thing about fruits and veggies is that they are low in fat, salt, and contain healthy natural sugars. They are also a great source of dietary fiber. When taken on a regular basis, the nutrients in fruits and vegetables have the ability to fight obesity and help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your bad cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, prevent the development of cancer, help with diabetes, slow down the signs of aging, including other complications.
Your diet must consist of 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to get the most benefits. Choosing organic fruits and vegetables is even better- it will help you take your clean eating a step further.
2. Eat plenty of whole grains
Of late, there has been a hype on whole grains consumption, and it’s for a good reason. High fiber content is one of the main reasons to include whole grains in your diet. Besides preventing constipation, fiber helps you feel full longer, so you will eat less.
Whole grains are therefore a great addition if you’re looking to lose weight. Whole grains are also a powerhouse of B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, folate, and niacin, and minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Whole grains like whole wheat, rye, oats, brown rice, corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, and barley are all excellent addition.
3. Ditch all Processed Foods
Eating processed foods is the worst thing you can do to your body, and your overall health too. Processed foods have for years been associated with numerous serious health conditions like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, accelerated aging, and even deadly cancer.
If you want to start a clean diet, then you must ditch all processed foods. Avoid white bread, white rice, store-bought juices, soft drinks, French fries, and any other food that is considered “bad.”
4. Limit Sugar Intake
Did you know that a sugar-laden diet may greatly increase your risk of dying of heart disease, even if you aren’t obese or overweight? Did you know that too much sugar increases your risk of diabetes? Well, you probably know all these things. You also know that limiting your sugar intake can be a big leap toward your health goals, which is why you’ve decided to learn how to start eating clean.
Sugar is bad for you in every single way. It’s bad for your teeth, can lead to weight gain, and if want to maintain youthful skin, it’s time to remove added sugar from your diet.
5. Remove Refined Carbs from your Diet
The problem with refined carbs is that they are easy to overeat and yet offer little to no nutritional value. For example, doughnuts or bread made with refined white flour is sweet and delicious. They contain added sugars as well as preservatives. You can eat white bread every morning but the only thing you will gain is weight as it’s packed with calories. Nothing more.
Adjust your diet by eliminating any refined carbs like ready-to-eat cereals, white bread, white rice, processed oats, and others.
6. Steer Clear of too Much-added salt
Just like sugar, most people are taking far more sodium than they should. Salt, especially added salt is dangerous to your health. Numerous studies have linked excessive added salt to high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and increased risk of heart disease.
The Institute of Medicine highly recommends a maximum intake of 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. That is about 1 teaspoon. Avoid adding uncooked salt at the table. Cut back on processed foods as they contain too much salt. Also, avoid packaged foods and make a habit of cooking at home.
7. Reduce your Intake of Red meat
Want to eat start eating clean but can’t get yourself to reduce your red meat intake? Well, it’s about time. It doesn’t matter how juicy and delicious that steak is, your health may be at risk. You probably know that red meat is known to cause cardiovascular diseases, increased levels of bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other serious conditions.
However, when it comes to grass-fed beef, if used in moderation, it can become part of one of the mainstays of many clean eating meal plans. Not only is grass-fed meat leaner and contains more omega-3 fatty acids, but it is also better for your body.
The average American diet is a calorie-laden mix of saturated fat and low-quality polyunsaturated fat. Grass-fed meat is especially beneficial if you follow the paleo diet. Look for chicken that is free of antibiotics and try to source local meat.
Beef from grass-fed animals is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and has more antioxidants than grain-fed beef. Beef is also high in conjugated linoleic acid, which may prevent colon cancer. Studies also show that grass-fed beef contains more beta-carotene and three times the amount of Vitamin B2. It also contains 30 percent more calcium than grain-fed beef.
You can also try other healthy alternatives like chicken meat, fish, and pork. If you’re a vegetarian but want to up your protein intake, tofu, quinoa, beans, soy, buckwheat, and others are excellent choices.
8. Check food/drink labels
Although the main concept of eating clean is based on whole, fresh foods, you can still include packaged foods like meats, vegetables, nuts, fruit juices/smoothies, and even fruits. While some of these foods can be organic, it’s important that you check the labels to ensure that there are no harmful preservatives, unhealthy fats, sugars, or salts.
9. Avoid vegetable oils and spreads
They say vegetable oils are a healthier alternative to vegetable fats. This isn’t true. Vegetable oils are not clean either. First of all, vegetable oils contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid. Numerous studies have linked this fatty acid to inflammation and increased risk of heart disease and weight gain.
Some kinds of margarine and spreads aren’t clean either. They contain artificial trans fats and preservatives, which can be detrimental to your health.
Only use cooking oils and spreads that have been minimally processed like extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, and butter from grass-fed cows.
10. Drink water and more water
Every single cell in your body needs water to function properly. If you’re not getting enough water, you will certainly notice your body changing. Like when you fail to drink water for a few days, you might start getting headaches and experience dizziness due to dehydration.
There are more reasons to drink water. Water:
- Helps maintain the balance of your body fluids
- Helps energize your muscles
- Helps control calories
- Promotes good digestion
- Keeps your skin looking good
- Helps curb acid reflux
- Helps keep your kidney healthy
- Prevents UTIs
Health experts recommend drinking at least 8 glasses (2 liters) of water. By health standards, water is a “clean” beverage- no additives whatsoever.
It may seem difficult at first but every single change you make towards eating clean is a positive change. As time goes by, your body will get more used to the change, and you will see improvements in just a short time.
So now that you’ve learned how to start eating clean, it’s time to make that bold step.