No one likes to diet. The stomach cramps, the kicks of cravings, and, worst of all, the “oops” slip-ups and subsequent guilt — thanks, but no thanks! That’s where the clean eating diet comes in. The “Clean Eating” diet has inspired everything from Clean Eating Magazine to clean eating recipes. The premise of the “eat clean diet” isn’t complicated, counterintuitive, or controversial. Instead, this diet applies what you probably already know about healthy eating into a meal plan that prioritizes unprocessed and fresh foods.
Simply limiting your high fructose corn syrup and table sugars, ingredients commonly found in processed foods, can work wonders on your health, as “the fructose part of both table sugar and HFCS can elevate triglycerides and also lead to insulin resistance,” according to Clean Eating Magazine’s Jonny Bowden, PhD. A clean eating diet does not require ruthless calorie-counting, but the consumption of healthy foods to improve your overall well-being and lifelong health. A diet that’s not faddy, insane, or high maintenance? We could get used to that!
What is Clean Eating?
Generally, “clean eating” is defined as the process of eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, including fresh fruits and vegetables, as opposed to fast food or prepackaged meals. This means choosing oranges over orange juice or water over soda, for example. Food that is minimally processed gives our bodies the maximum nutritional value needed to feed our metabolism, according to many clean eating gurus. This switch in dietary habits from processed to unprocessed foods can minimize stress, eliminate toxins, and increase the body’s efficiency.
Creating a Clean Eating Grocery List
To kick off an unprocessed diet, start by making an “eat clean” grocery list. Try to include plenty of fruits and vegetables and keep in mind that the more vivid the color, the more phytochemicals (good sources of antioxidants and vitamins) they contain. Fill your cart with dark, leafy vegetables, like kale or spinach, orange foods, like squash or oranges, red foods, like tomatoes and watermelon, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli. Also emphasize protein on your healthy eating grocery list to ensure that you consume enough essential amino acids. Eggs, shellfish, chicken, and lean beef are all great sources of protein. If you’re concerned about carcinogens in your grilled meat, marinate them first in a red wine or beer marinade, which can both reduce heterocyclic amines. Emphasize “whole” carbs (like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) rather than empty carbs (like potatoes, white rice and bread) when compiling your grocery list.
It’s certainly tempting! But try to stay away from boxed foods, store-bought condiments and sauces, canned meals, and refined white flour. Instead, opt for natural foods and antioxidants (above). The downside is that you will probably need to make stops at the grocery store more frequently so you can eat food at its freshest. The upside is that daily weigh-ins and obsessive calorie counting aren’t necessary. Simply follow your clean eating plan, drink tons of water, incorporate a little exercise and watch your health improve before your very eyes!
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