In last week’s article Is your liver making your sick we discussed in detail all about detoxing and why it is a necessary practice. This week one of our community members wanted to know about why our foods are making us sick, so I thought I would base this week’s article on that question. Today let’s talk about eating clean and how this helps our bodies function properly on a regular daily basis.
This week’s freebie is a continuation of this article that you’ll want to get as it goes into how to eat clean on a budget, how to keep your clean meals tasty, how to eat clean as a busy family, and finally clean food hacks for baking sweet treats.
Eating clean is a simple and great place for you to start to take personal responsibility for your health. Not only does it improve your health but it also minimizes the impact that globally destructive food manufacturing processes have on the planet and its animals.
However, like many people I talk to you may have some misconceived ideas about eating a clean diet that may be holding you back.
You might be fearful that there are intricate and hard to understand rules and ideas you must follow to benefit from clean eating. You may think that the complicated clean eating process is going to be too expensive for you and your family. This is usually the number one reason I hear.
You might be concerned with fitting a clean eating approach into your busy lifestyle. You may wonder if eating clean actually tastes good. For instance, how are you going to replace the highly processed foods that you love with a healthy alternative without going into withdrawals or feeling deprived. I hear this a lot too.
These very well may be some of the thoughts you have when you consider eating clean from now on, however, they are needless complications that do nothing but keep you from experiencing the best mental and physical health you have ever enjoyed.
Don’t make the very simple process of clean eating complicated. In many cases this is just a subconscious effort to justify sticking to your unhealthy refined and processed diet of fast foods and nutritionally poor food items. How easy is it to eat clean? Well, let’s take a look at the basic clean eating principles and show you how truly simple it is.
Basic Principles of Clean Eating in Simple Terms
Do you take regular baths or showers? Of course you do! You do this to clean sweat, dead skin, dirt and debris from your skin. If you don’t, you can develop skin disorders and health problems. (You will also eventually create an unpleasant odor your friends will be sure to tell you about.) To make the idea of clean eating simple to understand, let’s consider it as cleaning your interior, just like bathing or showering cleans your body’s exterior.
How do you wash and clean yourself internally? You do it by limiting the amount of possibly harmful foods you eat. When you pull a carrot out of the ground and eat it, you are “eating clean”. (Wash the carrot first, of course.) You are eating that food as close to its natural state as you possibly can.
To think about the opposite of eating clean, imagine what happens to processed foods before they get to you. A store-bought pizza uses enriched, processed flour as its base. The veggies, cheeses and meats on the pizza have undergone injections of salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sugar, steroids, preservatives and other unhealthy compounds and chemical nasties.
The tomato paste used is also chock-full of unnatural and potentially harmful ingredients. This is processed food as we have come to know it, in its most nutritionally-poor form. Obesity, heart diseases, circulatory problems and a host of other physical and mental issues are connected with a diet high in processed and refined foods.
Eating clean limits, as much as possible, the amount of processed foods you eat, and focuses on more whole foods instead. Why should you want to bother with eating this way? Because you’ll feel better, enjoy more energy, lose weight, detox your body on a daily basis, turn back the clock by fighting the aging process and reduce your risk of contracting a host of diseases … So right about now you may be asking really? Yes, all this by simply eating a clean whole food diet.
To break it down for you let’s look at some of:
I purposely left out the word “rule” from the above sentence because rules imply things that we HAVE TO DO and that we FEEL GUILTY OVER if we don’t do them and that is not how I want you to feel about this idea of eating clean whole foods. Eating clean whole foods is not exactly a do or die type of thing but more importantly it is a way of eating that you should want to adapt in order to keep your body as healthy as possible in order to live a longer, healthier one so that you can live the lifestyle you want and were meant to live. So now back to the basics:
- Eat more whole foods – Whole foods are very close to their original state. Sure, apples and oranges went through some type of process to get from a farm or orchard and to your grocer. However, they have enjoyed minimal human intrusion compared to processed foods. Whole fruits and vegetables, organic grass-fed, free-range meat products, unsalted seeds and nuts, and whole grains are what you want to focus on eating here. Make as much of this organic as you can and at the very least make what’s on the dirty dozen list organic as far as fruits and veggies are concerned.
- Eat fewer processed foods – This is easier to do than you may think. If the food you are about to eat comes in a wrapper, package, box, can, or jar it most likely has been processed. Check the ingredients label. Some foods that are wrapped up or packaged have minimal processing. Most do not. Avoid anything in a wrapper and you will drastically and simply limit your intake of processed and refined foods.
- Eat more frequently – The Standard American Diet (appropriately shortened to SAD) is also enjoyed in most modern countries and cultures. It includes eating 3 meals a day. It involves huge portions. This is a guaranteed way to minimize your overall wellness and maximize poor health. Spread your daily eating over 5 or 6 sessions. Eat smaller quantities, and eat every 2 or 3 hours, either a meal or snack. This keeps your metabolism super-charged, and your internal processes working properly.
- Prepare your own meals – The best way to eat clean is to know exactly what goes into the food you eat. Eating away from home means you are playing Russian roulette with your diet. Cook your own meals and there is no mystery as far as what you are eating.
- Eat balanced meals and snacks – Make sure you are getting carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats with any meal or snack. This combination makes you feel full longer. It also reduces your urges for unhealthy junk and processed foods.
- Stop killing yourself by eating refined sugar – Did you know that sugar creates a reaction in your brain similar to that of a drug addiction? Refined, processed sugar is regarded by most health officials and doctors as the major cause for obesity today. This leads to circulatory, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, an increased risk of contracting diabetes, and a host of mental and physical health issues. The empty calories in sugar do absolutely nothing positive for your body. Natural sweeteners are found in fruits and vegetables, and can easily replace potentially deadly refined sugar. Try gradually switching to stevia and other natural sweeteners.
Constantly remind yourself of those 6 traits of clean eating. If you simply wrote the above 6 tips on a piece of paper and referred to it every time you shopped for groceries, you and your family could benefit from the wonderful health properties of clean eating without making the process more complicated than it actually is.