Clean Eating Tips
What is clean eating?
Clean eating implies eating lots of whole, real foods that are minimally processed and as close to nature as possible. Also, it entails cooking at home and finding good wholesome ingredients. It's a great concept that makes one question where the food comes from and what is in it. Here are some tips to help start eating clean.
Look for Whole Grains:
Try looking for the least processed whole grains as possible. For example quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, and oats. Whole grain bread and pasta are fine as long as they are made with simple ingredients. Look out for added sugars and harsh chemicals in the ingredient list. By simply changing from white rice, pasta and white bread to whole grain you are adding more healthy fiber and antioxidants to your diet.
Minimize Processed Foods:
Look out for foods containing long ingredient lists full of chemicals and hard to read ingredients and stay away from anything with artificial colors and flavors and added sugars. Food contains most of its nutritional value when it is least processed. We aren't saying that all processed foods are bad, there are of course good ones such as yogurt, whole wheat pasta, and some cheeses. Processed foods tend to come in packaging as well and might leach cancer causing chemicals such as BPAs into the food.
Control Sugar Consumption:
Stay away from foods containing a lot of added sugars. Eating too much added sugar can have many negative health effects. An excess of sweetened foods and beverages can lead to weight gain, blood sugar problems and an increased risk of heart disease. Americans consume about 4 times the amount of added sugars per day. One must stay away from sweetened yogurts, sodas, juices, deserts etc. Look for foods that have no added sugars in their ingredient list or, if they do, contain it in a minimal amount. A good sweet snack should be fruits, they contain natural unprocessed sugars filled with other nutritious properties.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables:
Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can only be beneficial. Americans don't eat as much fruit and vegetable servings as they should per day. Fruits and veggies contain antioxidants and a huge array of nutrients which can help significantly lower your risk of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. Also, loading up on fruits and veggies means you are consuming less cholesterol and sodium, which lead me to my next two points.
Cut Down on Meat:
Not only is eating less meat healthier for you but it is also better for the planet. Research suggests that cutting down on your meat consumption reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, and lowers blood pressure. Meats are often filled with antibiotics and hormones and contain a hefty amount of cholesterol and unhealthy fats. If meat will be eaten please choose antibiotic and hormone free options such as wild salmon or grass fed beef. A good alternative to meats that also contain protein are beans, lentils, and nuts.
Sodium plays a key role in normal nerve and muscle function. But sodium in large amounts increases blood pressure, your risk of heart disease, and can lead to kidney problems. Americans consume way over the daily recommended value of 2.300 mg per due to the fact that we consume a lot of processed comfort foods. Processed foods usually contain large amounts of sodium, much more than home made foods. A good way to decrease sodium intake is to use coarse sea salt or kosher salt instead of table salt, which contains more sodium.