Clean eating is a buzzword you hear often, but what exactly is “clean eating”? Basically, it’s eating food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It isn’t a diet that you rely on to lose a few pounds; it’s a lifestyle that as a bonus, contributes to a healthy weight.
Think about how your grandparents ate. If they were anything like mine, most likely, they cooked 3 meals a day and snacked on fruit. There were very few boxed items in the pantry. Most boxed and/or packaged foods are highly processed and contain extra sugars, sodium and fat that our bodies do not need.
Everyone’s opinion on how “strict” they want to be is different. Most of the time I live by the 90/10 rule; 90% clean most of the time with 10% for indulgences. After all, life has a way of sometimes re-arranging our meal schedules. However, if I have a particular goal in mind, such as dropping body fat, then I will tighten up my eating and drop indulgences down to 5% or less.
To eat “clean”, just follow some basic guidelines:
• Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks daily. Each meal should contain lean protein, fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables, and a complex carb.
• If you do not depend on a large amount of energy in the evening, then eat your last grain carbohydrate at dinner.
• Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, I include green tea in this category.
• Avoid processed and refined foods, such as white flour, sugar, white breads and pasta.
• Consume healthy fats (essential fatty acids, or EFAs) every day. Included are salmon and other fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, and flaxseed.
Meals do not have to be boring or tasteless. Experiment with different herbs and spices to liven up your recipes. It may feel tedious at first, but if you hang in there, I promise you will feel lighter and have more energy.