Nowadays, it is almost impossible to stay away from processed food. And I`m not talking about the Almighty McChicken, but food that we consume frequently and is never missing from our pantries or refrigerators. The truth is, part of it is sickening our bodies, one bite at a time.
Enough babling! What is, in fact, Clean Eating?
Per se, the concept of Clean Eating is an extremely simple one. Today, all diets that make the headlines are based on “eat more” or “eat less” of some kind of food or food group, like less carbs or more protein, gluten free, or vegan. Clean Eating is all about a balanced, simple lifestyle, that suggests you should eat whole foods, unprocessed, unrefined, as close to the way nature made it.
Clean-Eating is not a diet. It`s a lifestyle that focuses on unprocessed foods and preparing it in the most healthy and easy way possible, for the overall improvement of your body. And although the concept of Clean Eating is relatively new, the principles behind it are not. The Clean Eating philosophy is based on moderation and balance, firstly. This approach is sustained by scientific research in the field of nutrition and is in accordance with the recommendations of international health organizations. So, no Mambo Jumbo!
The question is this: What do you prefer? A low calorie, tasteless diet, that leaves you grumpy and frustrated, or a healthy lifestyle, close to nature, balanced and tasty?!? I think it`s easy to take sides on the matter, don`t you?
Even if the Clean Eating philosophy is quite simple and basic, every book published, every article written and every nutritionist out there, promote a set of rules to be followed, a sort of guidelines. So, here are the principles that we follow-to help you understand firsthand what this lifestyle is all about:
- 80% of your shopping cart should be composed of fresh fruits and vegetables. That doesn`t necessarily mean organic (more about which fruits and vegetables should be your priority in the organic department, namely “The Dirty dozen”, in one of the next posts). The idea is to eat food, as close as possible to their natural state. That means to replace the canned pineapple with the real thing.
- Adopt a balanced macro nutritional diet. That is, include proteins, carbohydrate and good fats at every meal you take. Wrongly, most persons avoid carbohydrates or fat when they are on a specific weight loss diet, reaching to the point of hating each and single meal with their guts. Actually, a balance between this three groups of macro nutrients (the proportion of each will vary depending on your goal-losing, gaining or maintaining weight) ensures achieving those goals, as well as creating an ideal health state. In conclusion, focus on macros, not just calories!
- Reduce processed and refined foods. Let me break it down for you. When I say Processed food, I mean every food that has a label, so more than one ingredient was used to make it. Cooking food means processing it, also adding as much as salt. So I don`t mean that. Also, whole food is labeled. Like whole wheat pasta or brown rice come in bags with labels, that doesn`t mean they are bad for you. That`s why I said reduce, and not eliminate. You cannot eliminate processed food, because processed food is everywhere. It`s impossible. But you should eliminate ultra-processed food, like sugary cereals and cookies, fruit yogurts, sodas, etc. Also, choose whole foods and avoid refined goods.Very importantly, try to forget the concept of all purpose flour. I will give you, in time, more ways to replace it. You will never know the difference.
- Eliminate refined SUGAR. It has been scientifically proven that sugar creates a higher addiction than cocaine. Unfortunately, drinking your coffee black does not ensure you a sugar detox. Today, we have sugar everywhere: gum, yogurt, ketchup and so on. Get label savvy. Be careful at what you are buying. There`s an unwritten rule that you should never buy food that contains ingredients you cannot pronounce. I`m not saying stop eating sweets. I have days when I devour an After Eight chocolate like it`s my last supper! But do try and reduce refined sugar cu an healthy substitute. We use honey or maple syrup and we recently started adding staevia-sweet and low calorie. Try not to worry about your daily sugar goal, you already hit that goal with sugar from the fruits you eat. The main idea is to start, step by step, to reduce your sugar intake, util one day you may reach the goal of eliminating refined sugar from your diet.
- Drink more water. You must be sick of hearing this, right? I know I am. Especially since I don`t particularly like water. So, until I found a way to make drinking water enjoyable, I have never reached the 2 liters target. Ever. You can follow y example. I drink two cups of tea a day, detox water in the morning, and normal lain water at the gym. I`ll soon share with you some great recipes for infused water that will make it delicious and packed with vitamins. Sooooooonnnnn ….
- Don`t drink your daily calories. I am referring to sodas, natural juices from the supermarket, sugary coffees with caramel, cocktails etc. Alcohol per se has loooots of calories so if you decide to rise the level with cranberry syrup, it goes off the chart. I`m not saying quit alcohol! God no!, But rather than having a Cosmopolitan, try a glass of dry red wine. And don`t consume it in excess. Also, replace sodas with tea, green or fruity, black or rooibos, the options are infinite.
- Eat 6 meals per day. I can`t stress you enough with this matter. It is essential, if you want to boost your metabolism, which in turn will contribute to a better general state of health and will help you burn fat faster. The most important aspect is to be organized. No matter how busy you are, it will be impossible for you to go to work without a least a snack. Your fast metabolism will change your life.
- It will be a lot easier to respect the latter principle if you remember this, single most important rule of every diet. Eat smaller portions. Period.
- Pack a lunch box for work. It is the only viable option for those eating lunch and/or dinner at work, used to grabbing a pizza or worse, fast food! Learn how to plan your meals in advance. Adopt the meal prep lifestyle in time. For starters, pack a snack or a fruit, for accommodation. Take small steps to your final goal. Living an organized life and having an amazing body, inside out!
- Stop eating on the run. Sit down and enjoy your meals. savor every bite!
- Make it a family affair. It`s no use for one of you to eat healthy and clean, while the other enjoys a delicious pizza right next to him. Yes. I love pizza. Too much.
What is Clean Eating? Bottom line is, the most important thing you`ll wanna do is be careful what you eat and how you choose to restrict your diet. In the end, everything we eat is engraved on our bodies. On the outside, but most importantly on the inside.
Just because some of us look skinny, does not mean that our bodies are functioning at the right parameters. That is the reason why most people, after a weight loss diet, end up putting back on, that which they have lost. For losing that extra weight for good and reaching an enviable health state, you have to adopt a lifestyle that is clean and nutritious. The process is long, but I will show you a way of making it enjoyable and tasty. By trying the recipes I post, you will see that this lifestyle is delicious, so you won`t feel it as a burden. What do you say? Shall we try?