Clean eating could mean a whole lot of things to different individuals; it could mean eating fresh food, homemade food, nourishing foods, unprocessed foods, natural foods (foods that have not been produced with chemicals or toxic substances) and so on. Clean eating is just the best way of putting a check on what goes in to our systems, it doesnt have to be dieting, starving or complicated meals, you can even eat more food in a day, but the food should be simple and should be prepared with some healthy ingredients.
When was the last time you remember to check expired date on some of the packaged food items you purchased from the store, and the nutritional content of the food? Also, have you also stop to think about the source of those ingredients you have been using to spice up your foods? So many times weve made this same mistake of buying packaged and canned foods without remembering to check the manufacturing date, the ingredients in which the food was made with and the type of chemicals used for the preservation. You might actually think all these dont really matter or necessary, but it does matter a lot as long as health is concerned. For you to leave healthy it means you have to eat healthy at all times and this brings us to clean eating.
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What is clean eating?
Clean eating is a healthy lifestyle of enjoying whole foods in their natural form; it doesnt have to be dieting or complicated kind of food, but something simple and nutritious to the body, which means that you have to avoid bad and harmful diet on a daily basis and crave for clean foods, foods like whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, yoghurts, pasture raised birds, eggs, milk, grass fed livestock, natural herbs and spices vegetables, plant oil (coconut oil, olive oil, red palm oil, and grape seed oil), protein and healthy fat are what you need for a clean eating practice. Processed foods are not always junk or bad as they say, and even if you have to eat foods that have been processed, let them be as close to their natural state as you can.
Steps on How to eat clean
- Eat more of natural and balanced foods– Eating more of natural, and homemade foods are of great benefits than junks; it is very important to eat a good combination of whole grains, fruits and some leafy vegetables: you can include vegetables to you pasta recipes, rice recipes and even in porridges. Eat natural cheese, honey, and use lean meat for all your clean food recipes and include sea foods with plant based proteins in your meals. Most of the times, eat half portion of real food and half portion of vegetables. Even if you have to buy processed foods, make sure you are aware of what is in the can, bottle or package, the food should be real and not something dangerous to your health.
- Eat foods that are nourishing– Homemade foods are for sure more nourishing than the food gotten from store and you can beat down the rate at which you eat outside and prepare balanced meal often at home. When preparing your food at home, make sure you use the right and natural ingredients for it. You can also include some root vegetables like carrots, healthy snacks and baked foods into your meal list or menu.
- Eat regularly but in moderate quantity– Breakfast is very important and it wont be reasonable to skip breakfast or starve yourself when you are hungry for any reason, you can control the amount of food consumption maybe for weight control and also include physical exercise in your daily activity to stay healthy, even if you dont really want to eat much of heavy foods, you can complement that with natural fruit or vegetable smoothieas it will help you to stay full longer, but make sure you eat rich food like whole grain bread, pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, nuts, fruits and vegetables when the hunger calls.
- Eat clean and healthy food- I always love quality over quantity, no matter what when making food selection, go for something fresh and new even if it will cost you much, your health is of great value than the cash. Additionally, always wash your fooods before preparing them; foods like fruits and vegetables should be washed in salted water or using vinegar to get rid of microorganisms and some insects or worms. Other foods like meat should be cooked properly before consumption just to be on the safer side.
- DIY It is even best to prepare your meal by yourself so as to supervise what goes into the food and what needs to be added, by doing this, you can used your desired quantity of sugar, salt and also decide on the ingredients to be used according to your taste.
- Grow your food locally– our surroundings are not just for fancy, you can fill an old pot with soil even if you dont have a space and plant some basil (scent leaves), spinach, fluted pumpkin, curry leaves, and other useful vegetables around your house as a form of small garden. These leaves contain antioxidant properties, mineral salts and vitamins as well as being a very good source of fibre that aids in digestion and prevents constipation. These locally grown vegetables are also low in calories and also help in preventing cancer; hence, they can be added to your sandwich recipes, stew recipes, soup recipes, salad recipes, sauce recipes, pepper soup recipes, and other food recipes you are likely to prepare.
- Use natural clean spices: Examples include: cloves, garlic, peppers, onions, cinnamon, mint, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, nutmegs and other spices are few clean ingredient. They are great for spicing any kind of food as they add some great flavour to the food. These ingredients have a lot of health benefits, even if you cant get all of them in your cupboard, get few and use them often in your meals.
- Eat comfortably and enjoy your meal- Eating food in a haste with no pleasure is as good as not eating at all or not eating well. When eating it is wise you slow down at the table, sit comfortably and enjoy your meal with friends or family with pleasure.
- Stay hydrated by drinking more water– water is helpful for proper digestion, circulation, transportation, removal of toxins, nutrient absorption and for chemical reactions. A drop in water may lead to fatigue, fuzzy short term memory and imbalance and in turn gives rise to a weakened immune system. As a clean eater, you need water to keep your system properly hydrated. But stay away from soda, alcohol and other soft drinks.
- Prepare your food ahead of time– If you are the type that is always busy every morning, this advice is for you. Take time to prepare your meal the day you have time at least once in a week and store in the fridge. Remember this might be tasking, but since you are on a clean eating process it is worth enduring until you are able to fully adapt to this practice then it will become easy, effortless and also a good lifestyle.
Clean eating benefits
- Prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases: due to the antioxidant effects in the fruits and the vitamins
- Helps to lose weight and also prevents getting over weight: due to the high fibre content and low caloric content in the vegetables and fruits
- A system free of diseases and illness– Eating clean foods is a healthy way of guiding the whole body from upcoming attacks; by eating clean, your body will be able to withstand any form of sickness like heart attack, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, skin and heart related disease and you will also have the chance to live longer.
- Clean foods provide you with radiant skin- Skin glow is not only gotten from cosmetic products, you can nurture your skin naturally while eating clean diets, a lot of vegetables and fruits contain, vitamins, antioxidants, proteins. However, vegetables and fruits have been known to provide radiant skin, hair growth and these have also been linked to weight management from various researches.
- Clean foods help your brain to function well– The type of food you eat can have effect on your entire body including the brain; your brain can only function well when you have the chance to eat healthy foods, foods like beans, fish, olive oil and whole grains contains vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats which allow more energy to be supplied to the brain to enable it function properly, and you will be more productive at work and during any activity as you practice clean eating.
- Clean foods help provide sound sleep: There is a slim chance that a healthy person will have difficulty to sleep at night; it is only when something has gone wrong with the system that it can lead to sleeplessness. You can eat foods like cherry juice, low fat milk, almond seeds, or dark leafy vegetables before going to bed. These can help you to sleep soundly without having to turn from one side of the bed to another.
- Provides you with healthy gum and teeth: Eating well is also a great way of building healthy gums and teeth. Most factory produced foods are loaded with sodium, much sugar and unhealthy fats just to make you crave for more, these additives have a lot of negative implications on your gum, taste bud and teeth as they can begin to develop cavities and gingivitis. Your taste bud will begin go out of balance especially when it comes in contact with natural foods since the taste bud has already been deceived with the right amount of fats, sugar and salt from processed foods. For this reason, it might take a little tough time for the taste bud to adjust to the healthy and natural sweetness from fruits, vegetables which are a bit lower in taste.
- Balance and happy mood: Healthy foods have a lot to contribute to an individual mood; you can easily recognise how your body feels when you have not eaten well for so long because the body will definitely allow you to feel it. Poor eating can bring about unhealthy habits and mood swings. The body may start releasing stress hormone- cortisol which can bring about limited blood flow in many parts of the body and prevention of amino acids uptake into the muscle cell. This happens when the cortisol is in an increase amount. Therefore, eating clean helps you to stay happier, healthy and balanced.
- Clean whole foods help provide micronutrients- Micronutrients can be gotten by consuming whole foods, and they help to regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol levels.
Clean eating recipes
- Beetroot, cabbage, carrotand cucumber salad
You can decide to mix different vegetables like beetroot, cabbage, bell peppers and carrots for salad to enjoy, these are very healthy vegetables to be enjoyed at any time, but you can decide to use your preferred greens for garnishing as well.
2. Broad beans and yam porridge with vegies
Beans, lentils and peas are very healthy grains with high protein. Combine some healthy vegetables like spring onions, fresh tomatoes, green bean, and bell peppers with some foods that contain carbohydrate ( food like yam or potatoes) to prepare your beans.
Fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals and fibre; they support heart health and aid in weight management. Fruits are naturally sweet without any additive, but if you like to add some sweetener to your fruits while serving them as salad, make sure you go simple, plain yoghurt, milk or syrup will just be ok.
4. Brown rice with vegetables
Brown rice, oatmeal and quinoa are whole grains, since they have not gone through a refining process. If you decide to make brown rice for lunch or dinner, ensure to add some fresh vegetable into it.
Fish is high in protein, low in fat, high in omega-3 fatty acids; it provides the human body with micronutrients. Fish helps to maintain cardiovascular health by playing a role in the regulation of blood clotting and vessel constriction, there are many clean and healthy fish recipes in which fish pepper soup is among, you can simply prepare your fish with some natural spices and enjoy it with the savoury broth at any time of the day.
6. Homemade tomato salsa recipe
Tomatoes are versatile fruits; they are often used as vegetables for preparing soups, sauces, stews and for dessert recipes. A simple tomato salsa is also a healthy breakfast or dinner recipe, as you dont only eat the tomatoes alone, but have the chance to incorporate other vegetables like cilantro, jalapeno peppers and red onions into it, to make tasty salsa.
It is wise you slow down on alcoholic drinks which can easily dehydrate and add excess calories to your system, crave more for plant juice like sorrel juice, green tea and other plant drinks which are natural and far better than alcoholic drinks..
There so many clean eating ideas, you can simply incorporate healthy foods and ingredients to your diet as a life style and leave healthy too
How to eat clean and loseweight
- Plan out your meal- list out what you want to eat and drink as breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Stick to your planned list.
- Skip out processed foods and eat whole foods more often.
- Eat lean meat and complex carbohydrate.
- Avoid saturated fat and eat healthy fat
- Practice daily exercise and eat small portion of food 6 times per day.
- Eat more fat burning foods like beans, lentils, citrus, pepper, broccoli and the likes.
- Eat more vegies and fruits than solid foods.
- Drink a lot of water on a daily basis; it helps to keep you full.
What are processed and unprocessed foods?
Foods are generally processed in two basic ways- heavily and minimally. Heavily processed foods are foods that all their natural properties are completely removed, while minimally processed ones are those that some of their natural properties are retained during the process; minimal processed foods include: canned beans, steamed vegetables, canned fish, roasted nuts etc.
Processed foods generally are foods that have been processed with artificial sweetener, texture, excess sodium, preservatives, colouring agent, flavouring agent,salt and unhealthy fats, these include: crackers, salad dressings, yoghurts, jarred sauces, canned soups, microwaveable foods and a lot more. Unprocessed foods are foods that have not been altered through any chemical process, they are often refer to as whole foods and they are in their natural form- they range from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, fish, milk, to grains.
In conclusion, eating clean doesnt mean just eating raw foods throughout, but eating minimally processed foods and knowing exactly what you are eating. The practice of eating clean food is not something you will have to wake up one morning to perfect; you have to start somewhere if possible; you can make a clean eating plan in your daily routine, listing out certain foods you need to cut down at least not at once, and the healthy ones you are to include in your meal menu. Once you are able to achieve one step, you can just follow it up gently until you are able to accomplish the next step.
Eating clean food should be a personal decision, make your choice of nuts, seeds, whole grain bread, milk, farm fresh yoghurt or milk, meat and snacks that will help you to improve your health and overall wellbeing and stick to it.