Clean eating is just one of the many new ‘trendy-words’ among health conscious consumers today. a=As we are all individuals, everyone has their own opinion on what it is and how to achieve it. It is a concept that emphasises eating healthy, whole, unprocessed foods.
Clean eating dates back to the natural health food movement of the 1960’s. At that time, processed foods were more shunned by the moral and societal values as opposed to good health and nutrition. Clean eating is a sound approach to eating and living well that could maximise your energy and optimise your health. As it’s so flexible, it can be adapted to fit most kind of lifestyle and routine.
Today there are seven core principles of clean eating and they are;
- Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimise processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, tin, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.
- Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all of the time, you can increase your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
- Include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal.
Most of us typically do well with carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially in the early part of the day, like at breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder. When eaten throughout the day, it keeps us feeling full longer. Be aware of the kinds of meals you put together and space out your protein.
- Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.
- Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.
This usually pans out into three main meals and two or three hefty snacks. Eating this way prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady so energy doesn’t lag.
- Don’t drink your calories.
High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water first, herbal or fruit teas (unsweetened), other clean drinks include 100 percent fruit juice diluted with water (1 part juice to 5 parts water).
- Get moving.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.
Even incorporating some of the above into your diet and lifestyle can help to bring back some of that energy and vibrancy that maybe you’ve been lacking – it’s about finding what works best for you and finding that balance. Happy clean eating!