There has been a lot of talk lately about “clean” eating. You may wonder if what is within this article is just another fad diet. It has become a favorite catchphrase for people pushing all kinds of workouts and diets. However, when you get down to the root of it, eating clean is just about eating whole, unprocessed foods. It is about getting back to basics and getting all of the nutrients you need in your diet.
So what is clean eating?
There is no single definition for “clean” foods. In short, eating clean means making the effort to choose the healthiest and most nutrient loaded options for your diet. But what makes foods “dirty”? It is not food that is covered in dirt and grime. Rather, junk food, food with preservatives and other additives, and processed foods which should be avoided.
“Clean” foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, and whole grains. Whether you enjoy steak as rare as can be, or you are a strict vegan, you can eat clean foods and enjoy the benefits they have on your health and appearance. Cutting out preservatives, processed sugars, and bleached grains can not only help you lose excess weight, maintain muscle mass, and enjoy clear, healthy skin.
3 meals won’t help you be healthy
You may have been told all your life that you should eat 3 square meals a day, but this might be the wrong way to go about getting your daily nutrition. About two hours after you eat lunch, do you feel overwhelmingly tired? The reason for this is eating a big meal spikes your blood glucose levels.
Your body burns that fuel, and then it runs out. Essentially, when you feel like you need that nap in the middle of the afternoon, your body’s gas tank is empty, and crashing. Clean eating proponents recommend eating smaller meals, five to six times per day. This helps keep your glucose levels from spiking and crashing
The purpose of enforcing this kind of eating schedule is so that you never feel as though you are starving. It is also easier for people who have trouble eating breakfast in the morning. Instead of a full, big meal, you can eat something lighter that will help you get going.
You need to drink 2 liters of water every day, at the very least. Hydration is important for your metabolism. Your body also needs enough water to properly absorb vitamins and nutrients and to maintain clear skin. Drinking enough water also prevents water retention.
Read those labels
Clean foods do not have long lists of ingredients with hard to pronounce, chemical-heavy names. You will never see ingredients like high fructose corn syrup in clean foods. Clean fruit juice, for example, would contain an ingredient lists such as “Apples, oranges, water.”
Know your fats
The diet industry has been misleading us for years and years, telling us that we must cut fats out of our diets completely if we want to get lean. They tell us that eating fat makes you fat, but that could not be farther from the truth.
Some fats should be avoided, such as trans fats and saturated fats. However, your body needs essential fatty acids to function properly. They help to lubricate your joints, and they help with organ functions.
Above all else, pay attention
It is easy to let junk food, preservatives, and other “dirty” foods sneak back into your diet if you are not paying attention. Read labels. Learn about portion sizes. Above all else, pay attention to how you feel. If you are hungry, eat a healthy snack. If you are full, stop eating. It’s that simple! Eating clean is not a diet fad; it’s a lifestyle change that can make an amazing difference in your health and fitness.