We have all heard about the benefits of clean eating for a long time. Celebs back it and so do the best nutritionists and the benefits eating healthy and clean can beat any other diet! Some studies do suggest that clean eating can cut down the risk of many lifestyle disorders, including Type-2 diabetes and obesity. Simply summed up, clean eating requires you to eat more of the healthier options in each food group, and have fewer of the not-so-healthy ones. Similar to a plant-based diet, the idea is to have foods whose nutritional profiles stay closest to their natural states possible.
However, all said and done, cleaning up your diet can be a bit difficult to get through with- especially if you are a beginner and haven’t followed the healthiest of lifestyles and do not know the foods to eliminate and the ones to add. So, if you are a newbie, and aiming to go clean with your diet, here are some basic rules to follow which can help you get started with healthier eating habits!
1.Have more of fruits and vegetables
We all know the rule- having 2-3 servings of seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables is deemed to be healthy and nourishing. When you abide by the principles of clean eating, the basic rule is to have more natural produce in your diet. Not only are fruits and vegetables extremely healthy and potent with nutrients, loading up on these essential foods can do you a lot of good. Filled with antioxidants, minerals, good carbs, some protein, fiber and vitamins, having a good quantity of fruits and veggies can greatly cut down your risk of high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes and keep other illnesses at bay. Make sure you select organically-sourced, chemical-free produce and have more seasonal variety.
2.Have less meat in your diet
While poultry and meat are healthy in some forms, the available research indicates that people might benefit from cutting out on meat. Similar to plant-based diets, clean eating also exemplifies that you cut down meat from your diet. Not only will this move be a healthy change for you, but also the planet. Having more plant-based produce can also add up fiber to your diet, which is a core necessity. With wide available products now, most other nutrient needs can also be well met with, without any hesitation. Start by limiting your intake, cutting down, or do away with meat completely and see how your body adapts to it.
3.Opt for whole grains
When you eat clean, it’s crucial that you be selective with the basic grains and produce you choose, and make sure whatever you have is organic, clean and free of any kind of preservatives. Hence, while all major food groups are good and healthy to have, clean eating promotes the use of whole grains, i.e. use products which undergo the least amount of preservation. Do make sure that when you do buy, you read the label very carefully (true whole grains will have very short labelling) and no added preservatives to it.
Whole grains (such as oats, quinoa, unrefined variations) have also been shown to aid digestion, immunity and make it easier for people to lose weight.
4.Cut back on refined options, including processed foods and carbs
Apart from adding more whole grains in your diet, clean eating also necessitates that you limit, or rather keep your intake of anything processed, refined to a minimum, which would include a lot of junk food varieties and packaged, ready-to-eat or processed frozen foods we have available for easy use.
As difficult a dietary change this can be for many, cutting back on processed and refined carbs, sugar and fats is an extremely healthy choice in the long run. Do remember that a lot of the packaged and junk food varieties we have can be laden with chemicals, some of which can be detrimental for the body and have been termed to be cancerous. While containing excessive calories, they provide little to no nutritional value.
5.Limit added sugar and sodium from your diet
Lastly, what you need to do to adapt to clean eating lifestyles is to limit your dependency on added/refined sugar and sodium, i.e. salt. Not only is excessive use of any of these two bad for your health, a lot of us often do not realize that many regularly consumed products, including biscuits, chips and bread contain sugar and sodium, which put us at the risk of overconsumption.
Cut down your intake of added sugar and sodium by limiting intake of fizzy drinks, sodas, sweets, and many ready-to-eat products such as granola bars and cereals. Go for healthier variants, and instead have more natural sugars through fruits and other available options