Do you ever hear your friends mention they’re clean eating and loving it? Ever wonder what in the world that means? Was their food dirty before? Not at all. Let’s discuss what clean eating is and how to get started so you can decide for yourself if clean eating is in your future as a means toward a healthier lifestyle.
What Exactly Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is the art of eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, rather than choosing foods full of preservatives and foods which are over processed.
Preservatives play a large role in preserving the shelf life of what we buy. Our pantries are full of preserved items. Processed foods begin as “real” foods and are then turned into something else, full of additives, or cooked until there are few nutrients left.
How To Get Started
Any new habit is tough to start since it’s a change in our patterns. When it comes to clean eating and how to get started, the change is even tougher, with fast food options on every corner. Here are a few ways to start slowly with a clean diet:
Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
Yes, your mother was right. Fruits and veggies are always a healthy option, and we all need more of them in our lives.
Try eating more salads in lieu of the fast-food burger at lunchtime. Get creative so you don’t get bored. Plant an herb garden or potted tomatoes on your deck for untouched, nutritious flavor and easy salads. Add some cooked meat or hard-boiled eggs for protein. Grab a handful of grapes or an apple rather than a bag of chips. It takes some getting used to, but after a while, things like chips won’t even sound good because you’ll feel so great.
Slowly Eliminate Processed Foods
If you can go completely clean overnight, then by all means, go for it. However, for the rest of us, it’s easier to throw in the towel if we deprive ourselves of everything at once. Instead, slowly wean yourself off of processed foods. Your body craves them because it’s used to it. In time, as processed foods are replaced with clean ones, the body adjusts.
Start with one item a day and replace it with something unprocessed. Cook meals at home whenever possible and enjoy some old-fashioned homemade items you thought couldn’t be made at home (even condiments can be homemade). You can still enjoy meat; just make sure it’s in its natural state.
It’s on the Label
Read your labels when grocery shopping. Even the most natural-looking food may be preserved with chemicals or have unnecessary additives.
They say a habit takes 21 days to stick. Cut yourself some slack on the days you fail and don’t eat clean. Just keep trying, and eventually you’ll be living the clean lifestyle. Your body will thank you for it.