What is Eating Clean?

Eat Clean. Clean Eating is not a diet, it’s a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Eating clean is as easy as these simple guidelines! Post them on your fridge and give them a glance every so often to refresh your memory. The soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life one meal at a time.

Eat five to six times a day

Three meals and two to three small snacks. Include a lean protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate with each meal. This keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently all day long.

Choose organic whenever possible

If your budget limits you, make meat, eggs, dairy and the Dirty Dozen your organic priorities.
This is quite possibly one of the most important lists that you could memorize when it comes to eliminating harmful toxins from your diet.  An amazing organization called the Environmental Working Group (which is an “organization of scientists, researchers and policymakers”), developed a list of which common produce items have the highest amounts of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. They discovered that by switching to organic produce for the foods listed on “The Dirty Dozen “list can “reduce the amount of toxins you consume on a daily basis by as much as 80 percent.”  I’m not sure about you, but I’m all for not being a walking chemical factory.  Americans already consume 6-9 pounds per year of chemicals.  That’s not including what we absorb through our skin.  That’s something kind of sobering to think about, isn’t it?

dirty dozen

Drink half your body weight in water daily

As human beings, we are made up mostly of water. We need to drink water for health, and it is necessary for life. However, many do not drink enough water each day, resulting in bloating, weight gain and illness as the body tries to hold on to as much water as it can get. Some people dislike the taste of water and choose not to drink enough. Experts agree that the amount of water one needs for health and ideal weight is half of one’s weight in ounces of water each day. For example, a person weighing 160 pounds would need to drink 80 ounces of water daily. A 100-pound person needs only 50 ounces of water total for the day. There are ways to make it easy to drink the required amount of water each day to keep your body healthy, hydrated and at your ideal weight. Try using a water bottle and note how many you need to drink each day to help you stay on track. Try adding some frozen fruit or sqeeze lemon in your water to give it some flavor if you like.

Get label savvy

Clean foods contain just a few ingredients. Any product with a long ingredient list is human-made and not considered clean.  “Know your ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it and don’t recognize it, don’t eat it. The shorter the list of ingredients the better.”  says Health Coach Mitzi Sackett . For more helpful advice or questions about clean eating, join Mitzi’s Facebook group Clean Eating with Mitzi.

Avoid processed and refined foods

This includes white flour, sugar, bread and pasta. Enjoy complex carbs such as whole grains instead. Avoid these clean eating foes.

Know thy enemies

Steer clear of anything high in trans fats, anything fried or anything high in sugar. Avoid preservatives, color additives and toxic binders, stabilizers, emulsifiers and fat replacers.

enemies

“Food additives have become commonplace in our modern diet but do they really “add” any value to our food?”

It might be common knowledge to you that most processed foods are not ideal for our health. These foods are often laden with artificial chemicals, which can cause all sorts of havoc to our body. Typically these food additives are not easy to identify, as they are hidden under a variety of names and codes and usually in very small font.

Even when additives are derived from plant sources they can still be harmful. As Mike Adams says from ‘Hungry For Change’: “Stay away from anything that is an unnatural and highly concentrated chemical from a plant that should be consumed in its full spectrum bioavailable nutrient complexity. That’s the way nature delivers food – as a nutrient complex not as one isolated nutrient”.

Consume healthy fats

Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the main sources of fat in the much beloved Mediterranean diet. It’s a monounsaturated fat with a deserved reputation for being extremely heart healthy. And copious research shows that greater adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet (including plenty of monounsaturated fat) is associated with a significant reduction in mortality. But all olive oil is not created equal. Unrefined extra-virgin olive oil is best. Because it’s pressed at very low levels of heat, the precious health-giving polyphenols are preserved. So don’t ruin it by heating it at high temperatures!

Almond Oil

A good oil with a high level of monounsaturated fat and a high smoke point (430°F).

Peanut Oil

This is another oil high in monounsaturated fat, but because of its omega-6 content, it’s best to use unrefined peanut oil in moderation.

Sesame Oil

Used extensively in Asia, sesame oil contains some monounsaturated fats. Some of its benefits come from its unique antioxidants, which aren’t destroyed by heat. It also contains phosphatidylcholine, an important nutrient for the brain. I’d limit its use, however, because it does have a high amount of omega-6 fats.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a superfood. Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is the type known as medium chain triglycerides, which the body prefers to use for energy rather than store as body fat. It contains a couple of powerful antimicrobal fatty acids — lauric acid and caprylic acid — and produces ketones, a wonderful source of energy for the brain. This is a good example of a fat that was wrongly demonized because it’s saturated. It also holds up to high heat very well and imparts a nice, nutty taste to foods. I often mix it with butter to lighten up the taste a bit.

Butter

Butter from grass-fed cows is a wonderful fat. You can’t beat the taste, it stands up to heat and new research indicates that full-fat dairy such as butter has significant health properties and may even help combat obesity. Its kissing cousin, ghee, is essentially clarified butter (i.e., with the milk solids removed) and is used throughout India and in Ayurvedic medicine.

Palm Oil

Palm oil (not palm kernel oil) is another plant-based saturated fat that’s been unfairly demonized. It’s high in a particular type of vitamin E called tocotrienols, which have been shown to have a protective effect on the brain. I strongly recommend Malaysian palm oil – due to the Malaysian government’s pro-environmental policies, this oil is produced using sustainable practices. I use this oil all the time.

 Limit “added” sugar

Even minimally processed foods will have a sugar content on the label. Max for a women should be 6 tsp. a day and for a man 9 tsp. a day. Sugar is listed in mg and there are about 4 mg./ tsp.

Slow down and savor

Never rush through a meal. Food tastes best when savored. Enjoy every bite! USE SMALLER PLATES to combat the portion control issue our country is facing.

Take it to go

Pack a cooler for work or outings so you always have clean eats on the go.

Make it a family affair

Food is a social glue that should be shared with loved ones. Improve the quality of your family’s life along with your own.

The Healthy Eating Plate

Created by nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health and editors at Harvard Health Publications, was designed to address deficiencies in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s MyPlate. The Healthy Eating Plate provides detailed guidance, in a simple format, to help people make the best eating choices.

healthy plate

Use The Healthy Eating Plate as a guide for creating healthy, balanced meals—whether served on a plate or packed in a lunch box. Put a copy on the refrigerator as a daily reminder to create healthy, balanced meals!