Back in August of 2013, I started eating clean. Since my exercise journey had started by that point, I was looking for other ways I could improve myself and become healthier in every way. I have always had somewhat of a balanced diet, but I was still eating a fair amount of unhealthy foods, and I wasn’t being consistent. My goal was to get the necessary nutrients my body needed through whole foods. Ultimately, this would improve my immune system, skin clarity, mood, and overall health.
Eating clean is not as difficult as some may think. All that’s required is some effort. You need to plan ahead and prep your own foods. Prepackaged foods are rarely clean, and if you live on-the-go like me, it’s important to have foods prepped so they can be grab-n-go foods. I also have a “working lunch” which means my foods need to be easy and quick. Here, I’ll share information and tips on clean eating, and some of my favorite go-to clean foods for snacks and meals.
What Exactly Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating consists of eating only whole natural foods that are unprocessed. The foods consumed include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and grass fed meats. Each meal or snack contains complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
When you eat clean, you provide your body with the necessary nutrients at the fullest form. You are also avoiding ingredients that are very harmful to the body that are included in processed foods. Some harmful ingredients include food coloring, trans fat, artificial sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup. There are many other harmful ingredients to avoid and that are in processed foods, but these are the most common.
Next time you’re doing your food shopping and you buy a prepackaged snack, take a look at the nutritional label. Once you start to read the ingredients, you’ll notice most of the ingredients cannot be pronounced. This shows that they are chemically altered or processed.
It’s also important to note that the order the ingredients are listed on a nutrition label tells you how much of a certain ingredient was used. Consumers put the ingredients they used the most of first, and the least amount ingredient listed last. You’ll notice on processed prepackaged foods, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners are very common and are often one of the first few ingredients listed.
Benefits of Clean Eating
The most obvious and well known benefit of clean eating is weight loss. This is probably one of the main reasons why so many people start clean eating. Although the weight loss benefits of clean eating are amazing, the health benefits go far beyond just weight loss.
Clean eating also improves how your body functions. By providing your body with whole natural foods, your body can digest food more easily, and your body functions better. You stop feeling sluggish, and start feeling more energized. This also increases your mood. Not many people see the link between consuming processed fried foods and their mood (depression, sad, angry, irritated, etc). The foods we eat are a huge contributor to our moods. A deficiency in certain nutrients, particularly Omegas 3 and 6 and probiotics, can influence how we feel, think, and interpret our surroundings and interactions.
Your skin clarity improves too. This benefit of clean eating does take some time (I noticed a difference after about 2-3 months), but is worth it. I suffer from severe cystic acne mostly along my jawline, and clean eating has helped. Since I avoid processed and fried foods most of the time (I do indulge occasionally), I have noticed that my skin clears up much faster than before, and the texture has improved as well. Giving up dairy is something I have done recently in addition to my clean eating. Eliminating dairy alone has reduced the size of my breakouts tremendously. Again, seeing results does take time though. I started seeing results in my second month. Be patient with your body.
Now I’ll share some tips on how to make clean eating a little easier and I’ll also share some clean snack foods.
Here are easy tips to clean eating:
- Choose fruits and vegetables instead of processed snacks
- Choose whole grains (quinoa, brown rice) instead of white or wheat breads
- Replace fatty meats (pork loin, ground beef) with lean meats (chicken, fish, grass fed 90% beef)
- Replace soda with water, unsweetened tea, or fruit infused water
In addition to chicken, grass fed beef, and fish, here are some of my favorite foods that I eat while clean eating:
Article: “The Clean Eating Diet”
Article: “The Six Rules for Eating Clean”
Author: Jessica Levine
Published by Rebecca Salvas