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If you are trying to improve your health and maintain a healthy weight, clean eating can help you achieve a better outcome — with long term results! It’s a fairly simple concept. Instead of focusing on eating fewer calories, or more protein, for example, channel your attention to what you are putting into your body and where it came from. Clean eating is all about eating real, whole foods that are minimally processed and as close to their natural form as possible. These basic guidelines can help you easily make the transition to clean eating. In time, it may just become a lifestyle choice you that you will love! Follow these steps to clean eating and start the New Year feeling — and looking — better than ever!
If you don’t buy it, you can’t be tempted to eat it. Skip the processed food and stick to an organic grocery store or local farmers’ market for the freshest produce. It’s crucial to know which foods are in season. The general goal is to eat things that did not travel too far to reach you, such as local produce grown right in your town or state. Also make sure to always read nutritional labels, which can be found on the package. Stay away from foods with over five ingredients, including ones that you can’t pronounce!
Once you get more familiar with nutritious snacks and meals, you’ll get more comfortable with clean eating. Cooking at home eliminates extra calories, salt-intake, and costly spending. It’s best to steam or stir fry foods to preserve their nutritional value. Do not deep fry, stew, or use animal or vegetable fats. Use coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter to cook. Also skip the salt and use delicious herbs, spices, garlic, onion, lemon, or lime! Spice up your life the healthy way!
Vegetables are the best foundation to a clean diet because they are nutrient rich, low in calories, and can fill you up — when prepared correctly. It’s recommended to eat about three cups per day. Eating vegetables regularly has shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and cancer. It’s best to eat veggies raw, in their most natural state. If need be, you can steam, sauté, or bake to preserve nutritional content.
When it comes to grains, always go for whole! Be sure to avoid bran, germ, and overly processed refined foods. Whole wheat, quinoa, oats, and brown rice are healthy alternatives to keep you feeling full and looking great. Try to eliminate white rice, white bread, and packaged snacks (cookies, crackers, cakes, etc.) from your diet.
It’s best to eat foods in their most natural form – raw. This means no more processed, refined, sugary foods loaded with calories, carbohydrates, and sodium (among other questionable ingredients). Pass on candy, soda, and prepackaged items. Be aware that four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon. This can add up fast if you’re not mindful. Sugar is added sneakily into foods that don’t need them, including granola bars, cereal, oatmeal, canned fruit, spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, salad dressing, fruit juice, sports drinks, and bottled teas.
Reducing meat from your diet expels extra saturated fat from your system. If you must eat meat, always eat small portions, around the size of a deck of cards. Opt for locally grown, organic, free-range, grass-fed meat. Optimal meat choices would be fish, such as wild salmon, and white meat, such as turkey or chicken. If it’s too much for you to completely give up red meat, eat it only once or twice per week.
If you’re eating clean, you should pair it with drinking clean! Water is the best choice, although feel free to explore other healthy options, such as coconut water. If consuming alcohol, drink in moderation (one drink for women and two for men). Opt for red wine for heart-healthy benefits. Stay away from sugary mixed drinks at all costs!
Opt for a fresh, clean start to the New Year! It’s not about being extreme or eliminating your favorite foods. It’s about enjoying real food in its truest form, and finding new, healthier favorites. In this way, you can obtain the greatest nutrition with a balanced eating plan. Cheers to eating clean in 2015!
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