By Regan Abele
The food you put in your body is fuel. The nutrients inside each thing we eat are on a mission to give our body something it needs. As we work on making sure our body is getting what it needs on a daily basis to keep us living, you might come across many different diet plans. Maybe you have even tried one or two plans yourself.
There is a never-ending flow of fad diets and healthy eating tips swirling around our world today. High fat or low fat, carbs or no carbs, lots of protein or a little protein. How are you supposed to know what will work for you?
Clean eating is a term you may hear floating around with all these other ideas. When working with my clients, I find that clean eating can be the easiest place to start when making diet changes.
Clean eating is more of a guideline to help you make healthy food choices versus an elimination style program such as no carbs or low calories. With clean eating, the mission is to eat foods that have gone through the smallest amount of processing from their natural state to your plate.
Fruits like apples and oranges are easy to see as not processed and are, therefore, “clean.” Not all processing is equal or simple. Healthy foods like yogurt, frozen vegetables, tomato sauce, granola, and even veggie burgers have been processed at some level. Do not let this make you concerned that you won’t be able to tell good from bad. You can do this!
Commonly given advice is to look for words in the ingredients label that you cannot pronounce. When shopping for food, travel only along the outside aisles of a grocery store which is typically where foods are the freshest.
hen you are shopping for groceries, there are lots of other things to be on the lookout for. Phrases including words such as “less sodium,” “low-fat,” or even “vitamin enriched” should serve as warning flags. Often, food must be processed to make it contain less sodium or lower fat than it has in its natural state. Choose a whole grain product over a multigrain. Watch out for added sugars as they can appear in unexpected places.
Many people turn to clean eating for help losing weight. Clean eating can have a positive effect on your body in many ways. Clean eating often leads to more energy and even better mental health. A healthy diet of clean eating will help your cardiovascular health and has been tied to cancer prevention.
It makes sense that the eating of more natural foods, fruits and vegetables and limiting processed foods full of added sugar and salt is going to make you feel better. Who couldn’t use more energy, feeling better and lowering your risk of certain illnesses?
The important thing is finding a balanced diet that makes you feel the best. If you are eating minimally processed foods (natural whenever possible) with a balance of protein, fats, and carbs, you will be off to a great start to healthy eating!
Regan is a health and fitness enthusiast. She is also an Herbalife Wellness Coach and the owner of BAM Nutrition in Lexington.