Eating is something that every human on the planet does, and something that we all have to do to survive. Different people throughout the world eat a wide variety of different diets, often composed of foods that are available in their surrounding environments. Though since the industrialisation era, many wealthier nations have seen the rise of processed foods, whereby foods are manipulated from their original form. It is only in the recent decades that we have started to become aware of the dangerous affects that this way of eating has on our health. This revelation has resulted in the rise of a new trend, going back to basics and trying to learn how to eat clean.
But what exactly does cleaning eating mean and how do you do it? On top of that, what exactly are the benefits of clean eating and why should we do it? That’s why we’ve written this blog, to clear up some of the questions you may have on how to eat clean and whether it sounds like a lifestyle you’d like to adopt.
Clean eating essentially means eating whole foods that are as close to their natural from as possible. It’s also about understanding the source of where your food came from, and it is related to a movement about becoming more conscious of what you put in your mouth. Though, it’s important to note that clean eating does not mean raw vegan. It is about eating a variety of plant foods and animal foods that are organically sourced. Raw vegan implies eating everything raw and basically only eating vegetables. But this is not a sustainable diet and it is not clean eating. This is because some foods must be cooked for us to gain the benefits from them, such as potatoes, rice and other grains. So, clean eating is supposed to be a diet that is good for you and good for the environment.
We know that eating clean has a positive impact both on your health and for the environment, but why exactly is it beneficial? Well, eating a clean diet has a myriad of positive effects on your health. Here is a list of the ways a clean diet can help you:
Eating clean means you’ll be receiving more nutrients that will help to improve your overall energy levels. It means that you will be more productive at work, and have plenty of energy to get all the things you need to get done throughout the day.
When you learn how to eat clean it will do wonders for your body, which will reflect outwardly. You’ll see it in your skin, your hair and body overall. You are likely to lose weight eating a clean diet, which will leave you glowing with confidence.
This goes hand in hand with having more energy, but if you eat clean you’ll feel better in general. If you experience any allergies or have problems with fatigue, this is likely to reduce when eating a clean diet. Not to mention you will feel proud of yourself for changing your lifestyle and doing something positive for yourself.
While it may cost a little bit at first to change your diet and stock up your pantry for your clean eating, overall once you learn how to eat clean you are likely to save money. This is because clean eating means you don’t spend so much on processed foods.
Finally, if you are clean eating you’ll also be doing something good for planet earth. Here is a list of the ways eating clean can have a positive impact on the environment:
Knowing how to eat clean is a matter of knowing where to start. So, we’ve put together a list of strategies to help you out.
This is the number one tip for how to start eating clean. When you eat whole foods, that means fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. It means you are eating a diet full of foods that are in their natural form. Processed foods are when foods in their natural form are manipulated and have things added to them. They are often lower in nutrients, since nutrients are lost throughout the processing of the foods. Here a list of processed foods:
This links back to the idea of processing. The more a food is processed, the more nutrients are lost. Refining is one example of where food gets processed. For instance, flour gets refined. So instead of choosing a white flour, choose a whole meal flour because it means it has been less refined. Another example is rice. Choose brown rice over white rice, because it has not had the outer cusk removed from it.
This is an important factor for knowing how to clean eat. Again, often processed foods contain higher amounts of all 3 ingredients, so avoiding processed foods is one way to avoid eating them. There are strong reasons behind why you need to avoid fat, sugar and salt. Firstly, reducing fat in your diet has several health benefits including reduced weight, lower risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some forms of cancer.
The same goes with reducing the amount of sugar in your diet. Cutting out sugar from your diet can help with weight-loss, since sugar is proven to encourage fat storage. It also provokes changes to your blood sugar levels, meaning that if you eat sugar throughout the day, you are likely to eat more sugar throughout the day. It can also result in you having a stable mood and energy levels.
Finally, reducing salt in your diet also has significant benefits to your health. Salt occurs naturally in foods, though it is also added to foods, and that is where the problem lies. Here are some of the negative impacts that a high salt diet can have on your body: kidney stones, fluid retention, stroke, osteoporosis and heart failure.
A big part of how to clean eat is to remain hydrated. The best way to keep your body hydrated is to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s also important to drink plenty of water. Ideally water that it is filtered and/or purified. Another way to avoid dehydration is to make sure you are not drinking too much caffeine. Drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, can dehydrate you easily because they are diuretics. Avoid drinking alcohol heavily and causing a hangover.
A big part of how to eat clean is by avoiding drinks that are high in calories such as fruit juices, soft drinks or milk shakes is an important part of eating clean. These high calorie drinks provide far too much sugar than your body needs and can result in some of the health issues mentioned above. That’s why it is better to get your hydration from drinking water.
This goes hand in hand with eating whole foods. But it’s better to ensure that your fresh foods are made in an organic way. This means you won’t be eating foods that were grown with dangerous pesticides and fertilisers.
Markets that sell fresh fruit and produce are a great place to get foods for your clean diet. You are more likely to find fresh and organic food at farmer’s markets.
While dairy is found in a lot of foods these days, it is best to avoid them if you want to eat clean. Dairy means milk from cows, that is turned into cheese, milk or yoghurt. Since dairy is meant for cows to feed their calves to grow, milk contains a highly concentrated formula of protein, fat, sugar, sodium and hormones that are too much for people to handle and can cause all kinds of health problems.
Eating a clean diet doesn’t mean becoming vegan, but it does mean consuming a diet that is lower in animal products such as meat. A clean diet is one that is predominately plant based, though if you want to eat some meat, make sure it is organically sourced. That means that beef is grass-fed, chicken and eggs are free range, and other animals are reared in an organic way. While they are more expensive than non-organic meat products, they are going to be much better for your diet.
This plays a big role in how to eat clean, because it means you have 100% control of what you put on your plate. If you eat out, you don’t know what is going into your meal and it is much harder to eat clean when you are not making your meals yourself. Not to mention that it is much more affordable to cook your own food.
This is important especially if you are going to eat meat. Not many people know that the way you eat food, meaning the different foods you pair together, can have an impact on your digestion. The way you eat foods can have an impact on the nutrients that you can get out of those foods.
To give you an example of proper food combing, it is important to eat proteins with non-starchy vegetables or carbohydrates. But you can eat starchy vegetables and carbohydrates with non-starchy vegetables but not with protein. This way of eating helps you to digest food better, and avoid bloating.
These are great additions to have in your diet as they provide you with a boost of vitamins and antioxidants. Here is a list of some of the top superfoods you might want to consider adding into your diet:
Ayurveda medicine which is an Indian health practice, incorporates diet as an important part of maintaining good health and healing. Practitioners describe 3 different body types called Dosha’s, which helps to determine what sorts of foods you should eat for your body type. Eating the right way for you Dosha might be a good way to help you eat clean and maintain good health.
While this is not specifically related to eating, it is very important to adopt an active lifestyle. Eating clean will be significantly aided by incorporating more activity into your daily life. Physical activity helps to aid with digestion, and forces you to get out and about.
Again, this doesn’t specifically relate to eating but it is an important part of having a healthy lifestyle and will match perfectly well with clean eating. We need vitamin D and the best way to get it is to get out in the sun (wearing sunscreen, of course!).
To sum up, knowing how to eat clean is great for your health and for the environment. And while learning how to eat clean may seem like a big commitment, it is a matter of making a choice that will be better for your health overall. If you just start by taking small steps and add a few of the above tips into your lifestyles, before you know it you’ll be on your way to clean eating.
*We’re not dietitians – please consult a trained professional before adjusting your diet.*