The benefits of clean eating
Fad diets come and go. One diet will extol the benefits of cutting fat, and then the next big thing comes along claiming the exact opposite. So you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking that clean eating is just another trend that’ll eventually fall out of favour.
However, clean eating isn’t a diet, but rather a style of eating that emphasizes the quality of the foods you eat, not how much you eat or when you eat. In fact, clean eating isn’t even a new concept. Long before the days of processed foods, pesticides, hormones and GMOs, people ate food directly from the source with minimal processing—that is outside of cooking.
Clean eating allows you to take back control of what you put into your body. High-quality, whole and ideally organic foods replace those covered in pesticides, engineered or produced in massive factories.
The highly-processed foods that line the shelves of your local grocery store are loaded with calories, added sugars and ingredients that only scientists can pronounce, yet lack many beneficial nutrients. These foods are linked to obesity, low-energy levels and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and in some cases, cancer. Many of these low-quality foods are also treated with pesticides or contain genetically modified ingredients, both of which carry potential health risks—not to mention a significant environmental toll.
Clean eating nourishes your body with healthy and nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed meats and hormone-free dairy. Consistently eating clean foods fills your body with plentiful vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein and healthy fats, which improve heart and brain health, assist with weight management, build a stronger immune system and increase energy levels, among other benefits.So how do you eat clean? It’s quite simple. Here are three tips to make your transition to clean eating seamless as possible.
1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
Clean foods are typically found along the perimeter of grocery stores. Spend most of your time in the produce section, stocking up on a wide variety of colourful and healthy fruits and vegetables. Choose organic foods—especially meat, dairy and produce on the dirty dozen list—when possible.
2. Read labels
If you venture down your grocery store’s aisles, make sure to read food labels. Check the ingredient list and avoid any product with ingredients that you’re not familiar with or can’t pronounce. The fewer the ingredients, the better. Also, check for added sugars listed under carbohydrates. An item as basic as a pasta sauce can have as much as 100 grams of sugar in a single jar!
3. Cook your own food
The easiest way to eat clean? Cook your own food. That way you have total control over your ingredients and can be certain that your meals are indeed clean. Cooking also helps you avoid items that masquerade as health foods but are far from it. For example, many alleged healthy juices found at grocery stores come loaded with sugar and cheap ingredients. It’s far better to buy your own ingredients and use your Vitamix to blend delicious, clean juices that are full of healthy nutrients.
Clean eating benefits:
This one is huge! Inflammation is at the root of most all pain and disease. Of course, some inflammation in the body is natural because it comes with the stresses of everyday living. But natural, whole foods and herbs have healing properties that help to minimize and manage inflammation, preventing pain and disease as well as helping you reach your weight loss goals naturally.
One of the joys of eating foods that are close as possible to being in the form that nature gave them to us, is that your body tends to thrive and stay slim almost effortlessly! Sometimes there are hormonal issues involved with not being able to lose weight, but getting in tune with your body and sticking with a healthy lifestyle long enough will eventually let you heal.
This is a big bonus! When eating clean you are getting more vitamins, minerals, and hydration that starts to show up in your skin! It also makes for better skin and nails. Studies have shown that when people look at pictures of other people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables versus those who don’t, they usually find the fruit and veggie eaters more attractive. Why? It’s that healthy glow from all those carotenoids.
There’s a strong correlation between food and mood, and several books have been written about this now. It seems we have long discounted the link between food and things like depression and anxiety. Keep your blood glucose levels stable, and live long and happy with clean eating.
Clean eating equals clean energy. No more need for energy drinks, sugar or tons of coffee to get you through your days. With a healthy, clean eating lifestyle you will usually have so much energy that you won’t know what to do with it all.
Stronger Immune System
Anytime you’re consuming processed foods and sugar, the immune system has to spend energy protecting against what you’re putting in your body, leaving very little energy left to protect against illness. A clean eating lifestyle leads to a bolstered immune system that can better fight of viruses and disease. And when you do get sick, your body will have more resources to recover quickly.
As just mentioned, your body is naturally cleansing and detoxing when you are eating clean, so a lot of the old stuff in your colon and tissues gets flushed out and is no longer controlling your biology and cravings. In a sense, you’re totally reprogramming your relationship with food in a positive way. Learn to decode your cravings with this clean eating cheat sheet.
Break Sugar Addiction
For many of the same reasons listed above, eating clean helps break sugar addiction. Another reason is candida. If you are eating processed foods, your body becomes an environment for excess amounts of this yeast like, parasitic fungus to thrive. Candida lives off of sugar so it makes you crave more. Clean eating is free of processed sugars, so bye bye candida and sugar cravings.
Less chronic pain
As we talked about at the beginning, inflammation is a huge deal when it comes to any kind of pain or disease. Eating foods that reduce inflammation, and avoiding the ones that cause it, will lead to pain-free living.
Eating clean gets your body in balance and also helps with hormones, which in turns helps with things like sleep quality. And your body is spending less time having to repair and heal damage while you sleep, so you’ll wake feeling so refreshed.
Save money on groceries
This one may sound counter-intuitive, since most of us think healthier foods are more expensive, but eating more simply and mindfully can actually lead to saving money.
Save time with meal prepping:
Meal prepping is a great way to save both money and time with a clean eating lifestyle. It also cuts down on stress and waste.
When you’re malnourished, strength is at an all-time low. This prevents you from being able to get the most of your day, or even find the energy to exercise. Clean eating naturally brings hormones into balance, causes excess fat to melt away and muscle builds more easily when you’re fed right. There’s a big difference between simply being skinny, and being strong! It’s a great goal to set for yourself to feel strong and solid in your body.
Sustainable and Healthy Lifestyle
Clean eating is surprisingly sustainable because it is so delicious, satisfying, and makes you feel amazing. Unlike diets that ask you to practice torturous caloric restriction or avoid foods rich in flavour, clean eating is about rewiring your taste buds for life. This means, slow and steadily, you learn how to love clean foods. As previously mentioned, there are also ways to do it that saves time, money and stress. But just like anything good thing in life, it takes commitment and practice that pays off in vibrant health and happiness.