The concept of clean eating is quite simple. It involves choosing a diet that is free of processed foods and with a long list of additives. A general rule of thumb is that if your grandparents wouldn’t recognise a particular food or ingredients in a food then don’t eat it.
What are processed foods?
Processed foods are foods that have been changed in form or taste from their natural state. A certain level of processing is required in order to make some foods safe i.e. heating milk in order to kill of potentially harmful bacteria which is called pasteurization, however foods that have been overly processed are stripped of their health providing nutrients. Some manufacturers will supplement some of these “lost” nutrients, however they are never as good as the nutrients naturally found in food.
A common preservative used by food manufacturers is sodium (or salt), as this adds flavour to foods and also means that foods have a longer shelf life. Over the past decade our daily sodium intake has sky rocketed due to this common practice and our health has declined as a result.
Clean eating involves choosing foods that have been minimally processed, and avoiding foods that are high in additives and preservatives. A good backbone to a clean eating diet is to include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. Add to this wholegrain breads and cereals, and fresh protein sources and you are 90% there.
Examples of clean foods…
– Fresh fruit and vegetables
– Nuts and seeds
– Dairy milk and natural yoghurt
– Plain soy and almond milk
– Beans and legumes (these are ok from a can)
– Wholegrain breads (preferably from a bakery)
– Rice and pasta
– Eggs and limited olive and nut oils
– Herbs and spices
By including lots of the above foods then your diet will be clean and nutritious. It will also be relatively low in salt and sugar, two nutrients that we can begin to crave when eating too much. By choosing mainly fresh foods our bodies will actually start to crave these foods as they provide nourishment. It’s also a great way to lose and maintain a healthy weight.