What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a simple diet approach to eating nutritious and whole foods and dodging processed foods. Clean eating is not just a diet. It is also a way of living.
You will eat foods in their natural state, without chemicals, and packed with nutrients – like fruits, veggies, protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. And you will completely avoid processed or refined grains, salty and sugary foods, foods with preservatives and additives, and unhealthy fats and proteins.
Follow this eating habit repeatedly and cleanse your system. It will have a positive effect on your mind and body.
Clean Eating Benefits
Here’s why you should practice eating clean:
- Get an overload of dietary fiber (good carbs), lean protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals.
- No more frantically counting calories.
- Improve your gut function.
- Alleviate constipation.
- Strengthen your immunity.
- You will feel revived and energetic.
- Weight loss.
- Your mental stress levels will reduce.
- Your mind will be calm.
- No bloating.
- You will be proactive at whatever you do.
- Improve the health of your skin, hair, and nails.
- Reduced risk of various lifestyle-related diseases.
- You will sleep better.
Clean Eating Strategies That Work
1. Consume Unprocessed Whole Grains
Compared with refined grains, whole grains are naturally richer in dietary fiber, containing ∼80% more dietary fiber than refined grains. Hence, it is best to eat nutritious, unprocessed whole grains as they help to decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer and aid weight loss.
Consume 3 servings (1 serving = 16 g) of whole grains per day. Include oats, red rice, quinoa, brown rice, wheat, barley, black rice, and corn in your diet.
2. Consume Lean Protein
Lean proteins like wild-caught fish, mushrooms, free-range eggs, skinless chicken breast, and lentils are ideal.
Proteins are the building blocks, and you must eat a serving of protein with every meal. Also, proteins from plant and animal sources will prevent muscle loss.
3. Include Healthy Fats
Healthy fats like nuts, melon seeds, avocado, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of healthy fats. You may also add homemade nut butter and virgin olive oil and rice bran oil for cooking.
Healthy fats are chiefly unsaturated fats that help decrease inflammation in the body. And that, in turn, helps lessen inflammation-induced obesity.
4. Consume Fruits And Veggies
The WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recommend eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Eating fruits and veggies has also been linked with reduced weight and lesser health problems.
So, start consuming at least 5 servings of mixed veggies and 3 servings of 3 different fruits per day.
5. Limit Added Sugar Consumption
Limiting added sugar in several processed and packaged foods will take care of many health issues like diabetes, reduced brain function, non-alcoholic fatty liver, obesity, and a few cancers.
While you are supposed to eat no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, bad food habits can make you eat as many as 25 teaspoons of sugar per day! Avoid foods (including sauces and salad dressings) that contain ingredients like fructose, corn syrup, high fructose, dextrose, concentrated fruit juice, molasses, invert sugar, etc..
6. Read The Label
Always read the label. Not to see the calories but to see what ingredients are being thrown into the canned or packaged food that you are picking to eat. You will find that most of these foods are packed with preservatives and additives that are possibly toxic to your health in the long run.
7. Avoid All Kinds Of Processed Foods
Processed foods like frozen foods, instant noodles, sausage, salami, and ready-to-eat foods are a strict no-no. You should also bypass processed foods like packaged milk, readymade flatbreads/pita bread, baby spinach, chopped veggies, yogurt, cheese, and whole wheat pasta.
Maximum processed foods are low in nutrients and filled with chemicals and preservatives.
8. Shop Along The Perimeter
The margin of any supermarket is where you get all the whole grains, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. If you want to eat clean but get easily attracted to packaged food, it is best to avoid moving around those shelves until you develop clean eating as your new lifestyle.
9. More Than 10 Ingredients, Put It Back!
The more the number of ingredients in a food, the more harmful it is. Trust you me! Processed foods have a number of ingredients to enhance their shelf life, increase their taste, and stop them from getting spoiled.
So, while seeing the label, if you find more than 10 ingredients, it is best to put it back and choose for a substitute that has a lesser number of ingredients. Eat whole and pure foods.
10. Take Care Of The Environment
By eating more plant-based foods, decreasing meat intake, and bypassing processed foods, you will help reduce the carbon print. You will help decrease the use of herbicides and pesticides, decrease the practice of injecting hormones into fish and other meats and reduce the level of air, water, and soil pollution.
Can Clean Eating Help in Losing Weight?
Yes, you will lose weight if you eat clean. Because you will eat:
- a lot of dietary fiber from whole grains, fruits, veggies, and nuts
- lean proteins that will help you build muscle and increase your metabolism
- healthy fats that will help match the omega-6 and omega-3 ratio and reduce inflammation and stress in your body.
You will also avoid a lot of foods that have more unknown calories (like added sugar) and salt (causes water retention in the body), which will help in weight loss even if you don’t work out regularly.
Clean Eating Grocery List
Foods To Eat
- Veggies – Broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, sweet potato, carrot, beetroot, radish, radish greens, kale, chard, beet greens, scallions, lettuce, cabbage, bell peppers, cucumber, zucchini, tomato, arugula, ginger, garlic, fennel, celery, asparagus, onion, Brussels sprouts, and peas.
- Fruits – Apple, blackberries, strawberries, apple, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, plum, peach, avocado, kiwi, apricot, watermelon, honeydew melons, raspberries, papaya, banana, and pineapple.
- Non-Dairy Milk – Almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and rice milk.
- Animal Protein – Whole eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna, trout, mackerel, shrimp, clam, mussels, skinless chicken breast, and lean cuts of beef and pork.
- Plant Protein – Mushroom, dried lentils, tofu, edamame, soybeans, quinoa, mixed nuts, nut butter, navy beans, hummus, and soba noodles.
- Whole Grains – Quinoa, whole barley, wheat, oat bran, buckwheat, Ezekiel bread, wild rice, brown rice, red rice, and black rice.
- Fats And Oils – Tahini, almond butter, olive oil, flax seed oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, grapeseed oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower butter, and cashew butter.
- Nuts And Seeds – Walnut, almond, chia, macadamia, pistachio, hazelnuts, pepita, flax seeds, and melon seeds.
- Natural Sweeteners – Maple syrup, agave nectar, organic honey, and palm sugar.
- Beverages – Water, coconut water, freshly pressed juices, and green tea/oolong tea.
- Herbs And Spices – Cilantro, dill, sage, rosemary, bay leaf, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cumin, coriander, parsley, nutmeg, mustard, paprika, chili powder, and Himalayan pink salt.
- Others – Apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
Foods To Avoid
- Whole wheat pasta
- Packaged drinks
- Carbonated beverages
- Diet soda
- Packaged ready-to-eat foods
- Frozen foods
- Fried chicken
- Packaged chopped veggies
Is Clean Eating Backed By Science?
No, the advantages of clean eating are not backed by science.
Yes, eating veggies, fruits, and other whole foods will help you lose weight and decrease the risk of various diseases. But many scientists think that the concept of clean eating should be linked to “healthy eating” and not “eating pure foods” or “avoiding dirty foods.”
Many others consider that the concept of clean eating may give rise to eating disorders.
- Treat clean eating as “healthy eating” and incorporate all food groups in your diet to get balanced nutrition.
- Do not get controlled with eating only organic, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free foods. The more you treat food as your opponent, the worse it becomes.
- Do not let clean eating make you zealous or depressed if you couldn’t stick to it.
Clean eating is a healthy eating and lifestyle theory that we support you to take up. But, with it comes to the responsibility of eating mindfully. Choose good food, local fruits, and veggies, and avoid trans fats, and you will be all good. Today’s clean eating idea might get wiped away by a new nutrition revolution tomorrow. So, try and see if clean eating is something that you really enjoy and if it works for you.