By Rennie Aranda, Skinny Gene Nutritionist
Clean eating has been a recent major movement amongst people who want to feel good about what they put into their bodies. The main principle of eating clean is replace processed foods with wholesome, fresh, and natural foods. For example, instead of a banana nut muffin, eat a banana and a handful of nuts. Clean eating may be a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you have a lot of changes to make. Try to make little changes every day and don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes. It is what you do the majority of the time that counts.
Here are 5 steps to get you started on eating clean and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
1. Let the ingredients guide you. The first thing a clean eater looks at is the ingredient list of the product they are interested in buying. Reading the list is the only way to really know what is in your food and help you choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. A good rule of thumb is to look for the number of ingredients (the fewer the better) and if they are all “real” and recognizable ingredients—a list that practically reads like a recipe you could recreate in your own kitchen.
2.Eat lots of plants. Eat mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine. The idea is to stay away from anything that has been altered in any way (by food corporations).
3. Enjoy whole grains. Eat grains that are still complete and haven’t been broken down. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of all the grains you eat are whole grains. They are good sources of complex carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals. They’ve also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems.
4. Eat a healthy breakfast. Eating a nutrient-rich morning meal shortly after getting out of bed literally wakes up your metabolism. For example, try an oatmeal with almonds and berries or a spinach and feta omelet with a slice of whole grain toast.
5. Do it yourself. One aspect of clean eating is replacing packaged foods with homemade versions. These days, with the internet at our fingertips, you can find a clean recipe for just about anything. For example, for a stir-fry, instead of buying a pre-made sauce, loaded with sodium, sugar, and preservatives, whisk together a little brown rice vinegar, fresh squeezed citrus juice, minced garlic, and fresh grated ginger.
Images courtesy of Marianna Lyubskaya