If you're looking to lose a few pounds or gain more energy, and want to start eating clean to get healthy, then congrats! Your life and nutrition plan are about to become less stressful, not more complicated like dieting can seem. To start eating clean, all you need to do is simplify your grocery trips. You’ll save money, probably be happier, have healthier looking skin, and maybe even lose a few pounds too. Here are 7 ways to start eating clean.
1. Pick Quality Proteins
If you’re a carnivore, you need to first start eating clean by choosing lean, organic and hormone-free sources of meat, eggs, and wild-caught fish. Limit your dairy consumption to organic Greek yogurt and organic kefir due to their valuable probiotic content. All other dairy needs to be avoided as it is very allergenic, can cause weight gain and skin problems. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, choose fresh beans instead of canned, organic nuts and seeds, and minimally processed whole foods such as organic hemp protein powder for smoothies.
2. Buy Smart Starches
Instead of buying boxed rice and canned foods, switch to whole foods like sweet potatoes and winter squash, and choose fresh items instead of the canned alternative. Food that is preserved on a shelf is devoid of the large amounts of nutrients and has added salt and preservatives. Keep it simple and shop in the produce aisle. Don’t buy breads or any unnecessary items that contain additives, such as granola bars. Life does go on without those items.
3. Fall in Love with the Produce Section
The base of your diet needs to come from this part of the store. Low-sugar fruits like berries, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash are some of the best sources of low-glycemic carbohydrates which fill you up an and don’t cause a rise in blood sugar. Leafy greens and green vegetables should become your go-to foods at all meals. Eating “green” seems to be more popular now than ever, and recipes from kale chips to green smoothies are everywhere right now. Get on board and green up your diet too.
4. Get Sexy with Spices
The best way to amp up any meal is to spice it up! Choose as many as you like from the spice department, especially herbs, which have renowned healing properties and are delicious. These salt-free ingredients can completely change a meal’s flavor and taste. Learn to love this part of your store and your taste buds and body will thank you! Try dressing your salads with a mix of lemon juice, parsley, apple cider vinegar and cracked black pepper. This dressing will change your opinion that spices are boring, and bottled dressings will become something of your past.
5. Pick Your Fats Wisely
Choose raw plant-based fats like avocados, raw or unrefined organic coconut oil, cold first-pressed olive oil, and high fiber raw nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds in small amounts. All of these include necessary fatty acids that your body and brain need. Don't skimp on fat or your metabolism and mood will suffer. Just keep portions in check and don’t make these the base of your meals; you need fat in your diet to satisfy you, keep your insulin down, and prevent hunger spikes. Just choose the right ones -- not bottled dressings or overly heated, processed ones.
6. Get Rid of Artificial Flavors and Sugars
Eating clean is about simplifying things, so the best place to start is to get rid of anything flavored or with added sugar, such as almond milk. Almond milk doesn't have to be made fresh to be considered clean, though it is delicious that way. To make a smarter choice, buy unsweetened vanilla which has no added sugar. Also, don’t buy anything with artificial sweeteners. Just because something says sugar-free doesn't mean it is a “clean” product. Artificial sweeteners need to be one of the first things to go. Choose natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, raw agave or stevia. Evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup and anything else that ends in syrup or juice is merely less refined sugar and it is not a clean product. Natural sweeteners are better tasting and better for your body.
7. Sip Smart
You don’t have to give up your morning cup of coffee and swear off caffeine, but you should limit the amount you drink. One trick is to make half caf, half decaf and brew it in the same pot. You won’t have to decrease the amount you’re drinking and you won’t have the unnecessary drop in caffeine levels later in the day. Coffee has a great deal of antioxidants that are often overlooked, unfortunately. Try adding in almond milk as your creamer or stevia instead of your usual cream and sugar or artificial sweeteners. The remainder of your day, sip smart with water, green tea and flavor them with stevia and lemon to enhance their taste without calories. Lemons have natural cleansing abilities that will enhance your clean eating attempts even further.
Eating clean is as simple as keeping your body clean. Before you eat, remember that. Without processed salt, sugars, chemicals, fats and starches your body can do amazing things and work exactly how it was meant to - for you, not against you. What’s your favorite tip for eating clean?