You must have heard of celebrities like Katy Perry and Gwyneth Paltrow talk about clean eating. It has also led to a new clean eating trend sweep across social media and the US as a whole. Or maybe you saw a new cafe down the street which claims to have a complete clean eating experience. So, what exactly is clean eating, and why is it suddenly so important? The sudden rise in popularity for fitness, health and weight consciousness has led to the fresh eating trend gaining momentum across the country. So, this time around, let us take a look at what clean eating is, why it is essential, and create the all-time best clean eating food list to help you get started!
What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is essentially a straightforward concept that requires you to be mindful of what you eat rather than how much you eat. Most diets and weight loss programs revolve around ingesting less, counting calories and trying to cut back on your eating in general. However, clean eating focuses on being mindful regarding your food’s journey by following it from its origin to your plate. Simply put, clean eating revolves around primarily eating whole or ‘real’ foods, which are either wholly unprocessed or minimally processed. Therefore, clean eating food items are seldom refined, handled, or processed, making them as natural as possible. Since modern food production techniques meddle with almost everything we buy, it is challenging to find truly pure and natural food items nowadays. However, clean eating tries to rise to the occasion by picking out food items that are minimally processed and making them a part of our staple diet. But why exactly do we need clean eating?
What is Processed Food, and Why is it Bad?
Processing includes the addition of any kind and also any change made to the original form of the food. Therefore, foods that contain a lot of added sugar, salt or artificial flavoring comes under processed food. Furthermore, the addition of preservatives to make food last longer also makes natural food processed. Even if companies add synthetic supplements and vitamins to enrich food, it becomes processed. Furthermore, changes such as removal of bran from grains, mashing fruits to make sauces or jams, or even buying stir-fried veggies come under the processing. A new kind of processing that is gaining popularity now is adding components manufactured in labs to everyday foods.
Processing might help in removing toxins or bacteria, but it might also contain GMOs which have been linked to various ailments. Studies have found that over-processed food leads to cancer and infertility. Also, very highly processed foods tend to be stripped of the natural nutrients needed for maintaining health.
Why You Need a Clean Eating Food List
Eating clean is more natural when everything in your home from your cupboards to your freezer is filled with fresh foods. Therefore, it is always better to have a stock of clean eating foodstuff at home. It isn’t easy to stick to such a diet, and temptation is a huge issue while you try to stay clean. So, get rid of any unnecessary temptation by stocking up on the right kind of food at home. Also, sticking to a clean eating diet plan requires a lot of planning, because you need to find the right type of stores to buy natural foodstuff from. While eating clean, whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables are your go-to choices. You also need to find affordable, minimally processed foods with healthy ingredients. Let us now take a look at how to choose the best clean eating food list.
Clean Eating Tips
1. Include more vegetables and fruits in your diet
2. Limit processed foods as much as you can
3. Read labels of everything you buy to make sure you don’t take in anything you don’t want to
4. Stop opting for refined carbs
5. Avoid vegetable oils, margarine, and spreads
Best Clean Eating Food List
Though fruits contain natural sugars, they are also rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Therefore, the sugar content is something you don’t need to worry about as fruits are packed with beneficial nutrients. However, make sure you check labels for added sugars and try to avoid canned and dried fruits whenever possible. Also, fruit juice works, but only if it 100%
juice. Even then though the juice lacks fiber found in whole fruits, therefore try to eat whole fruits as much as possible.
These must be the building block of your clean eating food list and what you base all your clean recipes on. Most fresh veggies contain a lot of minerals, fibers, and vitamins. While canned veggies may be healthy, make sure you check the label to prevent buying ones with added salt. Avoid veggie chips and veggie pasta as they contain vegetable dust and not natural vegetables.
Whole grains are the best for you to take in the carbs that your body needs for its daily dose of fiber and nutrition. Whole grains, including brown rice, quinoa, oats, farro, millet, and barley, come unprocessed and are very clean. Opt for whole-wheat pasta, pizza doughs, and bread as they tend to contain the fewest number of additions.
Always go for plain yogurt rather than opting for vanilla and fruit-flavored yogurts. Most of these tend to be high in added sugar and hence you should stay clear of them. Furthermore use milk and cheese as natural ingredients while making fancier food items such as pizza and Mac Cheese. If you want dairy substitutes, go for unsweetened varieties.
Clean meat comes with protein, iron, collagen and vitamin B12. Stick to clean meat rather than opting for bologna, sausages, salami and pepperoni. Most processed meat is high in sodium, artificial colors and preservatives. In case you like seafood, opt for fish and shellfish as they contain a lot of nutrients that are great for your heart. If you are a vegetarian, go for plant-based sources such as nuts, beans and seeds.
While you do have the option of cutting all sugar out of your diet to be extra clean, you can also keep sugar in, and avoid artificial sugars. For instance, choose fruit-based desserts that do not use refined flour to eat clean desserts. Make treats at home using less sugar, whole grains and fresh fruits.
Most drinks contain large amounts of added sugar, and so you must steer clear of sodas, artificially flavored drinks and sweetened teas. Try to make do with water and 100% fresh juice as much as you can. Also, if you want to have a rigorous clean diet, you will have to cut out alcohol from your diet.
Choosing minimally processed, natural and real foods will help you get maximal nutritional benefits. Furthermore, selecting food based on their ethical production and sustainable manufacturing is also an aspect of clean eating. Use this guide to pick out the best clean eating food list to start eating healthy from today onwards!