Clean eating is not a fad or a lifestyle diet. It is essentially a way of life that comprises certain facets that include a healthy and nutritious way of eating as well as overall functioning. It is largely practiced to help stay healthy but also to stay happy and contented with what life has to offer rather than be constantly stressed, worried, harrowed, and troubled by everyday living.
Many people mistake clean eating to be a diet where even after they follow the basic principles they do not often see desired results as they should. This is largely because these people are only following the dietary aspect of living a healthy and happy lifestyle rather than focussing on the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects as well. What we are effectively trying to drive home here is that clean eating is just one very essential part of a healthy lifestyle and by no means is it the only way to achieve peace, contentment, and happiness in life.
Clean Eating Principles
Clean eating involves a few key principles that align with the basic principles of healthy eating. These on paper do not sound very difficult or harsh to achieve and the reason for that is that clean eating needs to be a sustainable activity and not a force fit that one cannot maintain after a few weeks or even months.
- You just simply have to delete processed, canned, tinned and the likes out of your diets, kitchens, and pantries in exchange for real whole foods that are freshly cooked. This way of eating does not always recommend what to eat as long as it is convinced that you are eating the most real type.
- Chicken bought fresh is better than eating from a tin. What you get out of a can or a tetra pack is usually coated with enzymes and brines that extend its shelf life. Try to stay away from all of that.
- Like we mentioned above, it’s not only about eating clean. It’s also about living clean. Being able to adapt to a healthier lifestyle by engaging daily in physical exercise of any kind, sleeping well, correctly, and at the right times to give mind and body a breather, managing stress healthily and productively are all good signs of cleaning up your act. Remember to connect with different people offering newer perspectives, talk, laugh, share a meal, go for a walk, or play a game rather than be cooped up in your homes and offices all day.
- Eating green is always the healthier option and a lot has been said about consuming plant-based foods in terms of both physical health and mental wellbeing. Eating a fair share of plant-based proteins, such as beans, lentils, and peas, and high-protein whole grains, like quinoa, barley and buckwheat are all super ways of eating clean and healthy both for the mind and the body.
- Eat to live and don’t live to eat. Eat because you are hungry and to nourish the body rather than just because you are bored, tired, or tempted. Eat for nourishment. Eating regular, balanced meals and healthy, nourishing snacks are always a great idea as long as you are not rushing the eating process. Try to eat as much as you can at home because that’s where the healthiest kind of food is cooked and available at all times. When not at home, be picky and choosy about what you intend to eat rather than picking up junk food along the way.
Why Clean Eating?
Simply put clean eating helps you clean up not just your diet but also your perspective towards life and what it may have in store for you. When you compare the health outcomes of eating whole foods as opposed to eating a highly-processed diet, the results are quite clearly there for all and sundry to gauge for themselves.
Ultra-processed diets are linked with poor health, risk of most common cancers, uncontrolled weight gain, and even early mortality. Eating highly processed foods can also increase the speed with which you eat indicating poor and unnatural digestive problems, the amount you consume because you are stuffing away too much too quickly, and an unhealthy weight gain which is a direct result of the above two points.
A clean eating diet when coupled with a healthy and happy lifestyle also has a direct result in heightened energy, glowing skin, and weight loss.
Common Myths and Facts
Like any other diet or wellness trend, Clean Eating also comes with its fair share of myths and facts. We’ve listed a few below for you because it is important not to be swayed by common hearsay and pick a way of life depending only on the results that it promises to give you.
1. Myth: Only fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy.
This is fundamentally incorrect and a healthy diet can include fresh and frozen produce depending on which region you are based in. Fish is a great example since landlocked places cannot possibly carry out freshwater fishing. Yet eating frozen fish [as long as it is not coated in preservatives and additives] is extremely safe and even healthy.
2. Myth: All processed foods are bad.
Most foods you see at the grocery store have been processed in some way. Processed foods that don’t have a lot of added sugar or sodium can be a part of a healthy diet. Examples include whole-grain bread, plain yogurt, or even chopped mixed nuts.
3. Myth: All foods labeled “natural” are good for you.
Most food manufacturers will stoop to several marketing gimmicks to break across the clutter of competition to ensure that you pick their products over others. The word “natural” usually is subjective and hence can be misleading and tricky. So do learn to read the ingredient list and nutritional labels rather than just believing foods to be natural just because the packaging says so.
4. Myth: If I recognize the ingredients on the label, I have nothing to worry about.
Even if you recognize the ingredients, the food may still have too much sodium, added sugars, and unhealthy fats. None of these are very good examples of proponents of clean eating.
Clean Eating encourages you to review and transform not just what you are eating but also how you are living. It is part of a comprehensive and holistic transformation that deals specifically with your dietary requirements.