Clean Eating Basics
You may have heard people talk about eating a “clean” diet. While there is no specific definition for clean foods, eating clean basics imply sticking with foods that are as close as possible to their natural state. You want to avoid preservatives, coloring and man-made chemicals.
Drinking lots of water aids a clean diet by keeping your system flushed. And for the most part you want to target fruits, vegetables, whole foods (items that have been processed or refined as little as possible and are free from additives or other artificial substances) and a plant-based diet.
The video below offers an excellent overview of eating clean basics. Be sure to watch the video now.
But exactly how do you identify clean foods? When reading food labels, which you should be doing all the time, you want to avoid most foods with more than 5 ingredients.
One-ingredient foods, such as apples, oranges and other fruit in their natural state, are examples of clean foods. And you definitely want to avoid the big 3 added ingredients which cause the most havoc to your health – salt, sugar and dietary fats.
Another tip is to turn away from products that are “made with whole grains”. Instead, go for 100% whole-grain products. Refined grains such as bread, cereal and pasta which are made from white flour should also be avoided. But whole-grain pasta, cereal and bread are considered clean foods.
Generally speaking, if a food item has just one ingredient or is as close to its natural state as possible, it qualifies for clean eating. This means no more cans of soup or candy bars, fried chicken and french fries. Fresh poultry, seafood and meat are usually fine, as long as you take it easy on the creams or sauces.
Clean Eating Basics
Follow these tips for spotting clean foods:
1. If there are more than 5 ingredients, look for an alternative.
2. If the food you are thinking about purchasing is in a package, it has been processed to some point.
3. If you read a food label and there are ingredients with names that you cannot pronounce, put it back on the shelf.
4. Most foods with organic labels are cleaner than other options.
5. Avoid trans fats, monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, other sugars, sodium and other salts, and white flour.
6. If you see the following ingredients, you are looking at extremely processed foods – corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, cane sugar, sodium, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
7. And if you purchase any of the following Dirty Dozen foods, choose organic whenever you can, and wash thoroughly before eating.
The Dirty Dozen foods are so named by the Environmental Working Group because they are extremely high in man-made chemicals and pesticides. When grown in the traditional manner, these 12 foods tested positive for anywhere from 47 to 67 different chemicals.
Sweet bell peppers
Kale, spinach and collard greens
Now that you know how to spot clean foods, we will next take a look at the best reasons for steering clear of processed foods, and sticking to clean eating basics. This will be the subject of an upcoming post. Be sure to check back.