Beginners Guide to Clean Eating

clean strawberries

In the effort to eat healthy and get fit, many people turn to restrictive diets in hopes of dropping pounds. However, fad diets get old and can be hard to stick with. A better option is to consider a whole new way of eating; in essence, a lifestyle change. That’s what makes the concept of clean eating so appealing. It’s relatively straightforward: eat unprocessed, whole foods and avoid toxins and artificial ingredients. You’re sure to feel good about what you’re putting in to your body and will likely see many health improvements. Here’s what beginners need to know about clean eating.

What to Avoid

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines on what should be avoided in a clean-eating lifestyle. Don’t feel that you have to follow these rules too strictly. As with anything in life, if it’s strictly forbidden you may want it all the more! It’s OK to have a glass of wine once in a while, just try to avoid the following items more often than not.

Processed and refined foods are not allowed in a clean-eating regimen. You’ll be cutting additives, trans fats, and refined sugars and flours from your diet. You’ll want to eat as naturally as possible, so that means also cutting out foods with artificial ingredients and preservatives. This includes sodas and fruit juices, which often are loaded with artificial sweeteners. Alcohol is considered a toxin, so that should be cut, too.

As stated before, these are general guidelines. You don’t need to beat yourself up for consuming the “wrong” kind of food. Aim to avoid these foods 80 percent to 90 percent of the time, and you’ll be doing fine!


What to Eat

You know what you can’t have, but what’s OK to eat and drink? Feel free to eat as many vegetables as you want, making sure to cover the rainbow of colors out there. Sautéing them in olive oil is a great way to prepare your vegetables. Fruits are great, too – in moderation. Some modern-day fruits tend to be larger and more sugary due to hybridization.

Enjoy high-quality meats, preferably from grass-fed animals. If that’s not possible, aim for organic or free-range meats. Too expensive? Another option is to simply eat less meat, or go ahead and buy lower-cost options. Make sure that they are leaner cuts of meat, such as a pork tenderloin, because any chemicals that are used tend to accumulate in fatty tissue.

Make sure to consume food with plenty of unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Get these from fish, especially salmon – just be sure the salmon is wild-caught and not farm-raised. Nuts and seeds, avocados, eggs, olive and other oils, and dairy products are also good ways to get good fats.

Your drink of choice on a clean-eating plan is water, and lots of it. Drinks that are sugary and artificially flavored are verboten. Feel free to flavor you water with a squeeze of lemon or lime, or toss in a sprig of mint. If you drink coffee or tea, make sure you only have it in the morning since it takes a while for caffeine to work its way out of your system.

What can you expect to get out clean eating? Cutting out processed and refined foods will make you generally feel better, improve your energy levels and help you maintain a healthy weight. You’ll benefit from a strengthened immune system, mental sharpness and a better night’s sleep. Learn more about clean and healthy eating from sites such as WebMD or Prevention, and see how clean eating can improve your health and your quality of life.


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