Unlike other healthy eating plans, clean eating isn’t a diet but a way of life. Yes, changing your attitude and eating more of the good stuff is providing great results for the mind, body and soul.
Whatever your goals, the basic principles of clean eating remain the same. With clean eating, you say “no” to unhealthy, processed foods and a big, fat “yes” to whole, natural, and healthy ingredients.
Eating cleaner has been linked to a long list of health benefits, including enhanced cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, increased mental wellbeing, better sleep quality, and improved skin and hair health. Clean eating has also been found to have a profound effect on our energy levels as Livestrong details:
“A healthy diet that properly nourishes your body helps you feel energetic and productive. Several nutrients, including the B-complex vitamins and iron, help your cells access fuel so that they can function properly.
Clean eating also helps regulate your blood sugar, helping you avoid fatigue-inducing blood sugar spikes, which can occur after you eat processed carbohydrates, such as sweets or refined grains.”
Ready to feel the benefits mentioned above for yourself? Here’s six ways to clean up your act to get started.
1. Eat more ‘real’ foods
Fresh vegetables and fruits are staple parts of the clean eating regime. Each is packed with a bevy of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and plant compounds. This high concentration of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of illness, with cancer and heart disease just two of the conditions you’re less likely to develop as a result.
When clean eating, fruits, and vegetables are best consumed fresh and raw, with organic produce favoured above all else.
2. Treat packaged foods with care
By educating yourself on how to read food labels properly, you can make sure every ingredient you use and eat is truly wholesome. Read labels on all packaged items, including nuts and meats, to ensure there are no questionable contents.
3. Cut the refined carbs
Not all carbs were created equal. Refined carbs differ vastly in terms of nutrition when compared to the healthy, complex carbohydrates found in wholegrain foods. Refined carbs can increase the risk of many health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Refined carbs (including the processed sugars and refined grains found in white bread, pasta, and rice) may give you a quick energy boost, but this sugar spike will quickly lead to a lull.
They also contain empty calories and will have been stripped of the fibre, vitamins, and minerals that make all foods worth eating.
Read more about the difference between refined carbs and healthy complex carbs, and discover exactly how to identify them here.
4. Look out for added salt and sugar
Seemingly healthy foods like yogurt and tomato sauce contain sweeteners, so again reading the food labels correctly will help to lower your intake of added salt and sugar. Want a flavour punch without these additions? Experiment with using herbs and spices instead.
5. Make more ethical choices
Choosing food from ethically raised animals isn’t just great for your conscience and the planet, it’s great for your health too. Organic meat is an investment in a higher standard of animal welfare, with livestock reared the organic way happier, healthier, and more nourished. Organic meat also contains less additives, preservatives, and chemicals, and is completely traceable.
Going down the path of a vegan or vegetarian diet is another option to consider and there are some fabulous meat-free dishes to try. Here are our top healthy plant based recipes.