Now that we are settling into the New Year, you have probably spent some time reflecting on your life – from career to family to health and everything in between. Maybe you made some resolutions and are determined to make positive changes. If any of these resolutions or changes are related to becoming healthier or dropping a few pounds, you may consider trying to eat CLEAN. The fact that juicing and cleansing are becoming daily conversation pieces shows that we’re all looking for a way to refresh and detoxify. My opinion is that eating CLEAN is all you need to feel better, get healthier, and shed some weight.
Eating CLEAN means eating what nature intended – foods in their natural state – while avoiding processed and refined foods. Ideally, these foods should have only 1–2 ingredients, but more a more loose way of doing this would be to make sure all ingredients are real food ingredients with no preservatives or chemicals (no item listed that you can’t identify or pronounce).
• Plenty of fruits and vegetables
• Lean protein – seafood, poultry, lean cuts of pork and beef, eggs/egg whites, soy, organic fat-free/low-fat milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese
• Complex carbs — beans/legumes, whole grains – quinoa, couscous, barley, bulgur, oatmeal, brown rice, starchy vegetables – popcorn, corn, peas, sweet potato/yam, pumpkin, winter squash, etc.
• Fats (unsaturated) – avocado, oils (olive, canola, peanut, etc), nuts/nut butters, seeds
• WATER – or water-based beverages with no artificial sweeteners like Hint water, club soda, flavored seltzer, coffee, and tea
DO NOT INCLUDE:
• Processed meats and cheeses
• Refined grains/white flour
• Sugar and sweets
• Fatty meats, fried foods, “junk” food/snacks
• Sugary beverages like juices, sodas, and sports drinks
How to start:
• Rid your house/pantry of all processed and refined foods
• Plan meals and snacks in advance
• Shop in the perimeter of the supermarket or visit a natural food market
• Drink 64 ounces of water each day
• Snack on fruit, nuts, seeds, or air-popped popcorn
• Use herbs and spices for added flavor
• Buy organic produce– at least for those foods with the highest levels of pesticides (the “Dirty Dozen” — http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/)
• Choose grass-fed beef, wild fish, and free-range chicken whenever possible
If this all seems a bit overwhelming, start with baby steps. Perhaps you start by snacking on fruit instead of chips, or drinking water vs. soda. Whatever it is, take the first step to better health and more energy!