Clean” or “Living the Clean Life” is a new type of meal plan on the rise. It has recently gained in popularity,
but it’s not new to the scene. Eating
Clean was actually a food movement that started in 1960 when people avoided all
processed foods for moral and ethical reasons. Unlike other diets that eliminate entire food groups or
strictly limit your food choices, this diet is more of a healthy lifestyle
change rather than a diet at all.
This eating plan includes choosing whole and natural foods, shies away
from processed and refined foods, and promotes regular physical activity. The basic principles of the Diet are as
Principles 1 & 2: Avoid
all processed foods & choose unrefined foods when possible.
When making food choices choose whole fruits and
vegetables in their natural state; lean meat, fish, and poultry; fresh bean and
legumes, low fat dairy products, and whole grains from a variety of food
sources. You should try to
eliminate all prepared and frozen meals, desserts, and sides, as well as boxed
and canned foods. Low fat dairy
products, such as low-fat yogurt, are preferred over non fat because these are
more processed and may contain fillers.
Swap out white bread and flour for whole wheat and whole grain flour,
and swap out sugar for honey or agave nectar.
Principle 3: Watch out for
fat, calories, sodium, and sugar.
Ever noticed when buying fresh fruits,
vegetables, and meats, there are no food labels or ingredients list? This is because there are no other
mystery ingredients, just the food itself. Remember Fresh is best! Also, fresh foods will be lower in calories, sodium, and
sugar when compared to processed foods.
When fresh is not an option, you should always read food labels and
ingredient list. Watch out for
fat, calories, sodium, and sugar, and avoid the following ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, artificial
sweeteners, margarines, trans fats, artificial colors and flavors, salt, sugar,
corn syrup, and BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated
Principle 4: Eat six small
meals per day
This should include breakfast, lunch, and dinner
along with 2-3 snacks. Each meal
and snacks should range from 200-400 calories. Eating small portions often will help increase metabolism, stabilize blood sugars, and prevents overeating
Principle 5: Exercise
daily or at least five times per week
Regular exercise should be completed 5-6 times
per week. This will not only help
aid in weigh loss and increase muscle strength, but it will also help you sleep
better, boost your mood and immune system, and curb your appetite. A study done by the Framingham Heart study
showed that moderately active men increased their life expectancy by 1.3 years
as women 1.5 years, in comparison to sedentary men and women.
I know what you are thinking, this
sounds like a lot of work?! Yes,
it will involve a lot of planning, but it will pay off in the end. Grocery shopping will need to be done
weekly and meal planning and grocery list should be completed before you get to
the store. When shopping, start
off in the fresh produce. Supply
yourself with fruit and veggies for each meal as well as snacks. Next make your way to the meats. Choose fresh meats that have not been
prepared in any way and not seasoned.
Most of your shopping should be done on the parameters of the store, and
lastly through the isles because this is where most processed foods are. Remember, the fresher the better, then
frozen (no additives or sauces), then canned. Sounds hard?
Time consuming? Not
really! Think of it this way: For meal one I will have a baked sweet
potato as my starch, steamed fresh asparagus for my vegetable and fresh tilapia
as my protein. Altogether, this
may take 15 minutes to prepare! And
Remember, make it easy, any improvement is better than none. The general rule is to be 80% clean and
the other 20% for flexibility!
Estelle L. Benoit, RD, LDN
Source: Today’s Dietitian
Source: Today’s Dietitian