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Clean Eating, What’s it All About?

There has been a lot of chatter about clean eating and when you ask the omniscient Google, the search engine kicks out more than 61 million responses. In responding to my clients’ inquiries, I try to rely on the “keep it simple” mantra—

Clean eating is founded on the concept of being mindful of the route food travels from its point of origin to your plate. How has the food been processed, if at all, is the food enhanced with any added ingredients or supplements, how close is the food to its original form? The clean eating concept focuses on the minimalist approach to food processing—no additives, enhancers, shelf-life extenders, or any other additions or substitutions that can change the foods you ingest. Additionally, you will also want to choose foods with limited and direct travel times from field to table. In opting for the well-being lifestyle, people may choose to pursue clean eating as a goal.

Clean eating may be defined in numerous ways by other dietitians, healthcare professionals, or magazines. For this post, we’ll stick with the above definition and look at how some key principles of clean eating can be included in your diet on an ongoing basis.

Protein, Carbs & Fat:

Include protein, carbohydrates and fat in your meals throughout the day. Although carbs fuel you with energy, keep in mind that typically you do not want to go overboard on carbs. Choose whole grain carbs with minimal refining such as brown rice, whole-grain flours or quinoa. Jumpstart the day with protein foods for breakfast such as a burrito with scrambled or hard cooked eggs and black beans, peanut or almond butter on toast, Greek-style yogurt, fruit and chopped nuts. Protein foods will help you feel full longer and can aid in curbing your appetite.

Unrefined Choices:

Read product labels and choose foods that are unrefined. This includes brown rice and grains such as millet, amaranth, and wheat berries. Sugars can also fall into this category —typically unrefined sugars are not white and may be labeled as “raw.” Unrefined sugars are higher in potassium, calcium and iron, which can be lost when sugar is refined. Choices on the unrefined sugar shelf include honey, maple syrup, dehydrated sugar cane juice, coconut sugar, molasses, brown rice syrup or date sugar, and sucanat. Sucanat is made from cane sugar juice that is heated, yet the molasses is not removed in processing. It is light brown in color and has a rich molasses flavor.

Boost Fruits and Veggies:

Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Opt for fresh or minimally processed items. For example, choose an orange instead of orange juice; if juice is your choice, read the label to make sure it is indeed juice and not orange drink, and the beverage does not include high-fructose corn syrup.

Add or increase beans and legumes in your meals. They can be served as is, paired with grains, or combined with other ingredients to make items such as hummus or bean “burger” patties.

Drink Up:

Make sure you drink plenty of liquids. Water is the number one choice; it is calorie and sugar free. Other beverage choices can include drinks that are low or sugar free, sans high-fructose corn syrup, and free of artificial coloring or additives. Each day drink eight to ten 8-oz. glasses of liquids to keep you hydrated and aid in digestion.

These are a few of the ways you can clean up your act. It is not hard, and these suggestions are pretty easy ways to get on board with clean eating.

Take Away: It’s all about making wise choices for good health. Clean eating is simply another way to embrace the well-being lifestyle.

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