You've probably heard of clean eating before, but it may not be exactly what it entails or how to get started. In my opinion, eating clean should mean that you keep your food simple. It means focusing on choosing nutrient-dense foods in their natural state (or as close to it as you can), rather than eating highly processed foods with added chemicals and preservatives.
Follow these two simple steps to get started on cleaning up your diet.
1.MAKE IT A CONSISTENT HABIT TO READ FOOD LABELS
DO: Get in the habit of reading nutrition labels on the back of everything your purchase very thoroughly. Many products that are generally perceived as healthy may contain unnecessary ingredients. Chef and author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook, Devin Alexander states “The thought of reading every single label might sound tedious, but it’s so necessary and I’ve found an extremely common brand of tea that puts modified cornstarch in their tea bags, and I’ve found lime-and-salt microwave popcorn that’s less healthy than what you’d get in the cinemas.”
DON’T: Buy anything that lists ingredients you can’t pronounce. The shorter the list of ingredients the better. “Try to derive most of your diet from foods that don’t require labels,” says Alexander.
2.RE-EVALUATE THE PROCESS YOU TAKE WHEN WANTING TO CLEAN UP YOUR FOOD
DO: Cut down as much as you can on highly-processed foods. This is one of the first (and most important) steps to eating clean. “It’s important to reduce, not necessarily eliminate, your intake of processed foods that are loaded with chemicals, preservatives and dyes, as well as foods high in sugar and poor-quality oils,” says Jared Koch, nutritional consultant and founder of Clean Plates.
DON’T: Discount all processed foods. For instance, some foods, like bagged spinach and pre-cut vegetables are minimally processed simply for convenience, and other foods are processed to enhance nutritional value, such as added-fibre breakfast cereal and milk that’s fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
Reading the nutrition label should provide a good overview of how heavily processed the product actually is.