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Why Clean Eating?

What is clean eating, anyway?

I know it’s kind of a buzzword these days, so some people ignore it or say it’s hippie talk or whatever. But in reality, clean eating simply means consuming real foods in as close to their whole form as possible. The processed foods of the standard American diet (SAD) are doing no one good, fast. Obesity rates are at an all-time high. Nearly 60% of Americans on prescription drugs!  Our health is in a downward death spiral. There is evidence that suggests the increase in food intolerances, allergies, and more are all related to our poor diets. We are overfed and malnourished, and it has to stop.

How do I eat clean?

The simplest way? Stop buying anything in a package or premade. Shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store, where the freshest foods are. The aisles, in general, are full of highly-processed foods with a staggering number of ingredients. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, beans, whole grains, etc.

In reality, we don’t all want to spend hours each day preparing our food, so we need to compromise. Some premade foods are just fine. You can assume foods with more than about 5-10 ingredients should be avoided (in general.) Sometimes the extra ingredients are seasonings, for example; or, if you eat gluten-free, there are often a number of grains and starches used in place of wheat to create similar textures.

Organic foods are best, but can be cost prohibitive. In these cases, I recommend following the rules of buying the clean 15 conventionally, but the dirty dozen organically as often as possible. (Some fruits and veggies naturally do not need many chemicals to be easily grown, so have little to no pesticide residues when grown conventionally.) Grassfed and pastured meats are best. Wild caught fish and shrimp are actually greatly different from farmed, so it is very important to buy those instead. Farmed fish are actually fed so poorly that they are deficient in the omega’s we are seeking when we consume them!

I always recommend going gluten free or even grain free, if only for a short while to see how it makes you feel.

Dairy can also be avoided as a trial. Many people react poorly to it and do not even realize it. Again, organic and pastured is the very best, then organic, followed by what you can afford. Pastured eggs are more nutritious as well. It’s “amazing” that when animals eat what nature intended that they produce more nutritious products, isn’t it? *insert rolleyes here*

Once we start to eat more nutritious foods, we start to notice we feel better. Stomach upset lessens, sleep improves, energy levels go up. You’ll probably also notice your pants get looser!

I hope this brief overview gives you a starting point for clean eating. It can be very overwhelming when you first start out changing your family’s diet, and feel like an impossible task. Please know it doesn’t have to be! You can make the changes gradually, each week replacing a poor choice with a better one, until your refrigerator and pantry are full of the best choices you can make for your family’s health and well-being. It’s worth the effort, I promise!

Want even more help learning clean eating? Click here to join my FREE 7 Day Clean Eating group that starts up Monday, May 15th!