The idea of ‘eating clean’ has been catching on lately, with more and more people deciding to ditch processed meals and stick to only healthy, organic, ‘real’ foods. We are easily tricked into thinking that certain products are good for us because of labels such as ‘reduced fat’ or ‘sugar free’, but in truth these are often just as bad for us as their counterparts. If we’re going to eat healthily, we need to avoid ingredients that have been tampered with and get back to nature.
A clean, natural diet will consist of only ‘real’ foods which are in their most natural state. The rules of a clean diet can be strict but once you get used to it, you’ll find that you can get just as much enjoyment out of eating as you did before, and you’ll feel so much better for it. If you’re thinking of starting a real diet, here are some tips to help you out.
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1. Don’t go cold turkey
Cutting a lot of certain things out of your diet at once can be a challenge and may even affect you negatively instead of positively at first. It’s best to take it slow and cut out a few things at a time. Instead of switching straight to unprocessed fare, you could switch to mildly processed for a while. For example, you could replace your fruit squash drinks with pure fruit juices, and then eventually ditch them for real fruits.
2. When it comes to food: Choose brown over white!
Whole grain produce
is always a better option than refined grain, and this is one of the first changes you should make. White rice, bread and pasta all contain refined wheat or grains, and by eating them you’re missing out on a lot of the nutrients you can get from the whole grain options.
3. Buy provisions with just a handful of ingredients
Shopping at your local farmer’s market or bakery will help you to do this, as the produce here will be fresh, and industry-produced meals which you find in supermarkets often contains various chemicals and preservatives as well as various processed ingredients which you’re trying to cut out. Make sure you always check the ingredients before you buy. The same goes with drinks – lots of fruit juices will contain other ingredients that you don’t want. Try something different such as the natural soft drink alternatives from Zeo
4. Opt for free-range nourishment
You can still enjoy meat, eggs and dairy products, as long as they come from pasture-raised animals. This is not only more humane for the animals but also means you’ll get a lot more nutrients from your dinner. A grass-fed animal will get more nutrients than a grain-fed animal, which means you’ll get more nutrients from their produce. You should also go for locally raised meat, and try to eat it in moderation.
5. Use natural sweeteners
Unfortunately cutting out processed foods means you’ll also have to cut out any refined sweeteners, including sugar, syrups (except for 100% maple syrup) and even sugar alternatives such as Splenda. This doesn’t mean your sweet tooth has to suffer, as there are natural sweeteners you can use instead such as honey.
6. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
It gets tedious hearing people say this but it’s extremely important if you’re going to get through this diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most natural ingredients you can get, but only if you buy the right sorts. You should try and make sure you’re buying organic foodstuffs, and getting your fruit and veg from your local farmers market will ensure not only that they are fresh but also that they have not been treated with pesticides. You could even try growing your own!