I hardly dare mention the words “Clean Eating” for fear of receiving a backlash by psychologists, dietitians and others who are now saying it’s a very dangerous fad.
Clean eating has for many years been about eating whole foods, foods that have not been processed or refined. It means eating food that is as close to it’s natural form as possible so I can’t see what’s wrong with that.
Maybe it would be better to call it “real eating” because the term clean eating has had it’s fair share of criticism by certain people who say the term implies that other food is “bad” or “dirty”.
Well, let’s face it, most food that has been processed or refined is not healthy for you. In other words it’s “bad” for you but not necessarily “dirty” unless you count all the artificial ingredients and additives in many processed foods as being “dirty”.
Processed food is bad for you as it has had many of it’s nutrients removed in the processing. To make up for this the food manufacturers add back synthetic vitamins and add unhealthy oils and sugar to make it taste better and to get us to eat more of it.
Clean eating has been criticized by psychologists saying it’s fueling eating disorders because it’s restrictive. Well, if you are going to avoid processed food then you could call it restrictive but eating clean has come to mean different things depending on which plan you are following.
Some proponents advise avoiding dairy and gluten and some even meat. I’ve always said that if you cut out certain foods from your diet then it’s important to replace them with another nutritious food.
Related reading: Going Gluten Free – Will Giving Up Bread For Detox Make You Fat?
Clean eating is about filling your body with nutrient-dense and wholesome foods. It’s about loving healthy food, loving your body, and learning to fuel yourself in a way that boosts your energy and makes you feel amazing.
The more nutritious food you eat – and the less rubbish – the better everything will function. The biggest causes of death by far are preventable progressive diseases and many of these could be prevented with the right diet. If you eat right, you’ll be less at risk of just about every serious health problem under the sun and your life expectancy will be significantly increased.
Clean eating is not considered to be a “diet”, although people do seem to lose weight when they eat this way. It can be used as a detox or cleanse to help eliminate chemicals that get stored in your body and interfere with the weight loss system.
You don’t have to spend days in the kitchen preparing meals. Clean eating isn’t about complicated and time-consuming recipes. It’s about eating whole foods; foods that are free from artificial coloring, preservatives, and artificial flavorings. It’s about avoiding foods that have been manufactured to last weeks, or months on the shelf by stripping away their natural oils and nutrients and “enriching” them with man-made ingredients.
Be warned though, if you your current diet is full of processed food and unhealthy food and decide to shift away from that to more of real foods you could face a few challenges along the way.
Here’s a few of the challenges that you may face.
Fatigue – Depending on your current diet, you may be addicted to sugar and refined carbohydrates. As you remove these from your diet you may experience fatigue. Your body may go through a type of withdrawal. You may even have headaches.
The good news is that these symptoms only last for a few days, and they can be managed with healthy foods.
Overwhelm – It’s possible that you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to change your diet. You won’t be able to do it overnight. It’s best to take it step by step and make changes gradually.
Cravings – After a week or two of clean eating your cravings will go away. They’re often part of the withdrawal process. There are tricks that you can incorporate to make the cravings go away. For example, did you know that healthy fats beat sugar cravings? Eat half an avocado or put coconut cream in your coffee. You won’t want sugar anymore and you’ll be satisfied.
Related reading: What Do Your Crazy Food Cravings Tell You?
Weight loss – It’s not uncommon to begin shedding pounds almost immediately. Think about it, if you drink a soda or a sweetened coffee drink every day, you’re consuming 10 to 20 teaspoons of sugar, which is between 200 and 400 calories. And that’s just in one drink.
Add up the other sugar that you consume in the form of packaged foods and other refined carbs, and you’re easily consuming around a pound of sugary calories every day. Eliminate those and replace them with nutrients and you’ll see the weight come off. I’ve known people to lose 5 pounds the first week they stopped drinking soda.
Advantages of Clean Eating
More energy – This is one of the benefits that surprises people. They’re amazed at how energetic and healthy they feel. Once your body makes the shift and you get off the roller coaster of sugar and starchy carbs, your blood sugar levels will level out and you’ll begin feeling amazing.
Improved mental clarity – Along with those shifts in energy, you’ll also experience more mental clarity. You’ll feel like you’re better able to focus, and don’t be surprised if your memory improves.
Improved mood – Let’s face it, it’s much easier to stay positive when you feel great. Additionally, clean eating helps to balance your hormones. It can make a tremendous difference to your mindset.
Better digestion – Your gut will respond quickly to the changes in your eating habits and lifestyle. Sugary and starchy foods have the tendency to slow down digestion, feed bad bowel bacteria and yeasts and to cause inflammation. This combination can lead to either constipation or diarrhea, depending on the degree of inflammation in your gut. When you eliminate those irritants from your system and replace them with high nutrient, high fiber foods, your system improves.
Better sleep – Do you struggle with insomnia and difficulty sleeping? You may find that eating real or clean food is the solution you’ve been looking for.
Improved health – You’ll also experience an improved immune system. Sugar and the chemicals in packaged foods cause inflammation. Inflammation is the precursor to all disease, and it weakens your immune system. It’s a simple equation. Sugar causes inflammation.
Your immune system becomes fatigued and cannot fight viruses and bacteria that you come into contact with. Get rid of the sugar and the inflammation disappears. Your immune system can now focus on what’s important – protecting you from foreign invaders.
If that’s the result of real food clean eating I don’t see what’s wrong with that do you? Want a taster of clean eating?