It’s a fact, most New Year’s resolutions are all about health, weight loss and fitness, but most resolutions don’t usually last as far as February. If shedding a few pounds and switching on vibrant energy is one of your resolutions, and if you want it to be permanent rather than temporary perhaps you should consider a Clean Eating Detox.
Now before you click away let me assure you this detox is not about drinking weird concotions that clean you out, drinking gallons of cold juices, eating mounds of cold salads or surviving on meagre meals that leave you hungry and depressed.
Clean eating, in case you haven’t heard about it, is about eating “real” food, as close to its natural state as possible. This means ditching food that has been processed or refined in any way. Forget about diet soda and low fat foods and tuck into whole foods like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts, and seeds. Sound good so far?
It is full of foods that give your body the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are badly needed by your detox system if your diet has been full of junk and processed food up until now.
Eliminate toxins that keep you fat
A clean eating detox routine not only eliminates toxins that contribute to weight gain and the inability to lose it easily and keep it off but, it also helps to reboot healthy eating and gets you onto the healthy track.
It means eating food that leaves you feeling energized and satisfied. It is about eating mindfully – slowing down before you eat, eating at a table and not on the go, thinking about what you are putting in your mouth, paying attention to your body’s hunger signals and taking time to properly chew and savor each bite.
In spite of the fact that the concept and practice and of detoxification has been around for centuries, and is considered to be the natural process of eliminating unwanted toxins from the body, some detox regimes have come under heavy criticism for slowing your metabolism and depriving you of essential food groups.
A clean eating detox does none of that so, if your aim is to become healthier and fitter this year, you can start your year right by embracing an eating clean detox.
You can forget all those confusing media headlines about what a healthy diet is. First it was low fat is good for you, now fat is not the demon they thought it was but carbs is. At one time pasta was good, now it’s bad. We’ve been told that too much red meat causes colon cancer but now it’s fine if it’s grass fed.
The good news is that thanks to extensive research we know so much more now about how food reacts in our bodies and how specific molecules affect specific functions in specific cells. There is absolutely no doubt that eating whole foods is linked with good health while processed foods lead you down the road to nutrient deficiencies, toxicity and poor health.
How to Eat Clean
Clean foods include:
The only true clean cow’s milk is raw milk but this is hard to find, is expensive and is banned in a lot of US states. Although non dairy milks such as hemp, rice, coconut, and nut milks (almond, hazelnut, walnut, etc.) are not strictly whole foods they are included on the clean food detox.
Use brown, red, black and wild rice, millet, amaranth, teff, tapioca, buckwheat and quinoa instead of gluten grains. According to celiac researcher Dr. Alessio Fasano, no one has the ability to fully digest modern wheat and should not be eaten by anyone.
Natural sweeteners such as Stevia, raw honey, date sugar and coconut sugar can be used in place of regular brown or white sugar in very limited amounts. Use them carefully and cautiously as they can become just as addictive as refined sugar.
Foods to avoid:
- All junk & refined foods
- White flour
- Sugar & sugar-loaded drinks like cola, ready made juices & smoothies
- Artificial sweeteners & sugar subtitutes
- Foods with preservatives and other additives
- Trans fats
- Vegetable or Hydrogenated Oils ( soy and corn oils are out)
- Processed Mayonnaise
- Regular table salt
- Coffee (have just one a day if you must and try to make it organic).
- Carbonated water
If in doubt leave it out!
Putting it all into practice
If you have been eating mostly from the Foods To Avoid list then my advice is not to jump too quickly into this clean eating detox plan or you will suffer from withdrawal symptoms. You should gradually substitute foods from the Foods to Include list for the items from the Foods to Avoid list.
Remember, this is not a ‘diet’ as such but a healthy way of eating. You don’t have to count calories which makes it easier to follow. You can eat from all food groups, as long as you choose the non-processed options. Vegetarians can eat plant-based alternatives to animal protein.
Cook with healthy fat
You can eat both raw and cooked foods but use healthy cooking methods like minimal steaming. Quick stir frying can be healthy if you cook with a fat that is stable when heated like coconut oil or clarified butter (Ghee). Adding a little liquid to the pan will steam fry the food which is even better.
You will no doubt see many recipes that use olive oil for cooking but it should not be heated to above 180C (356F). Many experts advise not heating it at all but use it to drizzle on your vegetables or make into a healthy dressing for your salads.
It’s important to drink plenty of pure water to keep your body well hydrated. It does not have to be plain water. Try these delicous Detox Water Recipes.
Meal Timings & Portions
Just because you are going to eat clean it does not mean you can pile your plate high with food even though it’s healthy. Mindful eating is about eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full, but not stuffed.
Tosca Reno who popularized clean eating with her book The Eat-Clean Diet recommends eating six times a day to stimulate your metabolism and prevent hunger. Basically you should try to eat 5-6 meals a day with a balance of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and a lot of vegetables.
Eat as many veggies as you can. Make sure you get a good variety of veggies on your plate eating all colors of the rainbow. Make a point to eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi to help support liver detox.
Try not to let more than about four hours go by between meals or snacks. Steady meal timing helps regulate your digestive system, blood sugar and insulin levels, and appetite which leads to fat and weight loss.
For breakfast have a bowl of oatmeal porridge made with nut milk topped with a handful of blueberries or almond flour pancakes or whip up a vegetable omlette.
For lunch try a grilled chicken breast with a large vegetable salad or a filling bowl of vegetable soup. Have some grilled fish for dinner with steamed veg or try a vegetarian meal of brown rice and beans.
Snacks can include a green smoothie, a piece of fruit with a small handful of unsalted nuts, vegetable sticks and home-made hummus (watch the oils in ready made versions) or home made energy bars (many store bought bars contain sugar and dubious fats).
It might sound like a lot of work cooking from scratch but with some advance planning, batch cooking and freezing things in portions meals can be put together quite quickly. Want some recipes? Get James Duigan’s Clean & Lean Diet Cookbook
Of course, some kind of exercise should accompany these lifestyle changes. Walking briskly for 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week is good. If you can’t do that start with some gentle rebounding.
Study after study proves that the best way to push your body into that fat-burning zone is to stick to a healthy way of eating. A clean eating detox will definitely fill your body with the nutrients that can also help you shed pounds. Turning your back on all your old unhealthy eating habits and practices is definitely the ideal beginning for a healthier and happier you in the future. What do you think? Will you follow this plan?
Need a daily plan with recipes? Check out my Boost Energy & Get Slim Clean Eating Plan!