What is Eating Clean and Why Should I Do It?

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” –Buddha

Eating Clean in San Diego
As we approach the New Year, eating healthier is on a lot of our minds as we strive to make 2016 even better than the year before. Lately, more Americans are rejecting the notion that they need to “diet” to lose weight and instead are choosing to “eat clean.” What exactly does this entail and why should you do it?

EATING CLEAN AND THE BENEFITS
“Eating clean” typically refers to eating “whole” foods versus “processed” foods. “Whole” foods refers to foods found in nature while “processed” foods are made in a factory or laboratory. For example, choosing to eat a whole Gala apple is a clean-eating choice rather than choosing to eat store-bought apple sauce that is usually laden with sugar. Eating whole foods is cleaner for your body since you are choosing to eat fresh foods with the greatest nutritional value and while doing so, you avoid the majority of the chemicals and hormones found in processed foods.

COMPONENTS OF CLEAN EATING
Eating clean does not mean you are restricted to noshing on lettuce leaves all day. A clean diet includes a variety of foods:

• Vegetables and fruits: We can all benefit from adding more vegetables to our diets. Among the many results of eating clean is healthier, glowing skin and this is primarily due to consuming more vegetables. Vegetables help to prevent wrinkles because they are full of phytonutrients, vitamin C and high water content. (Source) Fruits are also loaded with vitamins and minerals but do contain more sugar than most veggies so they should be consumed in moderation. Think of them as nature’s dessert!

• Protein sources: “Clean” sources of protein include organic eggs, wild salmon, and beans like chickpeas and black beans.

• Whole grains: “Clean” eating does not mean carb-free. Enjoy cleaner carbohydrates such as quinoa, wild rice, and steel-cut oats in order to get plenty of fiber in your diet.

Eating Clean in San Diego

TIPS FOR EATING CLEAN
If you’re thinking of eating clean in 2016, start by following some of these tips:

• Flavor your food: Eating clean does not have to be a tasteless experience. Add flair to your snacks and meals with these clean add-ons:

-Herbs and spices: It’s time to grow a windowsill herb garden and bulk up your spice rack. These flavors found in nature not only boost flavor but boost your health as well. Spices like cumin have been found to aid in weight loss and cinnamon helps to stabilize blood sugar.

-Oils: If you turn over your store-bought salad dressing you may find on the back a list of ingredients that include a few you cannot pronounce. Make your own dressing using oils and vinegars like olive oil. They are a great source of health fats in your diet.

Eating Clean in San Diego

-Nuts and seeds: Stock your pantry with heart-healthy nuts and seeds to toss into dishes for added texture and nutrients.

• Prepare your food in advance: The more you prepare clean food in advance, the more you will stay away from processed foods. Processed foods are popular because they are at your fingertips and ready to consume. While it may take more time to chop veggies and cook quinoa than it does running thru the drive-thru or picking up packaged chips or cookies at the gas station, the benefits of consuming clean foods outweighs the convenience of grabbing empty calories.

• Get to know what is in-season: The fresher the ingredients you purchase, the better your clean meals and snacks will taste. Check what is in season in your area and grocery shop accordingly. I like to refer to this chart from Visual News. If you shop at a farmer’s market rather than a big-box grocery store, you are more likely to find what is in-season. Find a farmer’s market in San Diego close to you here.

• Don’t forget to drink clean: Beverages are one of the biggest sources of scary chemicals and additives. San Francisco actually tried to put warning labels on sugary beverages like soda this year as the city feels they are that detrimental to citizens’ health. In eating clean, strive to drink more water and less sports drinks and soft drinks. Even the sugar content of most juices marketed to children makes them more hurtful then beneficial. When it comes to enjoying an alcoholic beverage, steer clear of sugary cocktails and opt for wine.

Eating Clean in San Diego

How has eating clean changed your life? We want to know! Comment below and share your tips.

Blair Atkins
Written by

Blair Atkins is a yoga teacher, Pilates instructor, and writer living in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA. When Blair isn’t teaching or sweating herself, she can be found hanging out at the beach. To see what Blair is up to, follow her on Instagram @beachgrownblog.

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