A Clean eating diet is trending right now. Have you noticed? But what about clean eating? Well, first off, clean eating is not a diet. It's a way of life.
In fact, eating clean is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. But, you already know processed and junk food isn't good for you, right? Even so, you may be thinking… but it tastes so good!
And trust me, the food industry knows this!
Processed foods are made to trigger all the right pleasure centers in your brain. That's why you can't eat just one when you open a bag of Lay's potato chips.
Maybe you didn't know this but food manufacturers now have the ability to enhance flavor through chemical manipulation.
As a result, we've gotten heavier and unhealthier to a level that's epidemic, and we can't seem to stop. We rely on processed foods and crave junk food. But, it's time to change things and take back control of what we eat and where it comes from.
So, let's start by defining processed food.
What is Processed Food?
You can probably look at a chicken nugget and realize that whatever chicken is in it, it has gone through an extreme alteration.
Sugar – Fat – Salt
You definitely want to avoid these 3 added ingredients which will cause the most damage to your health. In fact, these 3 ingredients are responsible for most chronic diseases.
Pesticides can also be part of the process. When foods are being grown, they are often treated with chemicals to repel bugs and insects.
That's why eating clean or organic foods can cut down on the number of toxins you consume every day. In fact, by as much as 80%, according to the Environmental Working Group.
What Is Clean Eating?
You've probably heard people talk about eating a “clean” diet. While there is no specific definition, eating clean means sticking with foods that are as close as possible to their natural state.
Clean foods do not have preservatives, coloring, and man-made chemicals and usually don't come wrapped in plastic.
So, what about clean eating? Well, think whole foods like fruits, vegetables, that are free from additives and other artificial substances.
The idea is to get back to consuming fresh nutrient-rich unprocessed foods that won't clog up your arteries or pack on the pounds.
How do you identify clean foods?
Another tip is to stay away from foods “made with whole grains”. Instead, go for 100% whole-grain products.
Refined grains like bread, cereal, and pasta, which are made from white flour should be avoided. But whole-grain pasta, cereal, and bread are considered clean foods.
Generally speaking, if a food has just one ingredient or is as close to its natural state as possible, it qualifies as “clean food.”
This means no more cans of soup or candy bars, fried chicken, and french fries. Fresh poultry, seafood, and meat are usually fine as long as you take it easy on creams or sauces.
Follow these 7 Tips for Spotting Clean Foods
1. If there are more than 5 ingredients, look for an alternative.
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2. If the food you are thinking about buying is in a package, it has been processed to some point.
3. If you read a food label and there are ingredients with names you cannot pronounce, put it back on the shelf.
4. Most foods with organic labels are cleaner than those treated with chemicals and pesticides.
5. Avoid trans fats, monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, other sugars, sodium and other salts, and white flour.
6. If you see the following ingredients, you are looking at extremely processed foods – corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, cane sugar, sodium, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
7. If you buy any of the following Dirty Dozen foods, choose organic if you can, and wash thoroughly before eating.
The Dirty Dozen
- Sweet bell peppers
8 Reasons to Quit Eating Processed Foods
1. Many of them Include Monosodium Glutamate
MSG is listed under any of the following names:
Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein
2. They can be Full of High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup is found in more and more in food products all the time. It's found in carbonated soft drinks, as well as in packaged cakes, cookies, jams, jellies, and crackers.
Why is high fructose corn syrup so dangerous to your health?
Because it contributes to:
Plaque build up in your blood vessels
3. Low-fat often Means High in Sugar
Many processed foods boast about being low-fat. But the process which pulls the fat out also involves adding high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, lactose, and glucose, as well as other unhealthy sweeteners.
Sugar triggers the “feel good” transmitters in your brain, which can cause an addiction to the sweet taste. Sugar can have a devastating effect on your health. In fact, many doctors and nutritionists believe it to be the leading cause of chronic diseases and obesity.
4. Low Nutrition
Processed foods are made to last longer on the shelf and taste better than when they existed in their natural state. This often requires removing essential phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, either intentionally or indirectly.
5. Unnatural and Dangerous Chemicals
6. Clean Foods are Easier to Digest
Good digestion is the secret to a long and healthy life.
The flavor-enhancing, unhealthy chemicals in processed foods are much harder to digest than clean foods. They are poison to your system and you can read about them in this Beginner's Guide to Healthy Eating.
Unnatural chemicals force your digestive tract to work harder than it has to, and this can lead to gastrointestinal and health issues.
7. Whole Foods are Less Expensive
8. You'll Start to Feel Healthier Almost Immediately
The excess sugar in processed foods can lead to weight gain, heart problems, chronic inflammation, dementia, respiratory failure, and multiple neurologic problems.
When you eat clean and avoid processed food, you become healthier.