Cleaning up your diet is the first step towards any fitness goal. In practice clean eating means staying away from junk food and eating whole, natural foods such as fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. Clean foods are without man-made sugar, hydrogenated fats, trans-fats and other unnecessary ingredients.
Why should I be aware of this?
Clean eating is becoming a popular way to better health, weight maintenance and weight loss. Clean eating is making the healthiest food choices possible - opting for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat instead of processed food and refined foods.
The basis of clean eating is following some simple rules for all your meals throughout the day.
More than being just a diet, clean eating is a lifestyle that requires time, commitment, and pre-planning. It is not about deprivation, avoiding food groups, counting calories or starvation, but about making healthy food choices and providing the body with the best foods possible.
The Benefits of Clean Eating
There are many health benefits to eating clean, including:
- Fat loss
- Weight loss
- Increased energy
- Clearer skin
- Shinier hair
- Better sleep
- Increased mental well-being
Clean eating is neither complicated nor expensive. Prepackaged and process foods are often more expensive. Oftentimes it is actually cheaper to buy clean eating foods as aginst buying prepackaged, processed foods. However it does require more time in the kitchen, planning and cooking meals.
All about clean eating
Eating clean gives you a more energetic and fit lifestyle and prevents you from feeling sluggish, worn down, irritated throughout the day and having trouble sleeping at night. Instead of taking three square meals a day, clean eating means giving yourself five to six small meals in a day.
Clean eating is based on the theory that all carbohydrates are not bad. Simple carbohydrates are food with added sugars which turn into fat Complex carbohydrates, such as rolled oats, barley, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, brown or black rice, and whole grain breads consumed in limited amounts, along with a combination of lean proteins, like chicken, turkey, fish or lean beef perfectly fuel your body, and keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
Balance your meals
Meal one should be your breakfast consisting of 4-6 egg whites, vegetables 1 cup, and a 1/2 cup of oatmeal or a piece of whole grain toast with unsweetened apple sauce. Meals 2, 4 and 6 should be balanced with 4-6 oz of protein, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. Meals 3 and 5 should be small meals in between the larger ones, consisting of a piece of fruit and a small handful of unsalted almonds or nuts of your choice, or a low carbohydrate protein shake. You can even do fat free cottage cheese topped with fruit of your choice. There are so many recipes available to you through the Internet and books that are specifically catered to the clean eating lifestyle
Take plenty of water
Avoid coffee, sugary sodas, teas, cappuccinos and alcohol and add plenty of water in your diet. Plain coffee is not harmful, but when you add sugar and creamer to the mix it changes the effect on the body entirely. If you must drink these, try to add sweeteners or a bit of honey in your tea. Ideally a person should drink about a gallon of water a day, even more so if you are physically active.
Eating clean and physical activity go hand in hand. Exercise helps boost metabolism when muscle mass is increased because muscle requires more calories to maintain