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The "Clean Eating" Diet: What's It All About?

Feb 9, 2011
There is no direct definition for "clean eating".  Specifically, clean eating is NOT a diet - it is a lifestyle choice.  Clean eating is not a new concept, as a matter of fact clean eating has been around for quite some time.  Those involved with health, fitness or nutrition from competitors to personal trainers and health conscious individuals have been practicing "clean eating" for years.
One with many benefits that include:
  1. Fat Loss
  2. Weight Loss
  3. Increased Energy
  4. Clearer Skin
  5. Shinier Hair
  6. Better Sleep
  7. Increased mental well -being

When someone makes the choice to eat "clean" they are choosing to eliminate all processed foods and extra additives from their diet.  Basically, you are choosing to eat whole, unrefined foods.  

The basics of eating clean include - eating lots of fruits and vegetables.  These are straight from nature - the idea is to stay away from anything that may have been altered in any way.  

Include meats, however; "whole" meats that you have chosen straight from the butcher or prepared yourself.  You would be very surprised to find out what is actually in ground turkey.  

Enjoy whole grains - these are grains that are still complete and haven't been broken down in any form.  Examples include: brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains.  You will have to get used to reading over food labels.  Just because a product says its "whole grain" does not mean it is.  It also does not mean they have not added a bunch of other ingredients as well.  

Eat fewer ingredients - try not to purchase items with more than 4-6 ingredients in the ingredient list.  Also, be sure you recognize every ingredient.  If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't put it in your body.

Simple Guidelines for Success:
  1. Eating small frequent meals 5-6 times per day to level blood sugar and prevent hunger
  2. Include lean protein, complex carbohydrates and heart healthy fats in each meal choice
  3. Avoid ALL processed and/or refined foods (sugar, baked goods, candies, white flour, white rice, etc)
  4. Avoid saturated and trans fats
  5. Avoid sodas, high calorie juices and other drinks that give your body no nutritional value and lots of unnecessary (unwanted) calories
  6. Avoid high calorie, non nutritious foods (i.e. junk food)
  7. Drink at least 8 cups of water per day

As I mentioned above, "clean eating" is not a new concept; it has been around for a long time.  If you have never eaten this way before it may take some practice and some time to get 100% "clean".  Unprocessed, natural state foods have a different taste than frozen and processed foods.  Your taste buds will go through an adjustment period.  Although it is less expensive to eat clean and nutritious foods, it does require more time in the kitchen planning and cooking meals.  

Give yourself time - I promise you, your body will LOVE you and you will reap the long term benefits!

Angela Hattaway is a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with over 15 years experience. She got her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University and she also has a Master's Degree in Business with an emphasis on Healthcare. Angela is experienced in working with both children and adults and loves working with clients to help them set realistic goals and expectations. She is passionate about nutrition and fitness and feels this comes through when she works with people. Angela loves giving clients the tools, motivation and encouragement they need to be successful throughout their lives. Visit her blog at blog.ultimatenutritionnfitness.com. She can be reached via email at at foodjunkie@nutritionnfitenss.com.

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