with Guest Blogger Laura B. Folkes
It is definitely becoming more mainstream as restaurants such as Panera have cleaned up their menus to only include “clean” foods and ingredients. In case this concept is new to you, here’s the definition of clean eating: “At its simplest, clean eating is about eating whole foods, or "real" foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.”
Based on this definition, eating clean is not a diet but is more of a way of life. It’s going back to simpler times when there weren’t as many packaged foods available and people relied on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, good fats and whole, unprocessed grains as their food sources. I realize that eating a perfectly clean diet now a days can prove to be challenging, so here are a few tips and small steps you can take to start eating clean:
- Strive to eat clean 80% of the time. While this is ultimately where you’d like to get to, if you’re currently eating clean 20% of the time, aim for 40% and build on it slowly until you’re able to get to 80%. Making small, incremental changes can be helpful so it doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch. Ultimately you want any changes you make to be sustainable.
- You can still buy packaged foods; you just want to be sure to read the label. Ideally you should be able to pronounce and identify every ingredient and there should only be a handful of ingredients listed. If the label looks like a long paragraph you may want to skip that food and look for an option with fewer ingredients.
- It’s important that you don’t feel deprived. Many diets are built around deprivation, which is why 95% of fad diets fail and most people will regain the weight they lost in 1-5 years (see source below). One way to ensure you don’t feel deprived is to find clean recipes of some of your favorite foods. Here is a list of some great recipe options from Greatist.com.
Some of the benefits of eating a clean diet could include a more balanced energy level, maintaining a healthy weight, building up your immune system and improved sleep to name a few.
As with everything, you don’t need to strive for perfection when it comes to eating clean. Making small improvements and taking one step at a time will lead to results.
Source: Statistics on Weight Discrimination: A Waste of Talent, The Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, Retrieved July 18, 2011, from (http://www.cswd.org/index.html)
Laura B. Folkes is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She supports busy adults to take back control of their eating, successfully navigate life with food intolerances, reduce cravings and/or make sustainable changes without deprivation. After successfully losing 60 pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura recognizes there are many factors keeping individuals from sticking to what they know works but it’s her mission to help others overcome these factors to become healthier and happier.