What Is Clean Eating?

I’ll get to the spices on the clean eating grocery list, but first, let’s clarify the rules about how to “eat clean.” The concept of eating “clean” is growing beyond the bodybuilding community. So, what does “clean” actually mean? (I’m a poet). How is it good for our bodies? Let’s get right to those questions!

clean eating grocery listClean eating is a deceptively simple concept; it’s more about the idea of being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate.

It is about eating whole foods or “real” foods that are minimally refined, processed, and handled, making the food as close to their natural state as possible.

Unfortunately, modern food production has become so sophisticated that the simple ways of eating whole food can become a challenge.

The idea of consuming foods that are the way nature delivered them or as close to it as possible is the whole idea of clean eating.

Eating clean is not a diet; it becomes a lifestyle approach to food and the preparation of it, leading to an improved state of health and even looks with each meal. Your clean eating grocery list should ideally contain all fresh, organic foods in their natural state.

Examples of clean meals:

Clean eating is simply basing your diet on whole foods and avoiding processed or refined foods.  Structure your diet to get proper nutrition, lose weight, remove toxins, help manage and/or prevent diseases, feel healthier and look younger while you’re at it.

 5 Basic Principles of Clean Eating:

Clean eating involves not only choosing the right foods but also avoiding all of the junk foods and processed foods that are so readily available. The keys to good health and proper nutrition are as follows:

Eliminate refined sugars. Refined sugar provides nothing but calories as well as insulin spikes which cause more body fat and less lean body mass. Choose other sweeteners such as stevia for a healthy alternative. No other artificial sweeteners are acceptable.

Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are any food that has more than one ingredient to make the food; just read the labels. If you cannot pronounce an ingredient that is listed on the label, don’t put it in your shopping basket.

Eat whole foods.  Whole foods are defined as foods that haven’t been tampered with in a lab or the manufacturing plant. Cleaning eating foods are those that come straight from the farm:  vegetables, grass-fed and free-range meats, whole fruits, dairy products, whole grains, unsalted nuts and seeds.

Note in my anti-inflammatory diet plan grains and dairy are very limited. If you follow the Paleo diet plan, you can have zero grains and zero dairy.

Indeed, these two diet plans are examples of clean eating. The Mediterranean diet is too.

Cook your own meals. Cook meals from scratch—not from “things” that come in a box. Clean eating foods are whole foods which need little preparation time beyond chopping and poaching or steaming to make delicious meals.

Eat five to six small meals a day.  By eating smaller meals throughout the day, you can help boost your metabolism. You will never get hungry nor feel the need to “cheat” when you are eating clean. There are exceptions. If you have been overweight you’ll have hormones such as leptin and ghrelin which are “out of whack, ” and you’ll have cravings. While your hormones are re-balancing, an adjustment of the brain chemicals causing cravings is easy to do. If you have questions, lease ask me or search the blog. The video is short and to the point on this.

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How eating clean can help you stay healthy:

How you feel and what your state of health is will be largely determined by what you eat. Eating whole foods and passing on the junk food can help you stay healthy. Follow these steps and you will have a better chance of living an active life:

Whole foods help keep your digestive system much more regular and healthy. If you’re following my “blog” you know a healthy GI tract means a healthy immune system which equals a healthy body and brain. Avoiding artificial ingredients keeps your cells strong so your body systems work efficiently.

It’s easier to maintain a healthy weight if you are following a clean eating plan. This then reduces your risk of many diseases.

Foods high in micro-nutrients can help reduce cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar.

Eating a good variety of foods ensures you get adequate amounts of most essential nutrients.

Eating a healthy clean diet makes you stronger so you can stay more active.

Whole foods keep you satisfied longer so you’re less tempted by junk foods.

If you feel good, you’re more likely to take care of yourself in other ways.

Clean eating is great for your skin.

Beauty and skin appeal always starts from the inside out.

People who look better tend to take better care of themselves.

The 12 spices to put on your first clean eating grocery list:

Now, as promised, here are your spices to put on a clean eating grocery list. Healthy foods have an undesired reputation for being bland. Fresh whole foods are actually delicious on their own, with no added seasoning. Unfortunately, many of us have been jaded by too many additives, sugar, and sodium in our food. However, there are healthy ways to add flavor to “clean foods” by using spices and herbs. Here are a few you can use every day which are not just tasty, but they all have health benefits too!

Cinnamon:

The aroma is one of the most enticing in cooking; just the smell can help improve brain function! It can also reduce triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and overall cholesterol levels. Cinnamaldehyde, an organic compound in cinnamon, prevents clumping of blood platelets, and other compounds in this spice are anti-inflammatory. Add cinnamon to tea and coffee, or use it in desserts and curries, and sprinkle some on oatmeal for a great breakfast.

Parsley:

This mild and leafy herb is an excellent source of iron, calcium, vitamin C, and potassium.  It’s packed with flavonoids, which are strong antioxidants, and folate, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Use it in everything from salads as a leafy green to rice pilafs, grilled fish, and light sauces.

Cumin:

This spice is rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of cancer. It also has manganese and iron; helps keep your immune system function healthy and strong. Add cumin to stir-fried vegetables, Middle Eastern recipes, rice pilafs, and Tex-Mex dishes.

Oregano:

This strong herb is a potent antioxidant containing the Vitamin A derivatives lutein and beta-carotene. It’s a good source of iron, fiber, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids. Add pepper and spicy oregano to soups, sauces, salad dressings, and free-range meat dishes.

Nutmeg:

This “Christmas spice” is delicious all year ’round. It is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C. It can help act as an antioxidant, reduce blood pressure, and has anti-fungal properties too. Keep a whole nutmeg in a tiny jar along with a mini rasp to grate it fresh into dishes with spinach. Use it in curry powder, add it to hot tea, rice pudding, and other desserts.

Basil:

This delicious herb eaten around the world has super-healthy leaves. They contain flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants. Basil is also high in vitamins A and K and has a healthy amount of potassium and manganese. Use peppery and minty basil in soups,  salad dressings, tomato sauces,  pesto, sandwich spreads, and on basically any dish; it’s the type O of herbs.

Mint:

This herb contains a phytochemical called perillyl alcohol, which can stop the formation of some cancer cells. Mint is a good source of riboflavin, beta carotene, and folate. Use it in desserts, teas, as part of a fruit salad or lettuce salad, or as a garnish for puddings.

Sage:

This pungent herb you associate with Thanksgiving stuffing contains the flavonoids and some phenolic acids that act as anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. Its’ dusky, earthy aroma and flavor are delicious in classic turkey stuffing, spaghetti sauces, frittatas and omelets, soups and stews.

Cloves:

These are great sources of manganese and omega-3 fatty acids. They contain eugenol, which helps reduce toxicity from pollutants and helps prevent joint inflammation, and the flavonoids rhamnetin and kaempferol, which act as antioxidants.  Cloves can be added to hot coffee and tea as well as many dessert recipes, including apple desserts and fruit compote.

Rosemary:

This versatile herb contains terpenes, which slow down free radical development and stop inflammation. Terpenes may also block some “bad” estrogens which cause breast cancer.  Chop some fresh rosemary to roast a chicken, cook with lamb or beef, or mix with olive oil for a dip for warm whole-wheat bread.

Marjoram:

This herb contains many phytochemicals—including terpenes, which are anti-inflammatory—as well as the anti-oxidant vitamins lutein, and beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin D. Marjoram is delicious in any dish made using beef and is perfect with vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, peas,  and carrots.

Together with bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and tarragon, it makes a “bouquet garni  to use in stews and soups.

Turmeric:

This spice is one of the healthiest spices.  Curcumin, a phytochemical in turmeric, can stop cancer cells from reproducing and spreading, slow Alzheimer’s disease progression, and help control weight. In fact, researchers are currently studying curcumin as a painkiller, antiseptic and cancer fighter. Turmeric gives foods a pretty yellow color and is an inexpensive substitute for saffron. Use it in egg salads, sauce, fish and chicken, and Indian foods recipes.

But be careful when purchasing turmeric:

Some brands, especially those made and packaged in other countries, can be high in lead, a toxic metal. Look for turmeric produced in the United States, and buy it from a reputable retailer.

Summary:

If you’re one of “my healthy bodybuilders” you have always eaten this way and are used to the expression “clean eating.” If you are not, this information might be new to you. To all, I hope the list of tasty herbs allows you to experiment and spice up your food and your life!

Now let me reveal one last thing here. Eating clean and exercising are both very important. However, you need extra anti-oxidants, an anti-inflammatory supplement, and a couple of other truly necessary supplements (such as the amazing resveratrol) to stay perfectly healthy and for peak athletic performance and ideal weight.

 

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