For many many years, years that I have counted beyond my fingers, I have tried a lot of diet fads. Be it high protein, low carbs or as quick as lemonade diet. Sincerely, they were all effective except that the effect only lasts months. As I get older, I want a diet I can keep for 50 or so years. This thought started in GM diet where I ate whole foods all through out the week. I have found one in clean eating.
Clean eating has been one word “cleaneating” due its familiarity. It has become a noun and a popular one for dieters and holistic people. 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. However, modern food production has become so sophisticated that simply eating whole foods can be a challenging proposition these days. Cleaneating is more simple. It has no complications like high protein, no carbs, paleo etc.
Cleaneating means embracing foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats. It also means cutting back on refined grains, added sugars, salt and unhealthy fats. And since you don’t have to count calories or give up whole food groups, it’s easy to follow.
What are processed food? These are food away from changing its original state. These are food that has been altered to make it look nice or taste different. Many processed foods are full of excess sodium, sugar and fat. Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh. An easy way to clean up your diet is to look at the ingredient list on packaged foods.
You don’t have to cut out fats when you’re eating clean; instead just focus on healthy fats. It’s as simple as swapping out saturated fats (like those in butter, cheese and meat) in favor of healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil and the kind found in nuts and fatty fish.
Choose whole grains. Cutting out white flour and refined grains is an easy way to eat cleaner. Refined grains—unlike whole grains—are more processed and often stripped of beneficial nutrients like magnesium, selenium and fiber. Plus, they’re typically found in unhealthy packaged foods, like baked goods and junky snack foods that may also deliver added sugars, saturated fats and extra sodium. Skip the packaged refined carbs like cookies, crackers and cakes altogether, and also swap white rice, white bread and white pasta for brown rice and whole wheat bread and pasta. While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice. Steer clear of sugar added cocktails. Drink red wine instead. Key is to avoid ultra-processed food (Soda, cakes, cookies).
To make it easy. Here is the list of unprocessed food and minimally processed food. These are good for cleaneating.
Unprocessed foods include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Dried legumes
- Farm-fresh eggs
Minimally processed foods include:
- Unrefined grains, like whole wheat bread and pasta, popcorn, steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
- Unprocessed meat; wild over pastured, pastured over grain-fed
- Hormone-free dairy
PS. Since we are all humans and there is temptation anytime and anywhere. I highly suggest to do “mind over matter.” Eat clean for 3 weeks with no cheating. After 3 weeks, allow yourself to cheat once a week.