Our grocery stores are filled with tons of options when it comes to food.
If you want your meal to be quick, easy, already cooked, or even frozen for later – there’s something on the shelves for you.
Our food has gotten so commercialized, and its importance thrown behind our budgets and a constant barrage of tasty-looking advertisements that most of us don’t even know where the food we eat comes from.
This has created a growing population of sick people desperately trying to figure out what they are doing wrong… and how they can heal.
But, when searching for answers, they are usually handed a prescription and told to move on. It is so sad to see when so many problems are simply what they are putting into their bodies.
Eating healthy feels complicated, and labels are confusing… you barely have time to eat, let alone spend extra time with complicated recipes, right?
Let me tell you something … Clean eating isn’t a new concept or a novel idea. In fact, man was doing it long before grocery stores even existed.
And it’s definitely not complicated either- really, it’s just about getting back to the basics.
In this guide, I will open the world of clean eating and give you five surprisingly simple hacks to get started clean eating without thinking too hard about what you are eating.
If you are in the “clean eating is hard” crowd, but want to make changes for your health, this guide will show you exactly how to do that, without any complicated steps, directions, or expensive ingredients.
LIVING IN A TOXIC WORLD
One of the things that surprises so many people exploring clean eating and what it means to “eat clean” is the number of toxins that are not only in our food but in our environment.
- Pesticides are used on our produce that causes inflammation and a host of other illnesses.
- Cancer-causing chemicals in our cleaning supplies.
- Even chemicals are leached out of and absorbed into our bodies through the dishes we store our cups in.
These toxins build up in our body and clog up the function of the brain, our organs, and even our skin.
This isn’t to frighten you, although the idea is frightening.
Instead, it is meant to show you that there is more than likely an answer to your mysterious chronic fatigue or digestive issues.
Knowledge is power, and understanding the world around us and what we encounter allows us to make better choices for ourselves and our families.
While we can’t completely eliminate toxins from our lives, we can control and manage a good amount of what we are exposed to.
That is where clean eating comes in.
WHAT IS CLEAN EATING?
When you are used to buying your food in boxes and bags, the idea of “eating clean” can sound foreign and a little too far out of your league.
Not to mention we live in a world of fad diets that try to restrict and control everything we eat.
Is clean eating the same, a fad diet?
No, not at all.
To put it simply, clean eating is simply filling your diet with whole and natural foods.
If anything, it is a lifestyle that promotes vitality and uses the natural gifts of nature to nurture and sustain us.
The recipes can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make them, but everything comes down to this:
- Fruits and veggies
- Whole grains
- Clean meats and proteins
- Simple ingredients that don’t have long labels or difficult names.
The biggest challenge comes in the shift from eating foods that are partially (or fully) prepared, to recipes with natural ingredients.
That usually sends people into the drive-thru lane starving or wasting a ton of money on food they can’t or won’t eat.
Let me share a few hacks to make it easy.
THE 5 HACKS FOR CLEAN EATING
When I first started cleaning up my diet, I was just as overwhelmed as you might be right now, and there were several times I stared with a blank face at the grocery aisles wondering what to get.
These little tips and hacks are the biggest game-changers that made eating clean easier to adjust to and maintain over the years.
Remember, it’s not so much eliminating food or restricting yourself- it is switching to more nutritious and natural ways of eating.
DITCH THE PROCESSED FOODS
This might seem like an obvious starting point, but when pretty much everything you eat is processed in some way – this can be like asking you to just stop eating altogether.
Ditching processed foods does not have to be that dramatic or frightening, and I promise you won’t starve.
Here are a couple of tips to make it easy:
- Shop around the aisles. Fresh foods and less processed foods are generally refrigerated or kept in more open space so stick to the produce, and edges of the store as much as possible.
- If you can’t say it, skip it. Boxes with long labels and ingredient lists with complicated things in them are more than likely not going to be contaminated.
- Learn how to read labels. To make sure you know what you are buying, and what is in it, learning a little bit about food labels, and what they mean will clear a lot of confusion.
CLEAN 15 AND DIRTY DOZEN LIST
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) does a study every year on the fruits and vegetables that tend to have the most and the least exposure to pesticides that leave residue (and end up in our stomach).
This is probably one of my favorite hacks because it is literally a list you can keep with you when trying to decide what to spend a little more for organic might be.
Here is the 2021 list from the EWG:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Honeydew melon
- Kale, collard greens, and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
DITCH THE PLASTIC
One place that no one expects to find chemicals that cause health issues is in the packages that our food and water come in, and what we store and eat out of.
Plastics contain a chemical called BPA that can leach out of the plastic and into whatever is in them.
BPA can cause cancer, tumors, chronic inflammation, and even genetic issues.
Switching to ceramic, glass, or stainless-steel containers is more than just a healthy switch – your food will taste better and store better too.
DITCH THE SUGAR
Sugar is an important part of our body’s functioning; it helps regulate a lot of functions in the body.
The problem is, most of the sugar we eat these days is overly processed, bleached.
Sugar is also addictive, meaning your body will crave it, and you will have symptoms when reducing it- so of course, it is added into everything from apple sauce to even cheeses.
That also means we get way too much sugar daily, on top of the fact that it is no good for us.
My best hacks to cut down on sugar are to:
- Utilize the other hacks and avoid processed foods
- Use alternative natural sweeteners like honey and agave nectar
- Use fruit and natural fruit juice to sweeten
DITCH THE GLUTEN
Gluten is a protein that is generally found in certain grains like wheat, barley, and rye. It is also found hidden in tons of different foods under different names.
It is one of the top allergens that go completely unnoticed by people when looking for answers to things like:
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive issues
- Allergic reactions
- And even severe illness
Finding out if you have a sensitivity can be determined from a simple elimination diet where you remove gluten, and several other common allergens from your diet. Then slowly reintroduce them back in, tracking how your body reacts.
I have worked with so many clients that feel an almost immediate reaction to eating something with gluten and never make the connection.
BONUS HACK LIVING CLEAN
These hacks and tips are great to get you started with cleaner eating, but I know you couldn’t have missed my earlier comment about toxins in other things we are exposed to that wreak havoc.
Here are a few other things in your life that you might not know are exposing you to harmful chemicals:
- Cleaning products
- Shampoo / Conditioner
- Personal care and hygiene items
We are lucky to live in a time where the clean movement is thriving and there are so many healthy revolutionaries offering clean products without chemicals.
The food in your kitchen can even be used to replace many of your cleaning products and will look and smell better.
LEARN HOW TO GET STARTED WITH CLEAN EATING
Tired, bloated or constipated? Call to schedule 707-545-2423 or visit www.adventureinwellbeing.com