Even for relative newcomers to the fitness world, much has been heard about eating clean and many have wondered exactly what the term means? Does the term mean thoroughly washing produce before eating?
The motivational posts available out there don’t exactly help either: everyone’s saying to eat clean but what does it really mean? Here, we break down the fundamentals of clean eating, enabling you to incorporate the principles and see how this difference can enhance your body composition.
Defining Clean Eating
With so many definitions associated with the phrase ‘clean eating’, it can be hard to ascertain what the true definition really is. Ask a bodybuilder, vegan, and doctor and receive slightly different definitions. No one seems to have one exact meaning and this is why it is important to go through all of the criteria involved with clean eating to decide on what may work best for you. The following is our definition of what clean eating is, and as always, check with your doctor before changing your diet regimen. Finer points to remember is that clean eating is not a diet, nor is it about foregoing the foods you love.
It’s Not a Diet
A diet usually means one or two months where you lose pounds and then return to your normal routine, also referred to as yo-yo dieting. Clean eating is a lifestyle change where you redefine your relationship with food instead of attempting to change everything.
It’s Not Calorie Restriction
Under a clean eating regimen, you eat for health and the energy to power through your workouts and other activities.
It’s Not About Meal Frequency
How frequently you hear and clean eating are not one and the same. Studies have already shown that eating frequently has minimal effect on weight loss or lowered insulin levels. Ultimately, it’s about your personal preference. If you want to have one huge meal a day, then it’s your prerogative.
It’s Not Deprivation
Clean eating means choosing alternatives instead of unhealthy foods. Trade in those cupcakes for carrot sticks. As you adjust to clean eating, your tastes also change until you may actually crave healthier alternatives.
It’s Not Perfection
Clean eating means adjusting your diet but not over-stressing it. If you want to cheat and have a dessert, then by all means do so. At the end of the day, clean eating is about flexibility and adapting for your body.
So What Is Clean Eating?
Perfect eating is not a thing because it is not possible. In order to be a successful clean eater, try to eat clean most of the time at around 80% to 90%.
- Avoid processed foods. Although convenient, they are typically higher in chemical additives, salts, and refined sugars.
Avoid most refined foods and the list includes flour, high fructose, white, brown sugar, and trans-fats.
Avoid artificial ingredients and preservatives by using the old adage: if you cannot pronounce it, then don’t eat it. Anything made in a laboratory is to be avoided, including artificial sweeteners.
Avoid alcohol as it is a toxin. If you do drink, keep it at a low to moderate level.
Avoid soda and fruit juices as they filled with sugar, and fruit juice contains refined and natural sugars.
By sticking to these guidelines, your clean eating efforts will prosper. Remember, it’s not about looking for perfection, but about cutting out as many of the toxins that can infiltrate a normal daily eating regimen. The most important thing to remember is to tailor your eating habits to your individual needs.
Clean eating consists of eating plenty and vegetables, the darker the better. Eat fruits as well, but with more moderation as they can change your blood sugar levels. A juicer is helpful for a more organic approach. If you are a meat eater, choose high-quality eats that are organic or range-free. Healthy fats can be found in nuts, seeds, eggs, and oils like olive and coconut oil. And remember to drink lots of water to keep hydrated. These are all ways in which you can recalibrate your eating habits towards a cleaner eating alternative, and you can always consult your physician once you decide to start a diet change.