Thursday, January 10, 2013

Eating Clean Step-by-Step

A article published in 2010 listed 5 steps to clean eating. I found them overall helpful, with a few minor adjustments. 

Step 1
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose fresh, unprocessed foods over canned or processed products. Clean eating enthusiasts believe that we were meant to survive on fresh fruits and vegetables and that processing them reduces their nutritional value and fiber content and adds salt, fat, sugar and chemicals. Choose fruit instead of fruit juice and if you must pick a processed vegetable, frozen is always better than canned.

Ugh...I hate fruit. I only like two types of fruit, bananas and strawberries. I guess I will have to work on liking more types of fruits. Luckily, I do like all different types of veggies, so that won't be too hard. As for processed veggies, we've already eliminated canned for frozen. Luckily, I can still find great sales on frozen veggies; Kroger runs their frozen veggies 10 for $10 every few weeks. 
Step 2
Balance protein and complex carbohydrates. Incorporate whole grains like brown rice or millet over processed grains. Eat lean meats, and choose organic or grass fed meats when possible as these foods are usually clean of pesticides, hormones and additives. Grill, broil or steam your meats rather than frying.

Check...we already choose a lot of whole grains over processed grains anyway. And thankfully, whole wheat pasta has gotten better lately. Lean meats will be a challenge budget-wise, since they tend to be more expensive. I am going to investigate local butchers to see if they may be cheaper. The only meat I fry is fish, and that is very occasionally, so we're good there too. 

Step 3
Avoid sodas and high calorie, sugary drinks. Follow the tenant of clean eating that aims to remove added sugars from the diet. Choose water or tea for your beverages, or juice your own fruits and vegetables and enjoy them without added sugars or preservatives.

This will be one of the exceptions to the rules...I cannot give up my diet Pepsi and Coke Zero!! :)
Step 4
Trade bad fats for good fats. One of the most important aspects of clean eating is removing saturated fats from the diet. Lower your saturated fat intake by avoiding fast food, choosing lean cuts of meat and getting your fat calories from foods like nuts and fatty fish.

I never pay attention to fats, good or bad, so it will be interesting to see how I do in this category. 
Step 5
Eat several small meals to keep blood sugar stable and to avoid overeating. Choose snacks like nuts, low-fat or fat free dairy and fruits and vegetables. Note that some people who live a clean eating lifestyle don't eat dairy products while others adapt clean eating to a vegetarian lifestyle.

I've tried eating five or six small meals before and it didn't work for me. I'll probably do more of three regular meals and one afternoon snack. 

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