Clean eating is a modern term for a long-standing movement. Many people believe that purifying the way we eat enhances our health and energy levels.
Some of the earliest signs of this trend can be seen in the health food stores that cropped up in the 1960s. Now, mainstream culture has caught on to emphasising whole foods and cutting back on sugar.
What can clean eating do for you?
Benefits of Clean Eating
1. Take care of your health – Smart food choices reduce your risk for heart disease and certain cancers. You’ll also keep your body fit and strong.
2. Lose weight – Empty calories pack on extra pounds, especially as we grow older. Nutrient dense foods can help you eat less.
3. Enjoy flexibility – It’s difficult to stick to diets with a long list of forbidden foods. Clean eating lets you enjoy all different kinds of flavors and cuisines.
4. Protect the environment – Clean eating is good for the planet as well as for those who inhabit it. Do your part to promote a sustainable food supply with green practices, such as buying local and choosing organic produce.
What to Eat
1. Switch to whole foods – Get most of your calories from foods in their natural state. Opt for brown rice instead of white. Munch on a fresh apple instead of fruit flavoured cereal bars.
2. Focus on vegetables and fruits – Aim for at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. It’s easier to do if you plan snacks and meals around soups, salads, and stir fries.
3. Consume healthy fats – The kinds of fats you eat may be more important than the total amount. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as omega-3s, are good for your heart and brain when eaten in moderation.
4. Spread out the protein – Beans, fish, and lean cuts of meat are excellent sources of protein. Your body breaks down protein more effectively when you eat small portions more frequently, rather than saving it all for dinner.
5. Drink responsibly – Fancy cocktails are often loaded with sugar and calories. On the other hand, a single glass of wine provides antioxidants and other important health benefits.
6. Stay hydrated – Our bodies need water even more urgently than food. The old saying about drinking 8 glasses a day is still a good rule of thumb.
How to Eat
1. Make time for breakfast – Start the day with a hearty breakfast. If you’re in a rush, pick something you can eat on the go, like a smoothie with yogurt, kale, and berries.
2. Read labels – Maybe you depend on some convenience foods in order to juggle your busy schedule, family responsibilities, and business travel. Make the best of your situation by learning to decipher nutrition labels. High quality protein powder may be a good value. Frozen dinners high in salt and saturated fat may be a habit you want to break.
3. Control portions – Almost any food can be adapted for clean eating. If you love bacon, choose lower fat versions, like turkey or Canadian bacon, and limit it to once a week or less. Asparagus lovers can indulge all they want, as long as they go easy on the butter.
4. Learn to cook – Preparing your own food gives you more control and saves money. Browse online for recipes, such as instant soup with frozen edamame or quick dinners with eggs and a variety of leftovers.
Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Recipe from Clean Eating Magazine
- 3 cups whole-wheat elbow macaroni (dry)
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 carrot, finely grated
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp organic unsalted butter
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch
- ¾ cup grated smoked cheddar
- Place a large freezer bag inside a 6½-inch-diameter bowl. (Note: Make sure the bowl fits inside the Instant Pot insert.)
- To bag, add macaroni, 1 cup water, sharp cheddar, Parmesan, carrot, cream, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Massage to mix.
- Seal and freeze.
- Once mixture is frozen, remove bowl.
To Instant Pot
- When ready to eat, add 1½ cups water and butter to Instant Pot.
- Add frozen pasta mixture.
- Lock lid; set release valve to Seal.
- Press Pressure Cook/Manual and set timer to 4 minutes.
- When cooking is finished, leave vent in seal position and allow pressure to release naturally.
- When metal pin in lid falls and all pressure is released, unlock lid.3.
- Whisk together milk and tapioca starch and slowly stir into pot.
- Stir in smoked cheddar.
- If a crispy top is desired, transfer to an 8 x 8-inch baking dish and place under the grill on high for 5 minutes.
Recipe from I Food Real
- 8 corn tortillas or tostada shells
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- 4 medium avocados, diced
- 3 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Lime, juice of
- 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
- 3 cups shredded chicken
- 1/2 cup feta or Cotija cheese
- Cooking spray
- To make tostada shells, line large baking sheet with silicone mat and arrange tortillas in a single layer.
- Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt on both sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes per each side.
- While tostadas are baking, make easy guacamole salsa by combining tomato, avocado, red onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and lime juice. Get other ingredients ready.
- To assemble tostadas, top each shell with guacamole, beans, chicken and cheese.
Make over your diet with clean eating. Choose natural foods, and steer clear of artificial ingredients. You’ll look and feel better, and you may even live longer with a higher quality of life.