What is Clean Eating?

Hey Guys! So Today I want to talk about CLEAN EATING.

What is it and why should we do it?!
Clean eating focuses mainly around eating whole food products free of all those added ingredients and chemicals that your body just doesn’t need.

Stick to whole food items that are mainly one ingredient… natural, unaltered, unchanged by man ingredients... Lean meats, good protein sources, veggies, fruits, whole grains. 

What are whole grains? Whole grains are grain products unaltered by man. There are a lot of healthy options for grains. In my opinion your first choices should be oats and rice.

Carbs aren’t bad. Carbs are not the enemy. You just want to choose the RIGHT carbs. Whole grain carbs! (did you know carbs are found in veggies and fruits too?)

Here is a small list of healthy complex carbs
*Rice… there are so many kinds! Brown rice has a lower glycemic index thus will last longer to fuel you vs white rice but that is not to say white rice is bad! There is purple rice, black rice, Arborio, jasmine, basmati… the list goes on!!!
*Oats – steel cut, whole, quick (I would definitely opt to choose a product that the ingredient list says “Oats”. Steer clear from the little packets that have unnecessary additives.)
*Potatoes …. Sweet, white, russet, purple, golden.. the list goes on!
*Quinoa (seed grain)
*Cous cous (semolina/wheat)  I prefer Israeli Cous cous (pearl) it is larger and I like the texture. Boil it in water like rice, drain excess water, add lemon juice. Yum!

Did you know a banana can be considered a starch/carb depending who you ask? Along with being high in potassium it is high in carbohydrates. But I would consider this a good carb.

Often, people think corn is a vegetable. Well, not in my opinion. Corn is very high in sugar (dextrose) … thus the not so great carb that you want to choose. I say if you’re going to enjoy some corn.. I know a lot of people love corn on the cob! Make sure to count it as your carb and maybe cut out the bread at that meal and be sure to add something green to your plate as well!

What are some good protein sources?
*Skinless chicken breast/ white chicken meat
*White turkey meat, lean turkey burger
*Egg whites (nothing against the yolk but too many and you’re really upping your fat grams! One average size egg yolk has 7g of fat. I prefer to stick with the whites where you find all the protein. However, 1 yolk a day isn't bad.)
*Lean beef, this could be chuck steak or lean burger for example
        (check out this article for more info on beef cuts)
*Fish … there are so many great fish choices out there! (If I am buying from the freezer section I prefer to check the packages and I don’t buy fish from China. I’ve read too many scary stories. That’s just my preference. Do your research if you wish)
Halibut, cod, haddock, salmon, tilapia, seabass, flounder.... are just a few ideas

Don’t eat meat? 
Here are Some Great Vegetarian protein sources
*Edamame (soy)
               Take note tho that too much soy is a very bad thing! Soy is a phytoestrogen and can affect your hormone production. It has been linked to increased estrogen and fat storage! Eee! (I have heard a very large fast food chain makes their "burgers" out of soy!)
*Nuts, Natural nut butters (take it easy tho. No need to eat the whole jar! Remember it is higher in fat)
*Low fat or fat free cottage cheese
*Greek yogurt
*Beans, lentils
*Tempeh (soy product)
*Seitan (wheat product)

So... What can YOU do to EAT CLEAN?!

*Eat Breakfast! You may have heard it's the most important meal of the day... well, because IT IS!
          Eating breakfast is like putting the first log on the fire called your metabolism. You want to get that fire started!
          Say you've never been a breakfast fan? You're just not hungry in the morning?
          Start out small and gradually add a little bit more over time. Eventually your metabolism will be boosted to the point that you are ready to chow down as soon as you get out of bed! This is a good thing! You will also then see the effects of your boosted metabolism through fat loss and increased energy!
*Eat more frequently. You will want to consume 5-6 small meals a day versus 3 large meals.
*Eat balanced meals. You will want to eat proteins with carbs and veg. They break down one another.
*Eat healthy fats everyday
*Prepare! Set yourself up for success by planning ahead of time. Meal prepping and having healthy options available will keep you from falling off track.
            Check out my article on Meal Prep 
*Take your food with you! Carry a cooler or lunch bag to work. (This will save you $$ too!)
*Portion control! Don't go overboard. Maintain portion control for proper balance.

What should you AVOID?
*Processed, packaged food. Items in bags and boxes are NOT your friends. Keep your shopping to the outer perimeter of the grocery store where you find fresh meats, fruits and veggies.
*Chemically laden foods
*Foods containing preservatives
*Canned items. These are high in sodium
*Sugary beverages
*Dairy - others may say this one is up for debate. Well... IMO dairy is not natural. Dairy is altered.

              Dairy makes you hold onto fat. Don't get me wrong I enjoy dairy products but I mostly avoid them. If you want to debate calcium let me just tell you that there is a higher bioavailability of calcium in broccoli than ANY dairy product you will buy.
                     What does that even mean? Basically that the calcium in broccoli will actually be taken up by your body and utilized whereas not all of the calcium in the dairy product will be used by your body but rather just eliminated.

*Alcoholic beverages (For my take on adult beverages check out How To Eat Clean Over The Holidays)
*Artificial sweeteners (ok, so truth be told, I pick my battles. I am not 100% clean and this is my weakness! I'm talking aspartame in diet soda. Stevia and trivia are ok. These are plant based. )
*Artificial foods, READ THE LABELS! "Cheese product" is not your friend
               Keep in mind, these types of items affect your system in many ways.
our bodies are very complex and have many systems and hormones and functions. Items that are not REAL food are affecting you in ways I can't explain in just a simple blog article!

Thanks for reading!

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