Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Clean Eating Overview

The news is often filled with the depressing fact that American people are obese and unhealthy. Things have gotten worse year after year. Current national health is compared to the health of people from 50, 100, 200 years ago. Our health has declined.

So what is the reason? What is the culprit? Why are we now, as a whole, dangerously unhealthy? What is it now that is different from then that is affecting us so negatively?
There isn't one answer. It likely is a more sedentary lifestyle. Perhaps less 'farm work' and more 'desk work'. It could be the relative abundance and the availability of lots of food.

More likely, in my opinion, it is the quality of food that you choose to eat. And how far away what you put in your mouth is from what grows out of the ground.

Take a look at what you might purchase, what you can pull out of your pantry. Read the label on a box of frozen something. Or a can of something. Start at the top. The first ingredient in your can of peas is peas. The first ingredient in your frozen fish is fish. Sounds well and good.

Now read the bottom of the label, working up. Recognize any of that? Yeah, neither did I. I can't pronounce it, I have no idea where in nature it comes from. My grandfather didn't grow sodium erythorbate one year and sodium nitrite the next. Mom didn't keep xanthan gum and hydrolysed corn protein in the pantry for when company comes over.

Frankly I don't know what the human body does when fed that stuff. Actually I know quite well what MY body has been doing. It has been tipping the scales.

I do know that my body will process natural food quite well. Food that you can pronounce, like 'fish'. I know this because with Maura's help I learned about Clean Eating and my health and weight have improved considerably. I'll make a post with my specific improvements at some time. But until then I'm eating a healthier Clean Food diet. And I'm happy with the results.

So what is Clean Eating? There is a lot that you can learn here on Maura's site and on the sites that she links to. But the quick overview is this:

Eat a lot of natural vegetables and fruits. Not breaded, deep-fried greasy okra. Not fruit roll-ups. Natural, fresh ingredients. Whole fruits, salads. Veggies that YOU cook simply.

Eat whole grains such as whole wheat. Avoid processed white flour.
Eat proteins. Meats that you get from a butcher, not processed 'extracted' chicken. Not Vienna Sausages. Chicken such as chicken breast, not Popeye's fried chicken.
Eat foods with simple ingredients that have the least amount of processing done to them. You need to eliminate a LOT of convenience foods and frozen questionable items. You will have to cook more from scratch, but there are a wealth of simple healthy meals to cook.

And all of this you eat less of, but more frequently. You can snack on healthy options between lighter meals.

This is the start of a change for me that will keep me alive. A lifestyle change that has already had a very positive effect on my health and well being.