Thursday, April 7, 2011

5 Steps Toward Clean Eating

     Thinking about making the change from your current ( and perhaps less than stellar ) nutritional habits to Clean Eating can be daunting. It is a big change, and not one taken lightly.

     Recognizing that what you are doing now isn’t working is a huge step in itself, and you should be commended for it. Perhaps you are just in the beginning stages of investigating Clean Eating. Maybe you just heard about it and are researching it. Maybe you followed a link here and are curious as to what Clean Eating entails.

     Click on the tabs at the top of the screen here at Clean Eating Eve, and investigate Clean Eating, and nutrient dense foods.

     You may recognize that Clean Eating is indeed a wise choice, but you might not be ready to “take the plunge” full scale into this change of habit. What can you do to ease into Clean Eating? What small changes can you make in your nutrition that will show you Clean Eating is a healthy and viable option to what you are doing now?

     Start by picking 1 item in the list below, and try it for 2 weeks. If after 2 weeks, you feel like you can handle that addition, add another item – and keep going!

5 Steps Toward Clean Eating

1.       Increase your water consumption. It may sound like a small thing, but it is a vital part of Clean Eating. A fully hydrated body burns its fuel more efficiently and keeps hunger and cravings at bay. Work your way up over the course of a week or two until you are easily drinking 50+ ounces of water a day. 

2.       Increase fruit and vegetable consumption. If you know you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis ( and you know, don’t you? ) , strive to correct this. Eat fruit with breakfast and lunch. Eat salads, and a large portion of colorful vegetables several times a day. 

3.     Identify your problem food. Perhaps you recognize you have a significant dependency on soda. Or maybe you are like I was, and your love affair with Cheez-Its knows no bounds. Maybe you’ve fallen into a repetitive pattern of eating junk food in the evenings. You know these aren’t the way to a healthier you – but what to do? Work towards making this food a “sometimes” or “only on special occasions” food. Start understanding that this food or pattern is holding you back from the healthier person you want to be.

4.      Decrease the amount of significantly processed foods from your diet. Junk food ( candy and chocolates, ice cream, chips ). Processed meats ( bacon, sausage, pepperoni, ham ). Convenience foods ( frozen pizzas, Mexican foods, breakfast items ). Start recognizing that homemade versions ( though they might take more preparation time ) are ultimately healthier and you can control the ingredients and portion size.

5.      Start replacing foods you are eating now with their organic counterparts. Organic dairy, organic meats, organic fruits and vegetables. All have fewer additives, hormones, and chemicals which ( for many people ) do not allow the body to work as efficiently. Procuring the healthiest food available is a key component to Clean Eating.

Other things to do? Make wiser choices when eating out.  Practice portion control, and be mindful that you don’t need as much food as you thing you might. Limit empty calories in alcohol. Alcohol has calories but little to no nutritional benefit. Eat slower, and savor the food you do consume. Using the 5 beginning steps above can yield significant results both mentally and physically – and you just might surprise yourself.