Monday, October 31, 2011

Clean Eating in a Nutshell: Core Principles

Clean Eating Principle #1: Eat a wide-variety of whole, unrefined and unprocessed foods in a form that’s as close as possible to how the foods appear in nature
If there is one rule of Clean Eating, this is the one that rules them all. In fact, if you understand this principle, all of the others pretty much fall into place.

 If you can’t go pick, reap or acquire the food in the field, farm or orchard and then eat it, you’re on the wrong track. 
Another way of stating the same thing would be "If it didn't grow on a vine, bush, or tree or be an animal you could catch and eat - don't eat it."

Clean Eating Principle #2: Avoid processed sugars, especially sugary beverages like soda.
Sugars are everywhere, and they power our workouts, daily activities and our brains. All carbohydrates eventually get broke down into simple sugars, but how quickly they are broke down and when, determines whether they are utilized effectively, or get packed on as excess body fat.

A better alternative is to utilize sugars that appear naturally in nature — things like fruit or whole food sources of fruit sugars like honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup. These sweeteners also have their own unique flavors that can enhance the foods that you add them to.

Processed, simple sugars like table sugar and dextrose are very sweet and our taste buds become accustomed to this intensity. It’s like a drug, and the more sugar we consume, the more “resistant” to it’s sweetness we become.  So we crave more.

Clean Eating Principle #3: Avoid saturated fat and trans fats, and instead substitute healthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Despite the “Low Fat” craze of the Eighties and early-Nineties, fat is not your enemy. But “bad” saturated and trans fats are.
Good fats — the kind that come from things like nuts, fish and oils that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — can be liberally consumed without having a detrimental effect on your overall health. In fact, studies have shown that people who consume even large amounts of healthy fats have better cholesterol profiles, less body fat and less risk of certain kinds of cancers.

Good sources of healthy fats, as part of an eating clean diet, include oily coldwater fish like salmon, nuts (especially almonds, walnuts and pecans), nut butters, flax seed, avocados, nut oils, and olive oil.
Clean Eating Principle #4: Always combine complex carbohydrates with lean protein and some healthy fats at every meal
While many diets suggest reducing entire food groups (like carbohydrates or fats) from meals, Clean Eating encourages you to always combine carbohydrates, lean protein and fats in each meal.
This approach ensures that you are getting maximum nutrition and balance in your meals, which will translate into sustained energy, less hunger, and eventually, increased fat loss. Combining a variety of foods may also take advantage of synergistic characteristics between foods and the phytochemicals in them, amplifying the impact of antioxidants in the body.

Clean Eating Principle #5: Spread your food out over 5-6 smaller meals, consumed every 2-3 hours

This is the Clean Eating principle that many people scratch their heads over, especially since we’ve had the “three-square meals” idea pounded in our heads since childhood.
  1. By keeping your meals smaller, you make sure you are only eating an amount of food that your body can utilize for energy and recovery over the next 2-3 hours. This discourages overeating, or calorie intake in excess of what your body needs, which will keep you lean or help you shed body fat.
  2. Better, more sustained energy. Eating smaller meals, more frequently, helps keep your blood sugar levels stable which prevents energy crashes. Blood sugar spikes also encourage excess calories to be stored more readily as body fat, so when you keep blood sugar stable, it can help you lose fat or at least maintain leanness.
 Clean Eating Principle #6: Eat for maximum nutrient density. In other words, avoid “empty” calories found in fast food, soda, snacks, cakes and cookies, and substitute in nutrient-dense snacks

What does this mean to you? No junk food. Empty calories. High fat, low nutrition. As I like to say - you may as well forget about eating that fast food apple pie and apply it directly to your right hip - because that is exactly where it's going to go...
Clean Eating Principle #7: Pay attention to proper portions and practice portion control
Clean Eating isn’t a blank check to eat all your want as long as they are “clean foods.”
Most Americans, thanks to Super-Sized menus and all-you-can-eat-buffets, have very whacked out concepts of what a serving is.  A serving of brown rice, for instance, is a 1/2 cup of cooked rice — not a mound of it (which could actually be 2-3 servings.)

Clean Eating Principle #8: Drink lots of water
Water keeps you hydrated, helps aid in digestion, can improve concentration and energy and can help you feel fuller and more satisfied over the course of the day. And when you drink water instead of empty calories like soda, you can dramatically decrease your overall calorie intake for the day. How much water per day? Take your current body weight, and divide that number by 2. Take 20% off that number, and then convert that number to ounces. That is how much water you should strive to drink per day.

Example: If you are 200 lbs, divide by 2 is 100. 20% of 100 is 80. The 200 lb person should drink approximately 80 ounces of water per day.

Clean Eating is actually pretty straightforward. 8 simple guidelines which when adhered to will really change your life and your health. 

Thank you, Answer Fitness