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Clean Eating: A Lifestyle, Not a Diet

When it comes to weight loss, people tend to try fad diet after fad diet. There are wraps, pills, creams, drops, and everything else that you can think of that supposedly drops body fat. However, those fad diets usually lead to frustration. People either don’t lose weight or they often gain all the weight back that they lost shortly after the fact. Losing weight all starts in the kitchen. While exercise is important to keep your body strong and healthy, clean eating is the main ingredient.

What is Clean Eating?

You’ve heard the term “clean eating”, but what does it mean? Clean eating is filling your body with only natural foods that you could hunt or gather. This excludes all processed foods. Clean eating is done in two common ways. Some people will eat anything as long as it’s clean, others will take it one step further and eat only paleo-friendly foods. Paleo-friendly foods include anything that you can hunt and gather that was around during the Paleolithic era, also known as “the caveman days”. This excludes all grains, starchy vegetables, and dairy products.

What are Processed Foods?

Many people don’t know exactly what processed foods entails. While frozen foods are a big one, it’s not the only type of processed food. Any food that has anything added to it to change the flavor or texture is considered processed. This also includes added dyes and preservatives. Anything food that is changed from its natural form is processed, including refined bread and applesauce. When it comes to bread, you either want to skip it all together or opt for only whole grain. As for applesauce, find minimally processed applesauce with no added sugars. *Note* do not buy “sugar-free”. This means that natural sugars were removed and processed, sugar-substitutes were added.

What isn’t Clean Eating?

Other than weight loss, clean eating has many perks. If you decide to eat clean, you will be more successful than with any fad diet that you try, and this is why; clean eating is NOT:

  • A diet
  • Food deprivation
  • Perfection
  • Calorie-restriction
  • About meal frequency

There is a big difference between your diet and going on a diet. Clean eating isn’t about going on a diet, it’s about permanently changing your diet. The problem with diets is that they are looked at in the short term. You can’t expect to eat healthy for a few months, lose weight, and then go back to eating unhealthy foods. This is how so many people wind up yo-yo dieting. Too many people are scared to eat clean because they look at it as a sacrifice. They don’t want to feel deprived, count calories, or worry about how often they eat. While not over-eating is important, counting calories and meal frequency are completely different things. You don’t need to do any of that to eat clean. You don’t need to be perfect either. Don’t think of it as giving up pizza for the rest of your life. You can learn some amazing pizza recipes to make your own healthier version of pizza. If you decide to eat a “regular” pizza every few months, it’s not a big deal. Everyone needs a treat sometimes, and eating clean doesn’t mean you will eat healthy 100% of the time.

Healthy Alternatives

Clean eating is about finding healthy alternatives for the foods that you love. While most of the foods you eat will be made from scratch, you can still find condiments and other products that are made from real, whole ingredients. For example, you may have seen Hampton Creek follow us on Facebook ads. They make condiments, such as mayonnaise and salad dressing, that are all natural and perfect for those who want to eat clean. No one expects you to mash your own tomatoes if you want to make some pasta sauce for whole-grain spaghetti. Look for sauce that is natural, minimally processed, and include no added sugar. If you want a pizza, there are many recipes for pizza crust and topping ideas that don’t include processed foods. You can make whole wheat pizza dough, or even a cauliflower pizza crust if you want it to be even healthier. Other ideas include eggplant, sweet potato, and zucchini. Do you want to eat a whole grain peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Do you have kids that enjoy them? You can turn an unhealthy sandwich into a healthy one just by buying different products at the store. Some people prefer to switch to almond or cashew butter. If you just can’t give up peanut butter, you can purchase all-natural peanut butter that has no added oils. Some stores will even have grinders to grind your own out of peanuts. As for jelly, find “fruit spread” that contains only natural ingredients with no added sugar. Finally, purchase whole grain bread to put your natural peanut butter and jelly on, and you have a healthy sandwich for you or your children to eat.

As you can see, clean eating isn’t difficult or scary. Most people just don’t understand what it means. Find healthy alternatives for unhealthy foods, lose weight, and feel better than you have in years. If you’re ready to give up yo-yo dieting, this is the lifestyle for you.