Eating Clean Doesn’t Have to be All-or-Nothing
Repeat after me: Eating clean most of the time is better than eating clean sometimes. And eating clean sometimes is better than eating clean none of the time.
Like yoga, clean eating is a practice. You don’t need to be perfect tomorrow. Maybe you just start with one change to your normal diet. Do that for a couple of weeks, and then try another one. It’s MUCH easier to switch up your food choices one at a time, rather than all at once. Here are 7 simple changes you can slowly incorporate into your diet, each one bringing you a step closer to your clean-eating goals.
Ramp up your daily fruit and veggie goal
Start at whatever number of fruit-and veggie servings that your current diet entails, then add one more serving to your daily goal every week. Before you know it, you’ll be at the recommended 6-9 servings every day.
Another way to up your veggie intake without worrying about every meal is to try to have a salad 4 days per week to start. That will ensure you have several cups of veggies during one meal and helps your overall totals.
Choose quality animal products
Without changing the meal or recipe you’re eating, you can change one thing to make it cleaner. One of the easiest food choices you can make is in the quality of your animal products. By shopping for or ordering meals made with high-quality meat and dairy, you are putting more good things and fewer bad things in your body — which is what clean eating is all about.
Organic chicken ensures there are no growth hormones or pesticides. Grass-fed beef is better for you than conventional grain-fed as far as the nutrient content of the meat. Grass-fed beef contains more antioxidants, Vitamin E and potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and sodium, and has a lot more omega-3 and CLA fatty acids, which are less inflammatory and really good for you. It’s so worth it to pay attention to and pay a little more for quality animal products.
This time of year, connect with the farmers at the farmer’s markets. Otherwise, you can find local ranchers in your area. Here is a list that will help ID good quality meats in the Denver metro area.
Drink water, and then drink some more!
Go buy a great new water bottle and target a certain number of water bottles per day. It could be you drink one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. You’re shooting for ½ your body weight in ounces as a general rule.
Stay away from the “worthless whites” (white rice, pasta, bread and sugar)
If you haven’t already given up white puffy breads, pasta and rice, now is the right time. Puffy white grains are inflammatory and lacking in fiber and nutrients. Choose brown, thick and fiber-y for breads. Choose ancient grains like brown, wild or black rice, quinoa or amaranth. They are all nutty in flavor and delicious.
Limit alcohol: drink in moderation — that means probably not every day
Alcohol turns to sugar, so if you’re drinking every day, it’s hard to limit your sugars and get to a more nutritious diet. Plus, under pretty much every health guideline, every day is not moderation. Cut back just a little. Maybe just 1 or 2 days per week. You probably don’t NEED to drink alcohol every day. Honestly, you’ll feel better.
Choose snacks with fewer ingredients
Packaged foods means processed foods You just don’t need packaged food. But if you aren’t ready to commit to unpackaged snacks, start by choosing BETTER packaged snacks. Read the fine print on the labels. If it’s something you can’t recognize, put it back and choose another of its kind. Snack bars are a perfect example of this. There are bars that have 20 ingredients in them, and most we cannot pronounce. There are others with five ingredients. Choose those! (Or better yet, make your own!
Choose better fats
Some fats are super helpful; others are highly processed and linked to disease. Choose extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, wild-caught fish and grass-fed animals. Those are your best bets for healthy fats. Quality matters here.
Get help if you need it
These clean-eating baby steps will help you eat a little bit better every day. But, for those who need some hand-holding to incorporate these changes or even to overhaul your entire diet, Healthy Nest’s holistic nutritionists are here to help. Our Clean Eating Success Guide is a 50-page easy-to-follow detailed road map to better equip you with all of the info you’ll need to have a smooth transition into a clean eating routine. Paired with a series of one-on-one sessions with a nutritionist who meets you where you are, our program will help you achieve your clean-eating goals.
We offer a 20 min. complimentary phone consult to make sure clean eating is right for you. Start the process here.
- BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2343(Published 11 May 2016)Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2343Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies Luc Dauchet2,3, Philippe Amouyel4, Serge Hercberg2, and Jean Dallongeville4,*
- Mediators Inflamm.2014;2014:849031. doi: 10.1155/2014/849031. Epub 2014 Nov 16.Excessive refined carbohydrates and scarce micronutrients intakes increase inflammatory mediators and insulin resistance in prepubertal and pubertal obese children independently of obesity. López-Alarcón M1, Perichart-Perera O2, Flores-Huerta S3, Inda-Icaza P4, Rodríguez-Cruz M1, Armenta-Álvarez A1, Bram-Falcón MT1, Mayorga-Ochoa M1.