It’s quite the buzzword these days. Much like “organic,” “gluten-free,” or “free range,” you can’t avoid the term “clean eating” when looking to live healthier.
What’s all the fuss about eating clean? It goes hand-in-hand with the often fitness-inspired Paleo Diet, and the idea that we should all be consuming less processed food-like products and more real, whole, natural foods. Going Paleo can be a bit extreme for some, so clean eating is a little less structured and a little more attainable for anyone no matter how they get fit.
Here are 7 basic principles to clean eating:
1. Avoid processed and refined foods.
This includes things like white flour, sugar, bread, and pasta. Enjoy complex carbs such as whole grains or Paleo alternatives such as almond or coconut flour as your base for baked goods. These Back to School Cookies are super clean, but you wouldn’t even know it!
2. Get label savvy.
Eating clean typically promotes choosing less packaged foods, but when you do opt for anything with a wrapper, learn to read the label. The shorter the list the better. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, then your body can’t either.
3. Choose organic or sustainable whenever possible.
If budget is a limiting factor in buying organic, make meats, dairy, and the Dirty Dozen produce your priorities. If it can’t all be organic, opt for free-range or hormone free when possible.
4. Reduce your carbon footprint.
Eat produce that is in season and local. It is less taxing on your wallet and our environment. Bring your own water bottle when you’re out and about, and use reusable grocery bags for your shopping needs.
5. Shop with a conscience.
Consume humanely raised and locally sourced meats and animal products. Vote with your dollars by supporting grocers and products that you believe in.
6. Consume healthy fats every day.
Make essential fatty acids — like the ones found in salmon, walnuts, avocados, olive oil, and coconut products — a priority in your daily nutrition. It will leave you feeling full longer and even help you eat less!
7. Slow down and savor.
Never rush through a meal. Food tastes better when savored and enjoyed with family and friends.
Did Cavemen Follow the Paleo Diet? Probably Not.