If you think you are eating clean, it’s always a good idea to take stock and check that you’re following the correct principles. To eat clean means you eat a diet of whole foods and minimally-processed foods, avoiding artificial ingredients. Foods closest to their natural state are nutrient dense and therefore better for you. So how do you know you have really embraced the ethos of a clean diet? Are you a Jedi of clean eating? Are you following these rules?
1. Eat Ethically Raised Meats
A great tip on how to be a clean eater is to consciously buy meats that have been ethically raised. These meats will not have been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, or fed diets that are not the best for their health. It makes total sense that animals that have been grass fed or pastured will be a healthier option for your body. For example, studies have proved that grass fed beef contains much higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, something that is really good for you.
2. Turn to Ancient Grains
Though pasta, bread, crackers and cookies are universal go-tos, the refined nature of the grains used means that the foods lack much of their nutrients, fiber and natural oils. Instead, look to add ancient grains like spelt, sorghum, buckwheat and farro to your diet, as these grains tend to be much more dense in nutrients and are easier for the body to digest. Soups, salads and breakfast porridge are all great meals to incorporate the ancient grains.
3. Be Seafood Savvy
Seeing as there are no organic fish on the market yet, picking out seafood can be more tricky. If you can, always opt for wild varieties instead of farm raised, as the cooked fish will have much more flavor and will also have lower levels of potentially harmful polychlorinated biphenyls. Some farm fish, tilapia for example, is actually okay, but the trick is to do your research and make good decisions.
4. Be Careful with Caffeine
Though coffee and tea and good, natural ingredients that are packed full of antioxidants, the area starts to become a little more murky when it comes to things like bottled iced tea or caffeine based energy drinks. These products tend to be much more full of sugar than the caffeine they profess to possess, so the best advice is to stick to the traditional sources of caffeine that you can brew for yourself.
5. Avoid Colorful Mixed Drinks
Whilst alcohol on a diet is something to be careful with overall, it is really the colorful, sweet, mixed drinks that you need to avoid. While a nightly glass of wine remains within acceptable levels, the chemical content of shop bough cocktail mixtures can be counterproductive. The preservatives and dyes contained within cocktail mixtures are highly artificial, so if you really want to have something a little more exotic than a glass of wine, stick to smart mixers like lemon, lime or seltzer water.
6. Eat the Right Proteins
Though it seems easy to get your protein fix with a dose of whey protein, there are more extras within the keg of powder than you might think. To avoid unwanted ingredients, go for natural proteins that can be found in foods like Greek yoghurt, pumpkin seeds, chia sees, kefir, fruit and many different vegetables. Try making a smoothie out of these ingredients instead of a protein powder.
7. Try Making You Own Milk
Cow’s milk had been known to cause bloating, so try a healthier option by attempting some DIY cashew milk. Soak some cashews in water four five hours, and then blend one-part cashews to four parts water. Add some honey, vanilla extract or cinnamon of you like, you will be surprised by just how good this alternative tastes, and it’s super healthy to boot! Also, check out the article on other types of milk – so many to choose from.
So how clean is your diet? Do you still have changes to make?