Clean eating carries the same meaning as healthy eating. With a little information and creativity, you can use clean eating as a synonym for great and tasty eating.
Clean eating, in a nutshell, is about consuming more of the good and less of the harmful stuff. The benefits are life enhancing and often live saving. By consuming whole foods, lean meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables, we give our body the best chance of staying disease free. By helping ensure health, clean eating also saves you dollars, valuable money that you can use to secure your future, build assets, acquire education, etc.
A poor diet rich in processed foods and sugars leads to obesity, a condition that has already reached chronic proportions in the United States. Obesity brings with it concomitant conditions that severely impact the quality of our lives.
Here is how to begin eating clean and give yourself the best chance at a healthy life.
1. Find your motivation
You need to have a reason that is strong enough to elicit a long-term commitment out of you. Your responsibility to your health is the strongest reason. In general, motivations that stem from within work better than those that are derived from external reasons. For example, if you turn to clean eating because you have laid a wager with your friend to stay off burgers and soda for a week, then that is as long as your willpower will propel you.
2. Mentally Prepared
Be mentally prepared to give yourself time to get habituated to clean eating. You may yield to temptation every now and then. Let each slip be an opportunity to strengthen your resolve. Know that you cannot break a habits formed over a long period in a very short time. Stick with your resolve.
3. Know Steps
Know the steps that you will need to take. These include planning your meals, choosing the right ingredients, shopping, and finally cooking a healthy meal. Set small, achievable goals. These minor changes in habits add up to create a foundation for major changes. Shifting from an unhealthy snack during the evenings to a healthier one is not that difficult. But, it signals a shift in intent that your mind and body will recognize. From here, you can move on to bigger changes that will involve giving primacy to your health rather than your taste buds.
4. Honest Assessment
How healthy are your current eating habits? An honest assessment is the first step to corrective actions. Maintain a record of what you’re consuming. Hard facts written down are powerful proof of where you stand and will point to where you’re headed if you continue with the current diet. You can download an app or even use a simple Excel chart to monitor your food intake. Do this for four or five days and you will see a clear trend in your food habits.
With data on your eating habits in front of you; you must segregate the healthy food items from the unhealthy ones. Obvious unhealthy foods include margarine, sodas, fast food, sugary foods, and red meat. Of these, which do you think you can cut off immediately and replace with healthier choices? Of the healthy foods that you consume, does your diet provide you with sufficient nutrition, roughage, vitamins, carbohydrates, and proteins from greens, vegetables, fruits, etc? What do you think are the five or six healthy foods that you could easily add to your diet? These could be curds, spinach, squash, carrots, beets, cod, snapper…anything.
6. Choose Wisely.
Choose your battles wisely. Don’t do too many things at once. If you try to cut down on your six cups of coffee, cigarettes, and junk food at the same time, that’d probably be more than what your willpower can stave off. Choose targets that you can meet easily and consistently. The trick is to make incremental changes and back yourself to execute these till they become habit.
7. Set Targets
Your targets should be clear-cut and tangible. In other words, you should be able to measure your progress. Cutting down on the number of ice creams, pizzas, assorted fried foods, candies, sugary sodas, etc should boil down to the numbers. On similar lines, you must introduce measurable improvements in your diet in terms of the healthy foods that you introduce. These could include low-fat milk, switching over to a healthier cooking oil, eating a fixed portion of fruit each day, using sprouted legumes in cooking, etc.
8. Prepare A List
Avoid purchasing groceries that you know are bad for your health. Stay away from the mayonnaise and processed foods on your visits to the grocery store. Prepare a list and stick to it. Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables.
9. Search Online
Search online for easy recipes for tasty food. Cook. Eat. Repeat.
Everybody wishes to lead a long and healthy life, and a clean diet increases life expectancy. We owe it to ourselves and our families to do all that we can to maintain our health.