Clean Eating Principles
Of all the diets I’ve recommended to my clients, a clean eating diet plan definitely tops the list.
Clean eating is all about removing the junk from your diet, and getting seriously healthy about what you choose to put in your body. When it comes down to it, clean eating is more of a lifestyle choice than it is a diet. The rules are pretty simple, but the results can be life changing.
To help you get started, I’m summarizing 5 clean eating principles to live by. These principles include everything you need to know to get your eating back on track. Whether your goal is fat loss or muscle building – or just overall health – a clean eating approach to food can help you get there faster.
5 Principles for Clean Eating
1. Eat Whole Foods
The first clean eating principle is really the most important one. No matter the meal or the time of day, you need to eat foods with primarily whole food ingredients. What I mean by whole foods is foods that haven’t been processed and contain all natural ingredients. If you see a bunch of chemical names on a list of ingredients, or if your food comes in a box or can, it’s likely not whole. Here are some examples of whole foods:
- Whole fruits & vegetables (organic is best)
- Nuts, like almonds and pistachios
- Seeds, like these Nutiva Organic Chia Seeds
- Grass-fed & free range animal proteins
- Brown rice or quinoa as carbohydrate sources
- Natural, plant-based oils like Nutiva Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
For more great whole food options, take a look at my Paleo Diet Food List.
2. Avoid Processed Foods
The second principle is really just a continuation of the first. But in addition to getting more whole and natural foods, you want to cut out the processed foods. Processed foods are typically any foods that have an ingredients label, as this means that the food is not in its natural state.
While it’s not necessary to eliminate all foods that are processed, you should go for as few as possible and only those that have a very small number of ingredients. Definitely avoid foods with ingredients that you can’t pronounce, and anything of the frozen or fast food variety should be rid from your diet.
3. Lose the Refined Sugar
Of all the processed foods you should avoid, sugar is probably the hardest, but it’s essential that you eliminate it from your diet. Refined sugar can really wreak havoc on your body, messing up your blood glucose level, contributing to cravings, and leading to unwanted fat gain.
4. Think of Food as Fuel
This principle may be the most life changing of them all. You really need to start thinking of food as fuel. This not only reflects a whole food, natural approach to eating, it also keeps you going for the right ingredients. I usually recommend eating 5-6 meals a day on a clean eating diet, and make sure each meal is balanced with a little protein, some healthy carbs, and some vitamin-rich veggies or fruits.
5. Cook Most of Your Meals
Adopting a clean eating diet requires that you cook most of your meals. This is an inherent principle of clean eating, since you’re buying your food before it’s been processed or prepared by a third party. Cooking your own meals also ensures that the ingredients in them are natural and whole. So get cooking!
Have any questions or feedback about these Clean Eating Principles to Live By? Please leave a comment below…