Everyone at the gym knows you by name. You have tried every diet out there. And you haven’t had pasta for the last decade.
But you’ve only lost a few pounds.
And you’re not the only one. After all, most Americans struggle with their weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), about 70 percent of Americans are overweight.
So if you’ve tried to lose weight and can’t seem to make the scale go down, maybe it’s time to stop dieting and go back to eating real food.
There’s even a new buzz word for eating real food — it’s called “Clean Eating.” But clean eating is nothing new. In fact, it’s the way our grandparents and great-grandparents ate — whole, unprocessed foods in its most natural state.
The Dos and Don’ts of Clean Eating
Clean eating will help you gain energy, lose weight, and improve your overall health. And the reason so many people are turning to eating whole foods is because there are so many harmful toxins and additives in our food and lives. To help you get started, here’s a few Dos and Don’ts to clean eating.
Do Eat Real Food
Try shopping the perimeter of the store and buying mostly organic produce, meat, seafood and dairy. It’s best to avoid the aisles inside the grocery store because they’re usually loaded with foods that contain too much sugar, fats and chemicals. Even better, shop at farmer’s markets or grow your own food.
Do Eat Plenty of Organic Vegetables and Fruits
No need to count calories of non-starchy vegetables. Eat as much as you want and add as many colors as possible. Organic fruit is also healthy, but it has sugar.
So if you struggle with losing your weight, you might want to limit your fruit intake to 1-2 servings a day. And limit your servings of starchy vegetables like potatoes or corn to 1 serving a day. But non-starchy veggies? Eat lots.
Otherwise, Watch Your Portions
Many people eat healthy, but are still eating too much. Here’s a trick that I learned from clean eating: a handful is a portion. A portion is:
- 1 cupped handful of fruit.
- 1 cupped handful of starchy vegetables.
- 1 palm-sized portion of meat.
- 1 cup dairy such as almond milk or unsweetened yogurt.
- 1 scant handful of nuts.
- 1 tablespoon of healthy oil.
- 2 tablespoons of nut butter.
- 1 handful of whole grains such as rice, cereal or pasta.
- 1 piece of whole grain bread or wrap.
Do Drink Filtered Water
It’s important to drink enough filtered pure water or herbal teas during the day. Water helps your body to flush out toxins and keeps your electrolytes balanced. Start by drinking at least 8 glasses of pure water a day. And drink even more if you exercise.
Do Chose Whole Grains
Avoid white bread and white rice. Instead, eat whole grains that are the least processed. Try sprouted wheat, also known as Ezekiel bread. And if you’re gluten-intolerant, try baking with almond or coconut flour for delicious gluten-free breads and baked goods. You can even use quinoa to make a delicious dessert! But keep in mind that grains can be a struggle for many people; therefore, it’s best to limit yourself to 1-2 servings of grains a day if you want to lose weight.
Don’t Eat White Sugar
It’s easy to grab a fancy, sugar-laden coffee on your way to work. But they are loaded with up to 10 teaspoons of sugar! To avoid the blood sugar spike in the morning and crash later, add a small amount of organic cream and raw honey to your organic coffee. And if you love baked goods or desserts, limit them to an occasional splurge. I treat myself to a homemade dessert or baked good once a week; however, the only sweeteners that I use are coconut sugar, raw honey and pure maple syrup.
Don’t Eat White Flour
White flour is a toxic and harmful substance. And it’s easily absorbed into your blood stream, making you become hungrier so that you end up eating more. Not to mention, it has little nutritional value. While there’s nothing wrong with having a piece of pizza or cookie occasionally, try to avoid white flour altogether.
Don’t Drink Soda and Juice
Sodas and fruit juices are full of sugar. Think that diet soda is healthier? Think again! Diet sodas contain excitotoxins, which increase your appetite and make you become addicted. To eat clean, it’s best to consume pure, filtered water. The more pure water that you drink, the more energy you’ll have. To lose weight and have more energy, try adding two teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar to 16 ounces of water or tea and drink it throughout the day.
Don’t Use Refined Oils
To eat clean, avoid store-bought salad dressings. Instead, make your own with olive, avocado, walnut or flaxseed oil. Add some balsamic vinegar, and you have an easy-to-make dressing. To cook, use extra-virgin coconut oil; it’s delicious and can help you lose even more pounds. And avoid store-bought crackers, cookies and doughnuts; they’re loaded with trans fats, the worst kind of fat for you.
Don’t Eat Anything That a Third Grader Can’t Pronounce
If the list of ingredients on the label is too hard for a third grader to pronounce, then set it back on the shelf. Preservatives and additives are all made in a lab. And Big Food companies add these chemicals to food to make people addicted. As a result, people gain more and more weight. So make sure to read labels if you buy food in a bag, can or box.
And if all else fails, take this advice from the author of Food Rules, Michael Pollan: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”
Clean eating is a lifestyle, not a diet. So clean eating is about eating real food and taking care of your body. And it’s also taking care of the body that God gave you. No need to go on a rigid diet and starve yourself.
Remember the words of the Apostle Paul:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
If you follow the Dos and Don’ts of clean eating most of the time, you’ll be well on your way to improving your health.
Have you ever tried to eat “clean”? What did you learn? Share your tips in the section below: