Clean eating is a great way to look at your healthy diet in terms of the broad picture. The last piece of the healthy diet puzzle can be lost as quickly as it is found.
There will always be stretches of time when maintaining your diet and following your plan will be difficult. However, when in doubt go back to the basics. Remember.... clean eating!
First things first. What does it mean to eat clean?
Clean eating dates back to the mid-20th century, where it was introduced to bodybuilders as a way to incorporate nutrition into their training regiments. It was popularized to mainstream prominence by Tosca Reno and her Eat-Clean Diet. However, it is important to think of clean eating as a lifestyle.
We can summarize this lifestyle as...
This equates to eating whole foods. We want to eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Any food that is unprocessed by man or machine or minimally processed to create a product. When you're at the grocery store, ask the question:
Is there a way for me to make this from scratch or buy in a more natural form?
In fact, vegetables and fruits are the most commonly available unprocessed items among food groups. A focus should be put on including these in your diet which is also consistent with your essential shopping companion, The Daily Food Guide.
Also, buy organic when possible to minimize pesticide exposure, and choose the leanest cuts when incorporating meat in meals. With Dairy and Livestock food groups, it is important to be aware of the source of the food as well as the cut of meat being purchased.
As part of lifestyle summary, cooking is a practical necessity of clean eating. The preferred methods for meal preparation should be grilling, steaming, and baking. Avoid frying foods.
Water is the king of beverages. Drink it, and drink it often. Manufactured beverages provide no source of nutrients except calories in the form of sugars. It's important to minimize harmful environmental contaminants that cause free radical damage in the form of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics in our food sources.
One of the biggest problems of buying processed food is the large amount of salt, or sodium, which is the main ingredient used to preserve products and increase shelf life. Be aware of the sodium content on nutrition labels.
Even seemingly healthy products such as canned tomatoes or packaged vegetable broth are extremely high in sodium. Some of the worst offenders are fast food and meals found in the freezer aisle.
High levels of sodium have been closely associated with hypertension, commonly known as high-blood pressure. This is direct risk factor of cardiovascular events, including the #1 leading cause of death among the global population. Elevated blood pressure is estimated to kill 7.5 million people prematurely each year, roughly 13% of all deaths each year.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is a problem that has no boundaries. It affects men and women alike, all levels of the socio-economic scale, and in all geographical regions. If you are an adult over the age of 25, there is a 40% chance that uncontrollable blood pressure will be a health issue.
Simply put, the modern diet includes too much sodium to be considered healthy. In the United States alone, the average daily sodium intake for Americans (2 years or older) is 3,436 mg. Compare that figure with the 180 - 500 mg our bodies need on a daily basis to survive.
The Center for Disease Control has recently concluded that 9 out of 10 Americans consume salt at an unhealthy level.
From a dietary perspective, reducing the amount of salt in your diet will yield the best results in regulating blood pressure. How do we accomplish this?
**As always, feel free to use the navigation below to backtrack and get an overview of Healthy Diet Mentor and our plan to get you on your way to a lifelong healthy diet.
Your Healthy Diet > Clean Eating