Firstly let’s clarify what we mean by the word ‘diet’. For those who know me you will know that I don’t believe in ‘dieting’ i.e. a way to lose weight on some strict or weird eating regime.
No what I mean by ‘diet’ in this context is a way to eat that will keep you in the maximum health and vitality. This is a lifestyle choice, a new way to look at the foods you eat on a daily basis.
For me the best way to describe what I consider to be ‘clean foods’ are natural foods. These would be foods that grow. Foods that don’t have additives, preservatives or anything else added to them.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
So we’re talking fruit and vegetables, whole grains, plus healthy fats and proteins. No processed foods, those with added sugars, salt and unhealthy fats and if you can cut those out altogether that would be a bonus but certainly cut down on them.
Eating clean is a good way to refresh your eating habits: it’s about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups—and eating less of the not-so-healthy ones.
Clean eating means filling your plate with real, whole foods, eating a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, moderate amounts of lean meats and sustainable seafood, dairy, nuts and seeds and healthy oils.
You don’t need to eliminate any of the food groups. Eating clean also means choosing foods that are in season.
Let’s be a bit more specific. Firstly for optimum health you need to be drinking water. Water will flush out the toxins that accumulate in the body and system through just living in the 21st century. Water will hydrate you, help you lose weight and inches if that’s what you’re after, and flush your kidneys to keep the system working efficiently.
So as I said fruit and vegetables let’s start with apples.
Apples are great. They taste good, and, although they will never replace your toothbrush, biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria. Apples could keep Alzheimer’s away by fighting the effects of aging on the brain.
Apples can also protect against Parkinson’s. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings which means eating one apple a day you are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
How about all those luscious summer fruits?
Strawberries, peaches, nectarines, blackberries, plums, the list goes on. All amazing and wonderful for your health and so delicious.
Bananas, I believe, are one of the best ‘fast food’ around.
Complete with their own packaging which is easy to shed, bananas contain potassium and are able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attacks.
Due to their high levels of something called tryptophan, bananas help overcome depression. Two bananas before a strenuous workout will give an energy boost and sustain blood sugar levels.
Bananas can improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms. Bananas help overcome depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.
They also have high levels of vitamin B6 which helps with the production of white blood cells, reduce swelling and protect again type 2 diabetes.
Oranges and all citrus fruits are great for you to with masses of Vitamin C and help fight constipation and IBS as well.
Cruciferous vegetables are wonderfully good for clean healthy eating.
Vegetables like kale, which is so versatile, raw in smoothies and juices, stir fry, baked, and delicious and more iron than even spinach.
Other vegetables to put on your plate are carrots, sweet potatoes (much better for you than regular ones), broccoli, cabbage (of which there are many varieties).Swiss Chard, spring greens, pak choy, runner beans, spinach.
Then of course you have all the wonderful salad vegetables and leaves, vegetables like. cucumber, tomatoes, celery, chicory, radishes, sweet peppers.
Healthy grains are another clean eating ingredient to add your plate. Grains such as bulgur wheat, brown rice, barley, buckwheat and corn.
A ‘new’ superfood which you might not have heard of is quinoa (pronounced kinwa).
It’s very high in protein, gluten free, it looks like a grain but is a seed, is absolutely delicious, comes in different colours and is absolutely ideal to add to your clean healthy eating plate.
Clean eating also covers legumes such as alfalfa, clover, soy and peanuts.
Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses.
When cooking choose extra virgin oil and coconut oil, both of which are now readily available in stores. Make your own salad dressings and that way you’ll know exactly what goes into them.
So you can see with all those delicious non processed foods, there’s masses of variety, add protein like lean chicken or fish and you’ve got an incredibly healthy way of eating that really is going to do you the world of good, give you energy as well.
Get used to checking labels in the stores. Check for added sugars and other added ingredients. Often those marked ‘healthy’ or ‘lean’ or some such are no such thing at all.
If you buy vegetables and fruit and you cook it all up yourself you’ll know exactly what’s going into each meal. It might take a bit longer but boy is it worth it, not only in taste but for your general well being.
Another bonus from eating clean foods rather than processed one means that your lungs, liver, heart, kidneys, well all your organs in fact are going to thank you because you will be ingesting good stuff that helps them all work perfectly.
Constipation, IBS and heartburn will disappear and, if that’s not enough, if you do want to lose a pound or two this is an ideal way of doing it.
Like I said right at the beginning, this is a lifestyle change but so worth it.