In the noisy world of social media, there’s an over-abundance of tips on how to eat healthy, dress fashionably and “make-up” yourself. But what all beauty bloggers forget is that true beauty doesn’t start in the gym, on pages of fashion magazines or with contouring kits: it starts on our plates.
Eating clean is not a new trend. As a matter of fact, “clean” is how nature intended food to be eaten in the first place. Beyond any diet, eating clean is a long-term investment in SELF. The quality of our lives is 100 percent dependent on one important vehicle – our body (sorry, Tesla). The main principles of clean foods are those that:
- Are made from whole food ingredients (fresh fruits and vegetables, dried legumes, nuts)
- Were made with minimal pesticides (think ‘certified organic’)
- Have not been processed (the way nature intended them)
- Free from additives or other artificial ingredients
In Ricky Gervais’ new stand up ‘Humanity’, he jokes about the multitude of opinions people have on even a solid fact such as Earth’s age. At the end of the day, Earth IS 4.5 billion years old. No opinion can ever trump (no pun-intended) scientific fact. The same goes for food.
“No disease can result from the deficiency of nonessential food components.” – Dr. Royal Lee, Father of Holistic Nutrition.
So What’s Up With Whole Foods?
Whole foods are those which are minimally processed, unrefined and otherwise kept as close to their natural form as possible. The result is a natural nutritional energy boost without additives or preservatives. And where, might you ask, do you find whole foods? Start by shopping around the perimeter of your grocery store, where you’ll typically find whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Mission Possible: Unrefine!
Have you ever thought what “enriched bleached flour” is and why is it enriched? In the food world, “enriched” or “refined” is not an elegant description of quality. Because the agricultural industry strips down valuable nutrients and microelements from whole grains (such as bran and germ) during “processing”, they become so nutritionally inferior they have to be mechanically “enriched.” Everything has already been perfectly arranged by nature so why go through this ‘process’? As more people are beginning to realize we no longer need to consume empty calories from refined grains, the ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet and brown rice are staging a comeback story that’s built for longevity.
Hey, Sugar Baby!
Sugar, sugar, sugar. It’s around every corner, but not all sugars are created equal. Clean, unprocessed sugars are:
- coconut sugar (low GI)
- date sugar
- raw honey (we said goodbye to honey because bees are more important to us)
- maple syrup (dark is even better because it has more nutrients)
Stick to this list and you’ll avoid some of the greatest offenders in today’s modern diet such as high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar! Keep in mind that ‘good sugar’ is only ‘good’ in moderation…
Building That Muscle With Clean Proteins
Clean eating includes eliminating a major violator from our plates: saturated fat. Most saturated fats are found in animal products, so how else do we get enough protein in our diet? Plants!
For us, if our protein has eyes, organs, children or parents we don’t want it. And just like any other protein source, plant-based proteins contribute to satiety, provide energy and help build and maintain muscle. It turns out there are tons of powerful, plant-based protein sources (and they aren’t refined or processed, either!).
Beans and other legumes are the “kings” of plant-based protein. Did you know that 1 cup of chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein, 12.5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of cholesterol?
“Beans and legumes keep you fuller longer because they are so fiber-rich. Animal sources of protein, in contrast, have no fiber at all. Beans and legumes are also much higher in antioxidants.” Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, Cleveland Clinic
Clean eating is not about dieting, it’s about maximizing every meal and every snack with nutritionally dense whole foods. By practicing “clean eating” we become more mindful of food’s pathway between its origin and our plates, allowing us to prioritize local and/or fair trade practices whenever possible. So next time you find yourself at the grocery store, “think clean”.
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