Spring is always a good time to starting cleaning up things in your life. Whether it be your home, car, office space, or more personal, such as cleaning up your health and diet. Spring is a great time to jump start or revive your healthy eating habits. With all the farmers markets and fresh food available to you now, it just makes eating healthier that much easier!
Eating Clean. What does that mean?
Have you heard people talking about "eating clean"? Have you wondered what that means? Although it is not a new concept, it has gained popularity in the U.S. over the past few years, and it is quite simple.
The general concept of eating clean is to consume food the way nature delivered it, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; it's a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life - one meal at a time.
Here are some quick tips on how to eat clean:
1. Limit processed foods. Try to avoid boxed or prepackaged foods. They tend to have higher amounts of sodium, fats, and sugars that your body does not need.
2. Increase your vegetable intake. Eating fresh veggies is about as clean and unprocessed as it gets. Buy from local farmers and organic as much as possible. For a helpful guide on which items you should really be buying organic, check this link out: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/
3. Cut back on saturated fats. Dairy products often have a lot of saturated fats, so try to swap out your butter and cheese with non-saturated fats such as olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish.
4. Reduce your alcohol intake. Keep your adult beverage drinking to one glass a day. Also, avoid mix drinks, as they usually have a lot of added sugars in them.
5. Decrease your sugar. Limit the added sugars you consume by taking out the sodas, candy, and baked goods in your diet. Instead add in fresh fruits that are naturally sweetened for your sweet tooth fix.
6. Watch your salt consumption. Most prepackaged food have a much higher sodium content than if you made the meal yourself. Before you pick up that quick easy boxed or frozen meal or side dish, check the sodium content. Excessive salt in you diet is not good for you. Try substituting the salt for other spices and herbs to add more flavor to your dishes.
7. Choose unrefined over refined foods. Eat whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, and add beans and legumes into your diet. Need some sweeteners? Try using "clean" sugars such as raw honey, maple syrup(organic - no added sugars in the ingredients), and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
As a general eating principle, include some protein, carbohydrates, and fats at every meal. Eating well balanced meals and snacks throughout the entire day will help you feel fuller and more satisfied. It will also give you the energy and fuel your body needs to keep you functioning your best throughout the entire day!
Revisit the food in your own home, and when you make your next grocery list, think about what items you can buy that would help promote a cleaner diet.
Then, as we say in my home, buon appetito!
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.