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CLEAN EATING: WHAT’S THE HYPE ALL ABOUT?

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By now I’m sure you’ve heard the term “clean eating.”  If you haven’t looked into it for yourself, you may be wondering what the heck it is and what the hype is all about.  You’re in luck!  I’m here to help simplify it.

The standard American diet is loaded with sugar, fat, and sodium.  This can often lead to high blood pressure, low energy, and an unhealthy digestive system.  The best way to reduce your risk for many diseases, health issues, and mental health complications is to choose natural and minimally processed foods.  

Definition

Clean eating is eating whole foods, or “real” food.  It’s all about eating foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.

It’s not a fad diet.  Clean eating is a healthy lifestyle.  Clean diets focus on choosing foods that are low in saturated and trans fat, high in fiber, and are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.  Eating the least processed foods will help control blood sugar, stabilize energy, promote mental health clarity, and provide your body with sufficient amounts of fiber to help with digestion. 

Grocery Shopping

Once you get used to it, eating clean is actually going to simplify your grocery shopping.  You will generally stick to shopping in the outer perimeter/aisles of the grocery store, and choosing fresh foods over boxed alternatives.  Of course, there are exceptions for dairy, natural foods, and the bread/whole grain aisles.

To further simplify my grocery shopping, and to more easily fully examine product labels, I began online shopping with Thrive Market in February.  Like Costco and other warehouse wholesale retailers, Thrive Market is membership-based.  The cost is $59.95 per year, which breaks down to just $5 a month.  On average, you will save 15-25% off of retail prices.  I have personally price checked many popular items at Target and grocery stores and Thrive Market always comes out to be the cheapest for the exact same products.  Some food, health and beauty items I buy are literally $2-$3 cheaper.  Within my first two orders, my membership paid for itself.  In addition, you always get free shipping with a $59 order. 

After searching through the Thrive Market website and marking my favorites, all orders afterwards were a breeze.  I really like the convenience of it.  My grocery shopping trips take a lot less time since a lot of my items are now delivered to me.  Thrive Market offers everyone a free one-month trial membership, which is how I began and I’ve loved it ever since.

 

The 80/20 Rule

Does eating clean mean I need to eat perfectly all the time?  You’ll be relieved by this answer – NO!  This is where the 80/20 rule comes into play.  It’s a key part of the clean eating lifestyle.

Although it would be ideal to eat the freshest foods all the time, no one has a perfect diet.  Utilizing the 80/20 rule gives you guidelines for how to eat your healthiest while leaving wiggle room to indulge on occasion.

The rule is pretty simple: 80 percent of the time, eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; 20 percent of the time, eat the foods you enjoy that may not be good for your body, such as a drink with friends, a sweet treat, or your favorite takeout.

Following the 80/20 rule is a great way to establish habits for a healthier lifestyle.  By allowing yourself to occasionally enjoy the foods you crave, you’re less likely to have major cravings that send you on an unhealthy eating binge.

Which Foods Are Best?

It is best to eat a variety of foods and drink a lot of water.  As a guideline, you should be drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water.  For example, a 200-pound person should drink 100 ounces of water daily.

Each day choose a wide variety of foods from the vegetables and fruits list, including leafy greens, beans (green, pinto, black, lima), lentils, avocados, apples, bananas, berries (all types), kiwi, and oranges.  Experts suggest eating five to nine servings of fruits and veggies daily.  It sounds like a lot, but it is achievable. 

From the bread, cereal and grains list,  focus on eating 100% whole grains.  Some examples are whole wheat/grain bread, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice and high fiber cereals. 

Getting a variety of meat, fish, nuts/seeds, and dairy each day is very important too.  Stick to lean meats, including chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef, as well as fish like salmon and tuna.  Get a different serving of nuts or nut butters in each day, such as cashews, almonds, macadamias, walnuts, and pecans.  Healthy dairy items include Greek yogurt, milk, and eggs.

It’s important to intake enough fiber each day.  Experts recommend 32 grams of fiber each day to keep your heart healthy by lowering cholesterol levels, regulating blood sugar levels, and improving digestion, which can help prevent colon cancer.  By following the above guidelines, you’ll be able to get all 32 grams in.  

Clean Eating Help

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Stay tuned for my upcoming FREE 7-Days to Clean Eating email course.  I will offer education, tips, and recipes in a daily email to help you get on track with clean eating.

 

If you have any questions about this post or Thrive Market, please feel free to comment below or contact me via email or Facebook.  I look forward to corresponding with you.

 

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