Clean Eating Rules
One of the most popular ‘buzz words’ in the diet and health world today is ‘clean eating.’ The term is generally used to describe any type of eating that is natural and healthy, though some people also include certain other foods too. One really nice thing about the concept of clean eating is that it can be used along with most other diets. So, whether you’re looking for low carb, 5 meals per day, 12 hour fasting or just about anything else, following the clean eating rules will help take that diet to the next level.
If you’re looking to start a clean eating diet, you’ll want to take some time to learn the clean eating rules. These rules don’t lay out a specific list of foods you can enjoy and which ones to avoid. Instead, it gives you the principals to follow, which will allow you to choose the right foods based on your unique preferences.
Rule #1 – Find Your Favorite Vegetables
This is going to be one of the essential rules on any type of healthy diet so we may as well get it out of the way now. The more vegetables you eat, the healthier you are going to be. There are dozens of different types of veggies out there, and they can be prepared in many different ways so you’re sure to find some that you love.
While you don’t need to eat every type of vegetable out there, it is a good idea to add as much diversity as possible. A good tip for this rule is to attempt to choose vegetables that are all different colors. From bright red tomatoes to yellow peppers to dark green kale and many others, they each fulfill a different need for your body.
Rule #2 – Fruits are Great (in moderation)
Along with vegetables, fruits can provide a lot of essential nutrients that you won’t find in processed foods. The same general concept regarding choosing colors applies for fruits just like it does for vegetables. Choose blueberries, strawberries, watermelon and many others to get a healthy balance. You do want to remember that many fruits have a lot of sugar in them so if you are trying to limit your carb intake, you’ll need to regulate your fruit consumption as well.
Rule #3 – Drink More Water
It is nearly impossible to drink too much water on any clean eating diet. Fresh water with no additives can help keep nutrients flowing through your body. It also helps to flush out toxins and other unwanted contaminants in your body. For generations, the standard for drinking water has been 8-10 glasses per day, and that is still a great rule of thumb. When possible, make sure you always have a glass or bottle of water next to you so you can sip on it throughout the day. This makes it much easier to get the amount you require.
Rule #4 – Learn How Your Meat is Raised
Some people don’t realize that meats can be an important part of a clean eating diet. Finding the right meats, however, can be a challenge. Whether you prefer pork, beef, chicken, turkey or something else entirely, you want to make sure that the animal was raised without antibiotics, hormones and other unnatural things. Equally importantly, make sure they were fed a natural diet. Cows, for example, should primarily be eating grass and other wild greens that grow in the area. Chickens should be eating lots of bugs, seeds and other things that they will find while walking around on the farm.
In addition to watching what is put into the animals before they are slaughtered, you also want to make sure you know where they were living. If the animal was kept in a cage for all or even most of its life, its meat wouldn’t be nearly as healthy. Free range chickens, pasture fed cows, and other similar animals are going to be your best bet.
Rule #5 – Choose Your Drinks Wisely
While water was already covered in rule #3, you will almost certainly be drinking other beverages as well. Many people turn to drinks for caffeine intake. While you want to make sure you don’t overdo it, caffeine can be an acceptable part of your clean eating diet. If you need caffeine make sure you get it from black coffee or unsweetened green tea (ideally brewed at home). Of course, avoid sodas and even pre-mixed sweetened teas. To put it simply, if you’re not drinking water, you want to make sure your beverage has just one or two ingredients in it at the most.
Rule #6 – Don’t Count Calories or Fats
Many people make the mistake of choosing the food they eat based on how many calories it has in it or how many grams of fat. While this can be useful at times, it is almost never an indication of how healthy your food is going to be. Many fat-free foods, for example, are made that way by adding in lots of sugars or unnatural fat substitutes to compensate. While you’re not getting the high fat content (which may not be as bad as you think), you are eating unnatural foods that can cause a lot of health problems.
Rather than focusing on the number of calories or grams of fat, look at the total nutritional value of the food. Many foods can be higher in calories and/or fats but they provide you with a lot of important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. In these cases, it is completely acceptable to add them to your diet.
Never Stop Learning
These six rules are a great place to start and will be sufficient to begin your clean eating diet. As you get used to this way of eating make sure you continue to learn more about the foods you are choosing and how they impact your body. Over time, you will continue to make small adjustments to your overall diet, which will help you to become healthier and feel better.