written by Monique Garcia
We have all heard of the term “clean eating” at some point or another in our lives, but what is clean eating? Many people will have different definitions. I think that we can all agree that cutting out processed foods is an important step when wanting to clean up your diet.
What are processed foods?
Processed foods are not in their original form. They can be found in a can, a bag, or some sort of box usually. They usually have added chemicals, preservatives, and sugar. Some examples of processed foods are “convenience foods” like microwave meals, cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, and some breakfast cereals. Not all processed foods are bad for you, the key lies in the ingredients.
Many processed foods are created with a lot of preservatives and rot very slowly and some may never rot at all.
A diet high in processed foods usually leads to poor health and disease – heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Cutting out processed foods will help you feel more energy, help with regularity and just being healthier overall. It feels good to know that you are not putting things in your body that could lead to cancer or other diseases.
Here are 5 simple steps to begin cutting out processed foods:
- START S L O W
If you cut out all processed foods immediately, you may feel deprived. I started slow myself and went in stages. For example, instead of using creamer with artificial flavorings try using almond milk and cinnamon for your coffee. Try to opt for healthier versions of whatever you are already eating.
2. Begin to read ingredients list (on the label)
This is crucial. Start to look at what the ingredients are in your food. Processed foods tend to have tons of unhealthy ingredients in them. You can start by cutting out the chemicals, artificial colors and flavors which are very bad for your health.
“Research has shown that even small amounts of processed food alter the chemical balance in our brain and cause negative mood swings along with noticeable dips in energy.” – Marilu Henner
3. Clean out your pantry
Take a look at your kitchen and get rid of the the processed foods. If you have sugary cereals, boxed mashed potato flakes, cheese curls or canned spaghetti and meat balls get rid of them. The best way to make sure you don’t eat these foods is to not buy them. Just don’t bring them into your home.
4. Eat more WHOLE foods.
Whole foods are food that are in their natural form. The way the came from the earth. Whole foods are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to eating mostly whole foods every meal. This will fill you up and leave less room for the processed stuff.
5. Drink REAL beverages.
Many of us don’t pay enough attention to what we drink. If you are still drinking soda, I urge you to please begin to drink less of it until you are able to cut it out. What is soda? Whatever is in it, I know it isn’t natural and not designed for human consumption. It’s full of chemicals and colorants. Drink real drinks like water, REAL fruit and veggie juices (home made/cold pressed), coconut water, plant based milks, and herbal teas.
Start by making small changes and you will begin to notice a change. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below!
If you are interested in learning more about healthy eating and nutrition, check out our Release workshops!