We’ve all come across the term clean eating. Whether it was Jessica Alba’s diet, or a magazine that advocates healthy food, or perhaps even from your neighbor next door. But what does it actually mean? Under the umbrella of clean eating stand whole, unprocessed, or minimally processed foods instead of refined ones. It is not considered to be a diet, but a healthy lifestyle and a different approach to food and its preparation.
The benefits of clean eating
The first rule that applies here is, as nutritionists recommend, to fill three-fifths of the plate with fruits and vegetables, one-fifth protein and one-fifth healthy carbs. A diet of this sort will eventually result in lower risk of chronic diseases and also, lower mortality. Moreover, it is proved that clean eating prevents life-threatening diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes while getting a glowing hair and skin and a healthy weight management at the same time.
Which foods are “clean” foods?
Unprocessed foods that include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, farm-fresh eggs and dried legumes. However, clean eating doesn’t always mean eating raw food. You can also choose minimally processed foods with not many ingredients on the label. This includes unrefined grains (whole wheat bread and pasta, steel-cut oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice and quinoa), frozen fruits and vegetables, unprocessed meat, hormone-free dairy, oils. It is recommended to avoid pesticide-free organic food due to added hormones and chemicals.
How to cook your food?
In the process of cooking, there are some nutrients that are lost, such as vitamin C, but there are also some nutrients that are increased, for example lycopene. Therefore, the main rule about cooking is to manage to keep the integrity of the food by avoiding deep-frying or stewing in fats, i.e., high-fats cooking methods. Instead, you should stick to stir-frying and methods that don’t include any additives like steaming. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, raw is best, but steaming can always be your second option.
Just as any other eating concept, portions do matter. However, if you decide to include clean eating in your life, there is absolutely no harm in eating a doughnut every once in a while and embrace your indulgences.