Wherever you turn, different sources are telling you what foods to eat at what time – and rarely are any two theories the same. This can lead to a lot of frustration, confusion, and failure to stick with one diet, program, or lifestyle. Should you go gluten-free? Keto? Paleo? Should you do a Whole30 or Sugar Detox? Should you eat carbs? What about egg whites vs. yolks?
As a girl who’s tried almost every program under the sun, I’d start with clean eating and go from there. It might be your stepping stone to something more restrictive, but it could also be your end-game.
In a nutshell, clean eating fills (or more appropriately, fuels) your body with healthy, unrefined, and natural foods. Think lots of fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid sugar, boxed foods with a ton of ingredients, and any ingredient that is difficult pronounce.
Food Rules by journalist Michael Polland is a great little gem of a guidebook that simplifies clean eating. Michael’s bottom line is this: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Pretty self-explanatory, but he breaks it down into 64 rules covered in three sections of the book. Examples include: “Rule 11: Avoid foods you see advertised on television,” “Rule 36: Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk,” and “Rule 57: Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.”
The scary thing is that processed foods are literally everywhere, and they’re also a lot cheaper and more abundant than whole foods, especially in the winter. I mean, I would rather spend $3 on a box of cookies than $9 on a bag of grapes. Wouldn’t you?
Believe it or not, not every product that claims to be healthy or all-natural is found in nature. Gasp. Shocking, right? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they have not developed a definition for use of the term “natural” or its “derivatives.” That pretty much means that companies have the right to slap that label onto processed foods as long as they don’t contain added colors, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. Unbelievable.
Did you know?
There are over forty different types of sugars lurking on labels – beet sugar, cane sugar, honey, etc. They sound innocent, but are they really? Michael Pollan said it best: “sugar is sugar.”
Eating clean can be expensive or, rather, more expensive than eating processed crap, but it’s so much healthier and better for your body. It’s also a stupid simple road map that you can take day by day without worrying about sticking to a plan (or starting over if you “fall off the wagon”).