We’re not talking about making sure you wash your food before you eat it, we’re talking about eating good old, whole, unprocessed natural foods that are full of crap ingredients and preservatives. Try to eat as organically as possible, dependent on your budget.
Think more along the lines of skinless chicken meat (mainly breast), steak, mince beef or pork, fish, eggs, greek yoghurt. For those who don’t eat animal products, there are a variety of soy products, such as soy beans, fresh tofu (silken/soft/firm), miso, tempeh, and others. I would not recommend eating heavily processed tofu, or “texurised vegetable protein” that can be found in most meatless alternatives. Apart from the fact that they have a horrible texture, I don’t think they are very good for you. Quinoa (a pseudograin) and almonds/almond butter are also excellent sources of meat free protein.
When I say protein, I don’t mean frozen burgers that aren’t made of 100% meat, hotdog sausages or spam.
Grey areas are sausages and bacon – well, for me they are because I LOVE sausages and bacon. But I used to live on a farm, where we produced our own. So I always go for the sausages that have as much meat and as little grain/preservatives as possible. If you go to a farmers market or butchers, they will usually have excellent quality sausages. As for bacon, you will not find any in a supermarket that doesn’t have at least one type of preservative in it. For that reason, I’d recommend looking for the bacon which has the least nitrates in, or possibly sourcing it from a local farm, or a farmers market.
I’m afraid I don’t mean cakes, biscuits, refined flours, fries and potato crisps. I mean potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown or wild rice, brown pasta, wholegrain bread, wholegrain flour and oats (not instant!). Basically, anything that is “white”, such as white bread, white pasta, cakes, white rice have had their “goodness” removed during processing. And once it’s had its goodness removed, then it’s evil! So don’t put it anywhere near or around your mouth. You just don’t want that temptation.
In terms of sugars, I know sugar is not the best thing in the world. But everything in moderation. Feel free to eat honey, molasses, turbinado, maple syrup, agave nectar and brown sugar. When I say feel free, I don’t mean “eat it with everything” but you don’t need to feel guilty if you feel like having a tbsp of maple syrup of brown sugar on your oats in the morning. Sugar that you should stay away from is white sugar, it’s the sugar equivalent of having too much plastic surgery. Also, fructose is a no-no. Yes, I know it’s in fruit. But that’s before all the vitamins and nutrients have been sucked out of it. And, for the love of god, do not put sweeteners anywhere near your body! They are all kinds of wrong – they mess up your bodies ability to regulate appetite, some of them chemically change once in your body and that is not good. Plus, they taste like crap. I’d rather have a teaspoon of sugar in my tea, than a sweetener.
Fruits can be processed, in that they might be preserved in things that are not whole foods. Think canned fruit in syrup, shop bought fruit smoothies (which will invariably have large amounts of sugar, or be made from concentrate), fruit roll ups, high sugar jams/marmalades/fruit curds, etc. Try to eat whole fruit as much as possible, because it’s got more nutrients than fruit juice. Canned fruit is convenient, as long as it’s in it’s own juice with not added sugar, dried fruit is also convenient. And frozen whole fruit is super easy for yoghurts, or homemade smoothies.
I’m a big fan of using certain frozen vegetables. Unless you buy your veg weekly from a local farm or market, chances are it’s not that fresh. The longer between being picked and being on your plate, the more nutrients are lost. Plus, the fresher they are, the better they taste. Nothing can beat the taste of a piece of fruit or veg, fresh picked. I seriously encourage you to grow your own fruit and veg, if you have the means to do so. Once you have tasted a BBQ’d corn on the cob that has been picked but 20 minutes ago, a shop bought corn will taste bland and flavourless in comparison. I like to buy frozen broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas and broad beans because they keep well in the freezer. I don’t really like buying frozen green beans, when you blanch them, they are limp and look sorry for themselves. No thanks! Of course if you know anyone who grows their own veg, or can get some from a market or local farm, you could freeze them yourself to keep them as fresh as possible but also convenient.
Not all fats are bad. Unsaturated fats are good for you, most saturated fats are bad for you. Fats found in nuts, fish, avocados, olive oil, etc are very good for you. They help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol, can help with insulin resistance, help with the heart, and are required for good brain function. Saturated fats are found in butter and dairy products, meat, and junk food. Saturated fats are bad for you in high amounts. But if you have a steak (cut off as much visible fat as possible) and salad that contains avocado with a drizzle of olive oil, well that’s not too bad.
You will never find me putting margerine/vegetable oil spread anywhere near my bread. I always, without fail, use butter. Because I don’t eat bread that much. So I don’t use butter that much. And I would rather eat butter. Margerine made with vegetable oils is branded as being better for you, with marketing gimmicks such as “lowers cholesterol”, “fortified with omega-3”. Well, that might be true. BUT vegetable oils are supposed to be a liquid at room temperature. They hydrogenate the oil to convert it to a solid state. That’s not natural, and it’s not good for you. So you can keep your omega-3, cholesterol lowering fake butter thank you very much.
By eating clean, you get a well rounded diet. I’m definitely against cutting out whole food groups, it’s just not cool. And, this is a healthy lifestyle blog. Not one for Atkins, South Beach, or whatever other crap diets are out there.
And just because you eat clean, doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy nice food, or desserts. There are hundreds of recipes out there for clean eating desserts, that aren’t full of processed rubbish. I’ll be posting some recipes soon!
Ah, I said this was a quick guide, then I got on to rambling about homegrown veg. So maybe I should change it to “A Quick-ish Guide To Clean”?!
- Nutrional Food Guide (medicalspectrum.wordpress.com)
- Stock a Healthy Kitchen with Real Food (ourlittlefamilyadventure.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Budget-Friendly Foods (Healthy Ones!) (everydayhealth.com)