The clean eating plan focuses on the quality and origin of the products instead of their calorie content and nutrient composition. Following this eating pattern, you choose minimally processed foods that contain limited or no food coloring, artificial sweeteners, or other additives. Commonly, it is thought that the shorter the route between the source of your food and the plate, the better your health will be. The food you consume should be maximally close to its natural state. Therefore, a clean diet eliminates soy, grains, dairy, legumes, and other processed products.
A clean diet is a lifestyle rather than just a diet that contributes to weight loss after a few weeks of following it.
Clean eating contributes to weight loss, the strength of the immune system, brain and heart health, better sleep, as well as increased energy levels.
The fundamental rules of clean eating involve:
- Food for Nourishment. If you want to eat clean, you need to consume well-balanced dishes that nourish your body instead of just filling it up. Of course, you are allowed to eat snacks, but they should be healthy, just like your regular meals. It is easier to stick to clean eating when you consume homemade foods, prepare healthy meals and plan them ahead.
- Consume more natural foods. Following clean eating, you are required to consume less processed foods or refined products. While a few secondary ingredients are allowed, you may want to stick to the real deal most of the time.
- You need to give preference to plant-based foods. Unlike other types of food, plant-based products do not have issues with sugar, fat, carbs, or sodium. In addition, plant-based foods contribute to clearing out your digestive system, providing your body with antioxidants, protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin E, vitamin C, and others.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. The term “clean” is not definite to food consumption only. It is also referred to as a “clean lifestyle”, meaning adequate sleep, stress management, physical activity, hobbies, and healthy relationships.
Even though clean eating is highly restrictive in terms of processed foods, not all processed products are bad. Occasionally, the processing of food is actually needed to make it safe for consumption. The goal should be to limit your intake of processed foods, not eliminate them altogether.
You should remember that “processed” is considered anything that changes the form of the product. For example, steamed or canned vegetables and fruits, pre-jarred jams and sauces, as well as instant cereals are considered processed foods.
People who have a history of disordered eating or who experience it now. Especially, there is a high risk of orthorexia nervosa development.
How to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies
Clean eating eliminates certain healthy food groups that may possess a risk of fiber, B-group vitamins, vitamin D, and calcium deficiency. Therefore, pay attention to the listed products when planning your meals in order to avoid deficiency development.
- Fiber: pears, avocados, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, apples, beets, bananas, broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, artichokes, lentils, and almonds.
- B-group vitamins: leafy greens, salmon, eggs, sunflower seeds, trout, and beef.
- Vitamin D: mushrooms, salmon, and egg yolk.
- Calcium: seeds, almonds, leafy greens, rhubarb, and amaranth.
Furthermore, you should consider taking additional supplements, including omega-3, probiotics, vitamin D-3, and magnesium, to provide your body with sufficient amounts of nutrients.
Tips on improving your dieting experience
- Eat more frequently. Unlike other diets where you eat three meals and a few snacks daily, eating clean requires you to consume five or six well-balanced, nutrient-dense, healthy meals a day. Such an eating schedule helps your metabolism to be persistently fueled throughout the day. It inhibits the drop of your blood sugar levels, so you can escape that 3 pm energy lag, which forces you to turn to caffeine and sugary snacks for an energy boost.
- Plan your meals. It is easy to follow clean eating when you are at home with a full fridge of healthy foods. However, becoming hungry away from home can be a challenge for you if you do not have any food with you, and the simplest solution is to grab a meal in the convenience store. Therefore, you should always plan and prepare your meals ahead, regardless of whether you are staying home or going somewhere.
- Drink an adequate amount of water. You should drink a minimum of about eight 8-oz glasses or 2 liters of water daily. Getting enough water helps your body function at its best, from glowing skin to a healthy digestion system.
- Do not waste your calories on drinks. Soft drinks and specialty coffees are excessive in calorie content. On average, you can consume an additional 400 to 500 calories daily by drinking such beverages. It is better to choose water, unsweetened tea, or 100% fruit juice mixed with sparkling water.
- Manage your salt, fat, and sugar intake. It is a simple step, especially if you have already eliminated processed foods because such products are responsible for the biggest part of excess calories, sugar, fat, and salt. All of the listed components are typically found in low amounts in clean foods.
The clean eating program possesses health benefits due to the elimination of processed foods and giving a preference to plant-based products because of the lowered amount of consumed salt, sugar, fat, and food additives. However, this eating plan limits too much out of the diet, which can lead to health problems or disordered eating patterns.
If you want to improve your health or lose weight, it is better to consider a healthy lifestyle, a Nordic or Mediterranean diet, and regular exercise.