With every new year – and any change of season, really – we hear and talk about a reset. To reset routines, ditch unhealthy habits, wash off the stress of busy periods, and move forward with a refreshed approach. While prioritizing care and exploring change is always a good idea, we believe in a holistic, year-round commitment to health and wellbeing, which includes a balanced, nutritious diet. Enter clean eating.
To eat clean, by definition, is to eat whole, natural foods with minimal or no use of chemical additives and preservatives. The concept emphasizes fresh, slow-metabolizing, and plant-based produce instead of processed foods, animal products, and added salts and sugars.
Before we delve into it: We won’t ask you to ditch dairy, gluten, meat, caffeine, and sugar altogether. But to be more conscious of what you eat and hence enjoy myriad health benefits, like effective digestion, a stronger immune system, clear skin, improved mood, and high energy levels. To embrace a rainbow of vegetables and fruits as well as legumes, whole grains, and healthy proteins and fats. And think twice about any foods with ingredients you’d need to google or look up in a science journal.
Ultimately, you know your body and its needs best. So, this invitation to clean up your diet is also an invitation to listen closely. As you strip away certain foods and add in others, what makes you feel most energized, clear, and satisfied?
How to Clean up Your diet, Effortlessly
01 Eat your vegetables, fruits, and legumes: You have so much to choose from this food group. Significantly decrease your risks for several illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Whole produce like lentils, beans, avocados, and berries are particularly fiber-rich, and help keep your microbiome, the diverse collection of bacteria that live in your gut, happy. This can reduce your risk for autoimmune diseases, fight off infections, and improve your mood.
02 Go whole grain: Industrialization truly changed the way we consume grains. While refining wheat creates the fluffy flour that makes light, airy bread and pastries, the process strips away more than half of wheat’s B vitamins, 90 per cent of its vitamin E, and virtually all of its fiber. Exchange refined carbs like white pasta and white bread for brown rice, oats, quinoa, and bulgur, to name but a few choices.
03 Keep some processed foods: While most of them get a bad rap for obvious reasons, don’t part ways with milk (go plant-based or organic), plain yoghurt and cheese.
04 Watch your sweet tooth: Cut down on added sugar found in sodas, juices, and baked goods. Instead, stick to naturally occurring sugars in fruit and dairy, which also have fiber, protein, and fat to help blunt the effect of sugar on insulin levels.
05 Contribute to climate action: All of these steps are good for you and the environment. The meat industry, modern fishing practices, and produce production not only hugely contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions, but also destroy and threaten copious animal species and natural habitats. Consider shifting to a plant-based diet – if that’s not an option for you, go for organic, grass-fed meat and sustainably caught or farmed seafood. Also, buy your fruits and vegetables organic, by season, and locally.
Further explore the topic of digestive disorders with our audio and video content pieces. They offer holistic solutions and expert advice, and will empower you to take an active and preventative role in your health.