BY LESLEY MAXWELL
Clean food is food that contains just one ingredient: itself. And you can put these clean single ingredients together to make a delicious meal, such as chicken, sweet potato, broccoli, Himalayan rock salt, and herbs and spices to taste.
In other words, clean foods are those that don’t come in a package with a host of ingredients you can’t pronounce, plus a list of numbers that represent artificial ingredients, preservatives and colours.
To help make it seem less complicated, below are 10 easy steps to get your ‘clean eating’ underway.
The ten steps to clean eating
When you’ve made the decision that you want to eat super clean and improve your health:
- Make this your ‘day one’, not just ‘one day’. Clean out your pantry. Do this after eating a meal as you’ll feel satiated and be more ruthless in throwing out sweet foods or biscuits. I often hear people say they need to eat everything first rather than throw anything out before they begin their new super clean eating lifestyle.
- Cut back on, or better still, eliminate soft drinks and sugar in your food and beverages. Begin by weaning yourself off sugar over a few weeks, as sugar is quite addictive. Start by halving your sugar consumption in your tea or coffee (if that’s what you drink) or in every second beverage. I use stevia powder as it’s a natural herb sweetener (although it tastes different to sugar) and I add molasses to my oats in the morning, as this tastes sweet to me, plus it contains minerals. Occasionally I use Manuka honey in my oats and coffee. Being mindful of eliminating sugar and making small changes will help you achieve healthy lifestyle and be more aware what you’re putting into your amazing body.
- Try to replace wheat with brown rice, buckwheat or another carb of your choice. Most wheat is highly processed, leaving the roughage needed to slow the digestion down too fine - and a spike in blood sugars is created.
- Have a ‘cheat meal’ once a week. Eliminate junk food on a regular basis. Instead, have it once a week for your ‘cheat meal’. Do include this one special meal a week if you like, as it will feel like your journey is a series of sprints rather than a marathon. For your regular meals, it’s surprising how easy it is to make a homemade hamburger, or your own version of fried chicken.
- Become familiar with your macros, as this is a very important step to your new healthy lifestyle. Choose a protein food, plus some fats at every meal and only one carb, whether you are eating out or at home. For instance, in a bought sandwich, ask for more of the filling, such as egg or chicken, plus more greens and then only eat one slice of bread, or only one half (top or bottom) of the roll.
- Watch your portion sizes. Serving your lunch or dinner on a smaller plate is one way of managing your portion sizes. And it’s surprising how your stomach will adjust and become satiated with smaller portions.
- After you’ve finished your meals it takes your brain about 20 minutes to realise that you’re full. So, after your meal, instead of having another serve, distract yourself by making a phone call, brushing your teeth, or having some sugarless chewing gum, as this will help take your mind off food.
- Start doing food prep during the evening, such as boiling some eggs and preparing a salad with a slice of buckwheat toast or bread, and take your meals and lunch to work the next day. Or put some leftover roast and veggies in containers to freeze for emergencies.
- Invest in your health by choosing to eat the best quality food you can afford, such as organic eggs and meat where possible. You’re worth it!
- No weighing and measuring — too stressful. I have found that weighing and measuring my food (or my own weight) is way too stressful and seems to have an unhealthy effect on my attitude to food. Trust yourself that your amazing body won’t let you down if you eat super clean food. And become aware of what you’re eating as far as macros (protein, fats and carbs) go.