At Living Well, we drive home the importance of eating right to each and every one of our patients. The truth is, a well-balanced diet is the key to good health, and the first defense against disease. Not only that, but clean eating can also lead to healthy weight loss. In this three-part article series, we’ll teach you the foundations of clean eating, give you some easy-to-follow examples to take the guesswork out, and offer some advice on how to continue on your clean eating journey.
In our first article, we’ll show you how easy it is to eat clean, what foods to avoid, and where to start.
Clean eating the Mediterranean way
Clean eating can be described as eating whole foods with minimal processing, and avoiding unrecognizable (chemical) ingredients. The Mediterranean diet is the basis for many clean eating programs, simply because it’s one of the healthiest in the world. For over 50 years, scientists have studied the eating patterns of people native to the Mediterranean region and found that it’s associated with long, healthy lives with minimal chronic disease. The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, plant proteins (legumes and lentils), whole grains, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish, and plenty of herbs and spices. The Mediterranean diet isn’t really a diet; it’s a way of life that maintains good health.
Gain a nutritional advantage
While there’s no replacement for healthy eating, a recent large-scale study revealed the benefits of using meal replacement for weight loss. They found that participants with the most frequent consumption of meal replacements had nearly double the weight loss of those who consumed the least. That’s why we suggest LifeCORE to our clients who are embarking on the clean eating journey – it reinforces the Mediterranean dietary pattern and helps you achieve proper daily nutrition.
The clean eating basics
Not all foods are as they appear
There are a number of foods that are commonly perceived to be healthy, but should actually be avoided. This is because common foods like wheat, dairy, and soy often create negative reactions in the body as a result of a food allergy or delayed food intolerance. When these foods are avoided, most people feel better and notice improved energy when they eliminate common allergens from their diet. Make sure to talk to us about specific food intolerances, especially if testing has revealed other problematic foods.
Be sure to avoid the foods on this list:
- Oranges, orange juice
- Corn; any creamed vegetables
- Wheat, barley, spelt, kamut, rye; all products containing gluten
- Tofu, tempeh, soy beans, soy milk, and other soy products
- Peanuts, peanut butter
- Pork, shellfish, cold cuts, frankfurters, sausage, canned meats
- Dairy fats; milk, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream, frozen yogurt, non-dairy creamers
- Margarine, butter, shortening, processed and hydrogenated oils, mayonnaise
- Soda or soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, caffeine
- Chocolate, ketchup, relish, chutney, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, other condiments
- White or brown refined sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup
Reduce your sugar and caffeine intake
Limiting your sugar and caffeine will enhance your results and give you balanced energy. When you feel sluggish, it’s tempting to use sugar or caffeine to stay alert, but these quick fixes will leave you feeling worse in the long run. For a natural way to keep your energy steady and balanced, choose a small, healthy snack such as dried fruit with nuts, half a fresh avocado, sliced tomatoes with sea salt and basil, or veggie sticks with hummus.
Go organic and wild-caught
Go organic whenever possible. Look for foods (fresh, frozen, canned) that are USDA-certified organic. Select wild-caught salmon over farm-raised, and free-range and hormone-free chicken, turkey, and beef.
Be sure to stay tuned for the next article in this series, which will include a 14-day clean eating menu to take the guesswork out of what to eat to stay on track.