Clean Eating 101: Eight Steps to Finally Eating Right!

Clean Eating 101: Eight Steps to Finally Eating Right!

If what you eat just hasn’t been on your radar or if you are so confused by the mountains of nutritional information out there, then here is a quick and dirty guide to get you on your way to eating right.

First of all, what do we mean by “clean eating?”

While we can (and eventually will) get very technical on what we should or should not be eating (Should I avoid beans? How about soy? Paleo anyone??) the concept of eating clean is simple: It is a lifestyle approach to eating that stresses eating healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. Simple? Simple. But as with all major lifestyle changes it is not easy. I encourage you to set a goal of eating “clean” 80-90% of the time. Eventually. Baby steps!

 So here are the basics:

1. Eat organic whenever possible. When not possible, be sure to avoid the “Dirty dozen.”

2. Eat food that is local or home grown.

3. Avoid refined oils/trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils).

4. Avoid the most toxic foods:

  • High mercury fish (tuna steaks, swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish)
  • Non-organic eggs and dairy
  • Again, the dirty dozen fruits/veggies

5. Chose whole and unprocessed foods.

6. Choose foods that are not genetically modified or non-GMO. This is best done by avoiding processed foods or look for the USDA Organic or non-GMO Project label.

7. Eat a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens. If you change nothing else, this is an excellent place to start. Make it a priority to get 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet from all colors of the rainbow every day.

8. Avoid foods that you are “sensitive” to. A food sensitivity occurs when the immune system responds to foods that we eat commonly and frequently and results in vague symptoms that are difficult to interpret (e.g. fatigue, “brain fog,” memory loss, muscle aches, headaches). These can be discovered by following an Elimination Diet or through specialized lab testing (IgG4 testing).

Begin to gradually make these changes and you will be on your way to a lifestyle that promotes vibrant health. Just remember that it won’t happen overnight. When you get off track return to this list and begin again. Before you know it your cravings will be gone and you will find yourself automatically reaching for whole, healthy, unprocessed foods!