What makes YOU Feel Good? Clean Eating: What it is and how to eat clean!

Everyone is talking about eating clean lately! More and more people are following the clean eating trend - not just celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and Nicole Kidman!

So, what is clean eating? Is it another celeb diet craze? Does it actually work?

Read on as the Feelgood Health team finds out everything you need to know about clean eating.

What is Clean Eating?

Eating clean is not a diet! It is a lifestyle change to improve your overall health and help YOU to Feel Good.

Clean eating is basically about eating whole foods in their natural form and eliminating processed and refined foods from your diet. This means eating foods in their natural state – fresh, organic produce that hasn’t been handled or doesn’t have anything added to it.

It’s about saying NO to all the junk food and processed foods that are so easily available! 

By making changes to your eating habits and following a few simple guidelines, you will lose weight, prevent and manage illnesses better and feel healthier and happier than ever before.
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How to eat clean

There are certain basic principles of eating clean that will help to keep you healthy and strong, increase your energy, maintain your weight and feel fabulous.

• Avoid processed foods

Processed foods are made from refined ingredients and artificial substances. They are usually high in sugar and trans-fats and low in nutrients and contain preservatives, colourants, flavours and texturants. Because of the way processed foods are manufactured, they are very rewarding to our brains - making us always want more! That is good for the manufacturers bottom line – but not for ours!

Reduce your intake of ready to eat foods such as cold meats, cereals, frozen dinners, takeaway meals, pasta sauces and salad dressings. Not all processed foods have to be eliminated and foods such as canned tuna, tomatoes or beans as well as frozen fruit or vegetables are perfectly fine to eat.
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• Cut out refined sugars

Most foods nowadays contain sugar which is responsible for the ongoing obesity epidemic in the world, as well as other illnesses. Our bodies do not need all these refined sugars!

There is quite enough natural sugar for your body in whole grains, fruit, veggies and legumes.

Start by eliminating sugary foods such as cereals, biscuits, pancakes, jams, and fizzy drinks from your diet. Check labels for foods that are made with refined sugars such as sucrose, fructose, dextrose, high fructose syrup or corn syrup to help you stay on track.

Watch out for so-called ‘fresh’ fruit juices as many contain high percentages of fructose! Rather squeeze your own!
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• Eat whole foods

Whole foods are foods that are free of artificial ingredients and additivesand have been processed as little as possible. These foods are usually fresh and organic produce such as whole grains, whole fruits and veggies, free-range eggs, chicken and meat, fish, low fat dairy products, seeds and raw nuts.

Foods that have been minimally processed such as frozen fruits and veggies, whole wheat pasta and bread, brown ice, quinoa and brown rice are also good to have when eating clean.
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• Eat six small meals a day

Eat smaller meals throughout the day to stimulate your metabolism, keep your blood sugar levels balanced, control hunger pangs maintain energy levels and manage your weight.

Your six small meals will include breakfast, a mid-morning snack, a light lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner and then another snack after that.
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• Combine lean protein with complex carbs

Eating lean protein together with complex carbohydrates will provide you with all the essential nutrients needed for a clean diet.

Complex carbs such as starchy vegetables and fruit, whole grain bread, oats, brown rice and quinoa are high in fibre and will help to stave off hunger pangs thereby keeping you fuller for longer.

Lean protein such as chicken, fish, meat, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, soy, low fat dairy and nuts and seeds will give you the necessary energy you need to get through the day, keep your heart healthy and help to manage your weight.
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• Prepare and cook your own meals

The best way to eat clean is to cook your own meals instead of buying them in a box or packet.

Fresh, whole foods hardly need much preparation and once you start noticing how delicious and different your food tastes to processed foods, you will really enjoying cooking clean. 

Preparing your own meals is also good for the planet as you cut down on unnecessary packaging which often can’t even be recycled!
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• Drink more water

You’ve heard it so many times, “Drink more water!”. Increase your water intake to two to three litres per day to cleanse and hydrate your body. D

Drink herbal tea or green tea or add mint, lemon, cucumber, strawberries, apple or oranges to your water for refreshing flavours.

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• Watch your portion sizes

It’s a fact that we tend to eat more when we are offered larger size portions. This doesn’t really help if you are trying to lose weight!

Control your portions by eating food on a side plate, eating the right size portion to maintain your weight and not having seconds.    
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While eating clean may seem challenging at first, you will reap the amazing benefits of  increased energy levels, noticeable weight loss, great looking skin and feeling fabulous!

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