Your Clean Eating Commandments for Fall
A clean eating diet can change your energy levels and overall health. The seasonal shift to fall brings an opportunity to have a whole new group of fruits and veggies to add to your plate and home menu.
First, learn about what this clean eating diet is all about and what are the benefits of following a clean eating diet. Then find out more about the principles of clean eating and our top tips to help you succeed.
What Is Clean Eating?
You’ve heard the term clean eating a million times. But do you even know what clean eating and a clean eating diet is?
You may already know that a clean eating diet doesn’t have to do with the cleanliness of your food. Sure, you should wash your veggies and preferably, don’t pick up food from the dirty ground, but this is not what we are talking about.
A clean eating diet simply refers to a healthy and nutrient-dense diet. It involves real foods (i.e. whole foods and minimally processed food from natural, whole-food ingredients) that provide maximal nutritional benefits. Ideally, you want to consume foods as close to their natural state as possible.
Eliminate, or at least limit highly processed foods, junk food, artificial ingredients, and other unhealthy choices that are low in nutrients. Choose organic, ethical, and sustainable foods as much as possible. Home-cooked meals are important.
Benefits of a Clean Eating Diet?
Why is a clean eating diet so important? Two words: your health.
A clean eating diet is high in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, clean protein, healthy fats, and good carbohydrates. A clean eating diet is anti-inflammatory and may help to reduce inflammation, pain, and the risk of disease. It may help to increase your energy and help you feel better than ever.
Are you in? Let’s check out your clean eating commandments for the fall, then learn some helpful tips for beginners if you are new to a clean eating diet.
Your Clean Eating Commandments for Fall
Remember, these clean eating diet commandments are only guidelines. If you are coming from a Standard American Diet, it may take a while to eat a healthy clean eating diet. Don’t worry, after these clean eating tips, you will find some tips to make you clean eating diet journey easier, no matter what stage you are at.
Eat More Greens, Vegetables, and Fruits
Greens, vegetables, and fruits are incredibly healthy and absolutely essential for your health. They are abundant in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to lower inflammation and fight free radical damage. They are rich in fiber that supports your digestion.
Make sure to eat an good variety of greens, veggies, and fruit to meet your needs. You may eat them raw, steamed, sauteed, or cooked. They are also perfect for green juices and smoothies.
Speaking of vegetables, don’t forget about herbs and spices either. They are full of nutrients and added health benefits. You may also want to add some legumes and beans for more protein.
Here are some examples of our favorites for a clean eating diet:
- Greens: spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, mustard greens, cabbage, and beet greens
- Herbs and spices: turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, basil, and dill
- Non-starchy vegetables: cucumber, celery, peppers, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, and Brussel sprouts
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, carrots, beets, squash, and corn
- Legumes: peas, beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Fruits: lemon, lime, oranges, apples, pears, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapples, and bananas
Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods are foods that have been modified from their natural state. Most heavily processed foods have been stripped from their natural fiber and are low in nutrients. They likely contained added sugar, refined oils, artificial ingredients, and other unhealthy chemicals that may increase the risk of inflammation, chronic pain, and disease. Choose nutrient-dense whole foods instead.
While eating whole, fresh foods are ideal, your clean eating diet may still involve some packaged foods, such as nuts, seeds, nut butter, honey dried fruits, frozen vegetables, yogurt, granola, nut milk, meat or meat substitutes.
When you are buying packaged foods, it is absolutely essential that you read labels. Many packaged foods include added sugar, refined oils, preservatives, and artificial ingredients that may contribute to inflammation, pain, and disease. Remember, you want to eat foods that are as natural and healthy as possible.
Make sure that your food has the least ingredients possible, and doesn’t include added sugar, refined oils, and artificial ingredients, and other unhealthy ingredients. Labels help to make sure that your food is safe for potential dietary restrictions, such as being gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, or paleo.
Eliminate Refined Carbs
Carbs have a bad rep. The truth is that carbs are not bad, but refined carbs may be. Refined carbs are highly processed and provide little to no nutritional value. However, they may contribute to inflammation, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, obesity, chronic pain, and other health issues. Choose pseudograins, whole grains, and starchy vegetables instead, as they are rich in nutrient and fiber and may help to enhance your health.
Say No to Sugar
On a clean eating diet, it is important that you avoid refined sugar and added sugar. They are high in calories, low in nutrients, and may lead to inflammation, diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and other health issues.
Remember, refined sugars, such as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are hiding everywhere. There are not only in chocolate, cakes, and baked goods, but sauces, condiments, soups, packaged foods, and processed foods. This is why it’s crucial that you read your labels.
You don’t have to be afraid of all sweets though. Entertain your taste buds with whole fruits and sweet vegetables. Sweeten your teas, baked goods, and other fruits with stevia or monk fruit.
Avoid Refined Oils
Refined vegetable oils and spreads, such as margarine are not part of a clean eating diet. They are highly processed created by chemical extraction. They are high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and may lead to inflammation, weight gain, heart disease, and other health issues.
While a clean eating diet doesn’t include vegetable oils and spreads, it is important that you don’t forget about fats altogether. Eat plenty of healthy fats, such as coconut oil, avocadoes, avocado oil, olives, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, nut butter, and if you are not a vegan or vegetarian, fatty fish.
Choose Organic and Ethically Raised Animal Products
If you eat animal products, make sure that it’s from healthy and ethical sources. Livestock on factory farms are raised in crowded and unsanitary conditions and are given antibiotics and growth hormones to maximize their growth. They are usually fed grains instead of their natural diet, grass. This results in meat and animal products that are unhealthy and inflammatory to your health. Factory farming not only leads to animal suffering and unhealthy animal products but also generates a lot of waste and environmental concerns.
If you eat animal products, make sure to choose organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, lamb, bison, and poultry, wild-caught fish, wild game, and pasture-raised, free-range eggs. Limiting your animal consumption may be a great idea. Meatless Mondays, for example, are a great way to start. Make sure to always focus primarily on plants. If you are worried about protein, tempeh, tofu, lentils, beans, chickpeas, nuts, quinoa, and plant-based protein powders are fantastic plant-based protein sources.
Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is made by fermenting a mixture of yeast and grains, fruits, or vegetables. While certain alcohol may have some health benefits, for example, a glass of wine may boost your heart health, frequent alcohol consumption is not recommended on a clean eating plan. It may lead to inflammation, weight gain, belly fat, digestive issues, and liver disease among other health issues. Make sure to limit your alcohol consumption to a moderate level or eliminate alcohol altogether on a clean eating plan.
Tips on a Clean Eating Plan
While these tips are particularly useful to those who are beginners on a clean eating plan or who are intermediate and familiar with the principles, making strides forward, but still struggle at times, they may serve as a reminder to any advanced clean eater as well.
For newbies on a clean eating diet, it may be scary to eliminate processed foods and other inflammatory foods right away. It may be easier to use the approach of ‘crowing out’. Add more greens, veggies, fruits, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and clean protein to your diet. As you start eating healthier and adding more nutrient-dense foods, you will naturally start to limit your intake of unhealthy foods. Soon enough, you will notice that your taste buds have changed and you are craving healthy foods.
Substitute with Vegetables in Recipes
You can boost your health by sneaking in vegetables whenever you can. Make pizza crust out of cauliflowers. Try spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Enjoy kale chips or homemade sweet potato fries instead of potato chips and French fries. Try a sweet potato toast instead of bread, lettuce or collard greens instead of wraps and tortilla, and portabella mushrooms instead of a hamburger bun.
Choose Healthy Snacks
Avoid vending machines and packed snack foods. Muffins, crackers, granola bars, and candy are high in sugar and vegetable oils. Opt for vegetable sticks with hummus or guacamole, fruits, nuts and seeds, homemade granola, and raw bliss balls instead.
Start One Meal at a Time
You don’t have to overhaul your diet right away. Start one day or one meal at a time. You may want to eat a healthier diet one or two days a week at first, and gradually increase your day. Better yet, start with one meal each day. Eat a healthy breakfast on a clean eating diet. When you are ready, add a healthy lunch, and graduate to a healthy dinner and snacks.
Make Water Your Primary Beverage
Sodas, energy drinks, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks are full of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and additives. They may be dehydrating and unhealthy. Choose water instead. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. As a bonus, add herbal tea, green juices, and superfood drinks for extra hydration and nutrients.
Make Green Juice, Green Smoothies, and Vegetable Soups
Green juices, green smoothies, and vegetable soups are a fantastic way to eat more veggies into your day without an effort. Avoiding the fiber, green juices bypass your digestion providing loads of veggies and quick, healthy energy. Green juices are loaded with fiber and vegetables allowing more sustained energy. Vegetable soups are warming and delicious ways to add nutrients to your clean eating diet on a nice fall day.
Start Meal Planning
A clean eating diet can be overwhelming at first. Planning your meals ahead of time is super helpful to reduce anxiety and stress, and make your busy life easier.
Create a meal calendar and a shopping list. Shop and cook over the weekend. Recycle your recipes, but add a new recipe every one or two weeks. You don’ have to cook seven meals for each day: you can eat the same meal two or even three times a week, especially by switching off the sides or protein sources. Left-overs are your friends: today’s dinner maybe tomorrow’s lunch.
A clean eating diet doesn’t have to be hard. If you follow our clean eating commandments for the fall and our clean eating diet tips, you will be successful and may notice a difference in your health and energy in no time.
Do you follow a clean eating diet? What are your favorite meals on a clean eating diet? We would love to try your favorite recipes, make sure to share them in the comments!
And remember, we are in this together.
Kat Gál is a holistic health writer who helps health, wellness, and nutrition businesses to market their products and services through quality online content. She is also a freelance writing mentor teaching wanna-be-freelancers how to make a living writing at freelancewriterschool.com. Reach out if you are looking for amazing blog content at firstname.lastname@example.org or katgalwriter.com. Visit freelancewriterschool.com for freelance writing tips. Follow me on Instagram @freelancewriterschool and on Facebook at facebook.com/katgalwriter.
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