What does eating clean mean to you? Maybe it's having a salad with no dressing. Maybe it's eating strictly fruits or vegetables. Maybe it's not adding any sort of seasoning to any of your food because flavorless meals seem to be the way to eat. If you eat clean, you'll look lean right?
We have to learn to escape the fad diets and the completely restrictive eating habits that are demolishing our health. This begins with detaching your thoughts from "eating clean". You can eat as clean as possible and still have declining health. Why? Because you're not eating right.
What is clean for you may not be RIGHT for you. When eating, think nutrition. NUTRITION is what will fill fuel your body and mind for the day.
What is nutrition exactly? The scientific definition is: Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism, and excretion.
My definition is: Eating healthy and well balanced whole meals necessary for optimizing health and growth.
Yes, eating clean is part of eating right. But do not starve yourself from important nutrients because you "believe" eating clean is snacking on carrots and a dry salad. By the way... to break this 'don't eat carrots myth' because of it's high glycemic index.. welp, they have a very low glyemic load. So if you're watching your blood sugar, it's OK to have a few carrots. You'd have to have a huge bowl of them in order to experience the negative impact of a high glycemic food on your blood sugar levels. Moving on...
What do you need eat in order to eat right? This depends several factors:
- Your current health status
- Your health, wellness, sport-specific goals
- Current life style (are you highly active, moderately active, or sedentary)
- Physical activity level
A great way to begin is to go to the doctors and get a physical. Face that fear of the "white coat syndrome" and get your check up. Get blood work done as well. This will give you a solid baseline of what your current health status is. Then you can begin to plan where you need to improve your health and how you can implement your meals to improve in those areas.
How do you even know IF you need to change up your diet? Ask yourself these questions.
- How are your energy levels?
- How is your mood?
- How do you feel after eating certain foods?
- Do you feel lethargic or energized after eating?
- Do you feel like your metabolism is slow?
- Do your joints hurt after eating your favorite sweets?
- Do you feel bloated after eating certain foods?
If you said yes to any of those questions and it's consistent, then you most definitely should considering changing what it is you're eating.
Think of it like this, your body is your vehicle. It's a unique vehicle that allows you to experience the world around you. In order for your vehicle to function opitmally you need to take care of it by fueling it correctly. You wouldn't put in the wrong gas into a Rolls Royce would you?
So when you invest in your groceries, stay away from what's convenient. Do not eat what you believe is clean. Purchase food that your body needs. Your body needs micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), your body needs clean sources of macro nutrients (the RIGHT carbs, protein and fats). Your gut microbiome needs to be fed as well (natural probiotics such as miso, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, kauerkraut and pre-biotics such as asparagus, bananas, onions, garlic, apples, oats).
Clean eats may not provide you with all the valuable nutrients that your body needs. When you eat right, you are consciously aware of what it is you're putting into your body thus making the right choices for fueling and optimizing nutritional intake.