We’ve all heard about the holistic eating trend and how we should be eating ‘clean’, but what does it all mean, and are the benefits really worth it? We take a look and provide some simple tips to make it easy.
Bamboozled by the buzz around ‘super foods’? Do you ask yourself whether buying organic is really worth the extra cost? And what on earth are chia seeds and noni berries? There are so many benefits to eating clean and getting back to basics with nutrition – you’ll lose weight, have more energy, sleep better and guard yourself against disease.
Clear skin, healthy hair and glistening eyes are also far more affected by what you put in your body than whatever expensive face cream or hair tonic you use.
Author Lee Holmes is just one health advocate urging people to spend time and money at their local farmers market rather than the cosmetic counter. “You don’t have to pay squillions of dollars for a daily supply of collagen drinks to have beautiful skin and look ageless,” she writes in her book Eat Yourself Beautiful.
“An inexpensive bunch of organic spinach is packed with enough collagen to boost new skin cells, plump up limps, keep skin firm and provide lustrous shiny hair, bright eyes and strong nails.”
Here are seven simple tips you can apply to your diet today.
First, what is clean eating?
Basically, clean eating is about limiting the amount of processed foods in your diet, and becoming more conscious about where your food comes from. A basic rule? If it comes in a packet and has more than four ingredients or a huge list of numbers, it’s probably not good for you. Prioritise unrefined, unprocessed real foods and minimize processed foods that are full of with preservatives, artificial sugar and fat.
1. Use the 80/20 rule
Foods that contain food additives, pesticides, refined and chemically foods are foreign to the body and put unnecessary stress on the liver’s detoxification processes. But in today’s modern society, it can be hard to totally cut out fatty, sugary foods (and let’s be honest, some taste really good!) So instead of being wracked with guilt every time you indulge, go for the 80/20 rule.
Eat with a halo 80% of the time, and give yourself some space to indulge the other 20% of the time. Throw out fad diets for good, and instead, if you feel like indulging a little, do it!
2. When you indulge, make it good quality
If you are going to have some chocolate, diary or fatty foods (which are all known to promote inflammation) go for the highest quality you can afford. Yes it will be more expensive, but you’re more likely to eat less and savoir it more. And the ingredients will be much better quality, and it will taste great!
3. Cut down on sugar and ‘fat free’
Nowadays, sugar is everywhere and that includes pretty much everything that is ‘fat free’ as well – including breakfast cereals, breads, biscuits, sauces… The list goes on.
Sugar is blamed for everything from compromising your immune system and causing bloating, causing skin problems, weight gain and mood swings, and people that have cut down or completely eliminated sugar repeatedly report it’s one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. Sugar actively ages you by speeding up the degradation of elastin and collagen, two key skin proteins. If a sweetener is absolutely necessary, use Stevia as chemical sweeteners can trigger a blood sugar fluctuation.
4. If it doesn’t grow, don’t eat it
We all know we should be eating more fruit and vegetables. But while eating more of these whole foods has the benefit of providing your body with essential nutrients and vitamins, you’ll also be crowding out the breads, cheeses, sweets and other refined foods. Changing up your diet and increasing your vegetables infuses your skin with live phytonutrients – and this is what will make your skin glow.
5. Read the label
Next time you go to the supermarket, read the ingredient list. You may be shocked to discover a long list of numbers – and maybe you have no idea what they mean! Instead, try to stick to the 4 ingredients or less rule. If it has more than four numbers, it means it is probably loaded with colours and preservatives. If it’s a tin of pasta sauce you want, why not consider making your own from scratch? It will probably taste better too!
6. Buy organic
There’s been a lot of buzz around organic food, but it can be hard to justify why you should be paying more. There are advocates for both sides of the argument, but you may be shocked once you start taking a good look at the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that our fruit and veges are subjected to before it hits the shelves.
Organic, locally grown food is usually higher in nutrients, uses practices that support our natural environment, is not exposed to gas ripening and lessens you exposure to antibiotics. It also lasts longer! One week, try and buy just one item of organic – it might be your apples, carrots or spinach- and taste the difference.
7. Make each meal a ‘rainbow’
An easy way to know if you’re getting enough of your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals is to try and make each meal a rainbow of colour – with greens, yellows, oranges and purples.
Also use herbs and spices like cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, oregano, basil, thyme and cilantro in your cooking (fresh is always best) and swap out your iodinated table salt for sea salt.