One of the most common New Years resolutions is to get healthier and clean up your diet and exercise routine. Thousands flock to gyms, look into the latest and greatest diet trends plus load their shopping carts with “healthy” food. But what do people really mean when they refer to their diet as “clean” or when a doctor tells you to eat a “clean, whole food diet”? With so much information out there, sometimes it’s hard to know what clean eating really is. We’re here to help!
Although you can find long lists of fad diets and trends, clean eating is something completely different. In fact, the purpose of adopting a whole food, clean eating diet is really to do away with the diet mentality and start looking at your relationship with food as a long term strategy. What do we mean by this?
The vast majority of “diets” out there are extreme and restrictive. Whether that’s restricting calories, minimizing fat or carb intake or simply restricting all food that tastes good and that we often crave – fat, salt and sugar just to name a few. While eating these foods in excess is never recommended, diets often leave us feeling deprived and frustrated. We’re hungry, miserable and malnourished and therefore get intense cravings and resort to binging or stopping the diet all together. Even if you complete the full course of the diet, you will likely not have learned much in the way of long-term habit changes and that will make it much easier to resort back to your old routine, gain the weight you lost back, etc. But what if there was another way?
Eating a truly healthy & clean diet is not about restriction or deprivation. Instead of opting for highly processed shakes, bars and frozen meals, eating whole, unprocessed food gives our bodies the nutrients and macronutrients we need to feel full, satisfied and happy. By consuming real food in the way of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and even organic and pastured beef, pork, chicken and wild fish, we are giving our bodies what they need to thrive without any excess fillers, sugars or preservatives. What often happens on a clean, whole food diet is that because you’re giving your body what it needs to feel satisfied, counting calories and restricting isn’t necessary.
By eating clean, you learn to read labels, understand what works for your body and what doesn’t and can utilize these strategies long-term. Instead of starting a diet and being miserable for several months, what if you used those same few months to re-acquaint yourself with healthy, whole food? Not only will it help you reach your goals, but you will learn about how beneficial and nourishing real food really is and prioritize clean eating indefinitely!