What is Clean Eating and how can it help you lose weight?

Clean eating is a term used for eating foods as close to their natural state as possible – basically unprocessed, good quality protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and fats – not the pre-packaged, highly processed varieties! If you can't see the ingredients you are eating then its not clean! 

carrotsThe great thing about clean eating is that you don't have to count calories or follow some strict regime in order to lose weight. The closer a food is to it's natural state the more your digestive system will have to work to break it down, and therefore the more calories your body is burning during digestion. Think about the difference between raw vegetables and tinned vegetable soup – in the tin they are all mush and hardly resemble the fresh vegetable. The mush takes hardly any time to digest – so not only are you burning fewer calories during digestion, but you are also not giving your body the nutrients it requires to function at an optimal level.

If you just don't have the time to prepare everything fresh, then at least make some healthier choices such as snap frozen instead of tinned, whole pieces of fruit rather than fruit juice, whole grains rather than white flour products, unsaturated fats rather than saturated etc.

By whole grain carbohydrates I am referring to the brown varieties of foods – so instead of white bread, have multi grain or wholemeal, instead of white rice, have brown or even black rice, instead of white pasta, have wholemeal etc. 

You can get healthy fats from avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, olives, fatty fish – just not saturated fats that are bad for your cholesterol. 

Smothering your food in condiments or sauces may make them tasty, but these have a lot of hidden fats, sugars and salt, not to mention all the chemicals used to preserve them. Changing our cooking methods to incorporate herbs and spices as well as high quality, fresh produce which is in season – will allow our taste buds to be tantalized in a natural way.

We need to be eating a balanced diet that doesn't eliminate any food groups! Portion control is a huge key – if half your plate is filled with vegetables, your protein serve is approx the size of your palm and a quarter of your plate is filled with good quality carbs, you will give your body all the nutrients it needs. Weight loss and maintenance are definitely not just about cutting calories or fat, but about the types of foods you are eating. If you eat clean the majority of the time then the odd treat isn't going to hurt. And as with everything – make changes slowly – remember, it takes 30 days to make one new habit!

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