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There are so many opinions out there about food. I wouldn’t doubt that there is some group out there who proposes that we all just sit around and think about food, rather than actually eat “anything”! Hmmm, the whole thing is enough to make a girl’s head spin. I’m sure you have heard the term clean eating, so what is clean eating anyway?

What Is Clean Eating

When it all comes down to it, I think food is a great thing! It binds cultures together; it also symbolizes family, memories and tradition. So, maybe we are so conflicted about food because we can’t seem to wade through all the mixed messages. Is food good or bad? Should I embrace it or shun it?

What Is Clean Eating?

Personally, I want to embrace food as the immense blessing that it is and still have a balanced approach to eating it. That’s why I have decided that “clean” eating is the best way to go. Oh wow, so here I go again throwing out another confusing term! So, what is clean eating anyway? Frankly, I thought I had it figured out, but then I keep seeing the term used in conflicting ways.

For me, clean eating means consuming foods that are made out of component ingredients that can be readily identified. I thought I would do a little research to see if I am totally off base or if there was actually an explanation that jibes with my own interpretation. I came across this blog article on the ABC News website:

The truth is, it’s a very simple concept. “In some ways clean eating is what eating was always about,” said Dr.David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.

“Food that’s clean is food that’s for the most part real food and not encumbered with things that compromise health: artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, sugar substitutes,” said Katz.

The clean eating rule of thumb: The shorter the ingredient list, the better. No specific food is off-limits as long as it’s a real, honest-to-goodness food. In other words, this isn’t a “diet” that bans bread or sacrifices sugar.

“I don’t think sugar makes food unclean. Pure fruits are not unclean foods. You can add sugar to foods, and it can be clean. … It’s not about banishing any particular type of ingredient,” said Katz. ” It needs to be a holistic concept. There’s a real danger in placing it on just one ingredient.”

Source: abcnews.go.com

Why Should You Be Eating Clean?

I am sure you have heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” Well, that is exactly what medical health professionals are telling us. Our immune, digestive and metabolic systems are all affected by the foods we eat. Food choice also directly affects how our brains function, which naturally extends to the whole body.

Processed foods are cheap to produce, have a long shelf life, and are easy to store and distribute. Most foods that have a long shelf life have to be colorized to keep them looking fresh. They also have to be combined with various preservatives to stop them from degrading. This does not mean that you can never buy foods that are processed or convenient, but rather, you have to be diligent in reading the ingredients labels to fully understand what you are purchasing. The ingredient label is just as important, if not more so, than the level of calories, fat grams, etc. that is displayed above it.

Source: Brainline.org

Some Ingredients To Consider Cutting Out For Regular Consumption

Rather than placing all foods off-limits, maybe it’s better to consider some of those food additives that are the most harmful to our bodies.

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup – The body interprets high fructose corn syrup similarly to table sugar. Like sugar, this syrup contributes to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and high triglyceride levels. However, more significant is the fact that we know when we’ve taken a bite out of a cupcakes; however, we may not even be aware of how much of this sugar source we consume in processed foods.
  • Artificial Sweeteners – Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last decade, you have heard something about the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners. Plainly put, they come with a laundry list of side-effects. Again, I am not saying that I never drink a Coke Zero, but it is not a part of my steady diet.
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils – These oils are chemically processed to make them solid and to extend their shelf life. The bottom line on these oils is that your body is unable to break them down effectively, so a portion of them just hang around and eventually stick to the lining of your arteries. Go for the real stuff, like olive oil and real butter instead.
  • Artificial Dies And Colors: Need I say more than, they are artificial? There is significant study to suggest a correlation between different artificial components and a host of possible illnesses; including headaches, hyperactivity, and cancer, to name a few.

Clean eating is not about diets, fat-free or banning all sugar. I guess it really boils down to knowing what you are eating. Think about the last thing you ate today. If asked, could you write down a list of the basic components of that food? If so, then I think you are on the right track toward clean eating. I purposely did not add sugar to the list because I don’t want to promote the idea that one can never enjoy dessert. Instead, consider how you can take a more moderate approach to consuming it.

For me, clean eating is majoring on the foods that I can see, pronounce and define. For the most part, this idea takes one-step, processed entrees off the table. That doesn’t mean that I won’t ever make boxed Mac and Cheese again, but it does mean that I will serve it with other foods that have a simpler ingredients list. In the end, it’s all about balance and moderation. In this blog I periodically share clean, easy recipes that your whole family can enjoy.

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