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A Clean Plate

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Many diet fads have come and gone, and the ‘clean eating’ trend is latest on the block. Trisha Ghoroi tells you everything you need to know about this new diet trend

Mealtime is one of the most exciting times of the day. Those on a diet, however, are probably tired of the same kinds of meals and the bland food that they are forced to eat. But clean eating is not a diet trend. It is a lifestyle that can set you on the path of a healthy life. However, unlike other diets that restrict food categories such as fats or carbohydrates, or are calorie controlled, clean eating promotes eating fresh produce. Instead of using processed foods such as tomato puree in your meals, clean eating encourages you to get your hands on fresh fruits and vegetables, untouched by processing methods. The main aim behind the clean eating diet is to reduce the gap that exists between the farm and your plate. So, follow these rules to eat cleanly and healthily.

AVOID PACKAGED FOOD

The first rule of clean eating is to avoid packaged food. Packaged foods are likely to involve more processing, so the freshness of the product is lost. Start by dumping chips, cookies, juice boxes and microwave meals in the trash. These food items are not only processed, but they also have a lot of added salt, sugar and saturated fat, which increases their calorie count. So, cutting down on these will do you a world of good.

INCLUDE WHOLE FOODS

Instead of buying a can of soup, get fresh vegetables and meat that you’ll need to make the soup, from your local market. Clean eating is all about including more fruits and vegetables in your diet. You can also include fruit and vegetable juice as long as it is fresh, but if you choose to buy packaged juice, make sure that it is free from added sugars and preservatives.

TRY GRAINS

Whole grains, those that are processed the least, make for a great addition to the clean eating diet. Include whole grains such as rice, oats and quinoa to your daily meal plans. Readymade grain products such as breakfast cereals, white bread and others lose their nutritional value when put through processing. To get vital nutrients, try home-made multigrain bread or wheat pasta. Switching out refined grains for whole grains increases the fibre content in your meals, and you gain antioxidants and phytonutrients, which help fight inflammation.  

CHECK YOUR DRINK

Keep an eye on everything that you drink, from your morning coffee to fruit juice. Even a bowl of soup for lunch and a glass of wine could be doing you harm. If you’re planning to adopt this diet, make sure that your drinks are not hampering your diet. It’s best to drink organic milk, the kind that involves minimal processing, so head to your local dairy for a glass of pasteurised milk instead of buying milk cartons. Check your drinks for added sugar and avoid excess calories by drinking herbal tea or infusing your water with the goodness of fruits. Drink coffee and tea without sugar. 

GO ORGANIC

Since clean eating focuses on unprocessed and chemical-free food, choosing organic options is the best way to go. Pesticides and insecticides sprayed on the crops not only harm the environment, but they also stick to the produce and make their way to your plate. Even the meat and poultry you consume is pumped with hormones, which can affect your health. The added hormones in meat have been linked with the early onset of puberty and reproductive problems. Organic grown produce is treated with natural insecticides and so is free of harmful chemicals. 

HOW MUCH TO EAT?

When sticking to a particular diet routine, since you’ll be eliminating certain foods from your daily diet, you may feel like bingeing on the food that you are allowed to eat. Here’s how you should maintain a healthy balance with the foods you eat.

  • Include foods rich in protein and fibre in your main meal to avoid over-eating.
  • When you feel like eating a bag of chips because you’re ‘hungry’, think about whether you would rather eat an apple. If not, then you’re not hungry, you’re just bored or restless.
  • Use smaller plates and bowls to serve yourself in. Bigger plates make food portions look smaller, so you tend to fill your plate.
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