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The Modern Rules of Clean Eating

Clean eating is a modern term for a long-standing movement. Many people believe that purifying the way we eat enhances our health and energy levels.



Some of the earliest signs of this trend can be seen in the health food stores that cropped up in the 1960s. Now, mainstream culture has caught on to emphasizing whole foods and cutting back on sugar.

What can clean eating do for you?

Find out what foods to eat and how to eat them.

Benefits of Clean Eating

1. Take care of your health. Smart food choices reduce your risk for heart disease and certain cancers. You'll also keep your body fit and strong.

2. Lose weight. Empty calories pack on extra pounds, especially as we grow older. Nutrient-dense foods can help you eat less.

3. Enjoy flexibility. It's difficult to stick to diets with a long list of forbidden foods. Clean eating lets you enjoy all different kinds of flavors and cuisines.

4. Protect the environment. Clean eating is good for the planet as well as for those who inhabit it. Do your part to promote a sustainable food supply with green practices, such as buying local and choosing organic produce.

What to Eat

1. Switch to whole foods. Get most of your calories from foods in their natural state. Opt for brown rice instead of white. Munch on a fresh apple instead of fruit-flavored cereal bars.

2. Focus on vegetables and fruits. Aim for at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. It's easier to do if you plan snacks and meals around soups, salads, and stir-fries.

3. Consume healthy fats. The kinds of fats you eat may be more important than the total amount. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as omega-3s, are good for your heart and brain when eaten in moderation.

4. Spread out the protein. Beans, fish, and lean cuts of meat are excellent sources of protein. Your body breaks down protein more effectively when you eat small portions more frequently, rather than saving it all for dinner.

5. Drink responsibly. Fancy cocktails are often loaded with sugar and calories. On the other hand, a single glass of wine provides antioxidants and other important health benefits.

6. Stay hydrated. Our bodies need water even more urgently than food. The old saying about drinking 8 glasses a day is still a good rule of thumb.

How to Eat

1. Make time for breakfast. Start the day with a hearty breakfast. If you're in a rush, pick something you can eat on the go, like a smoothie with yogurt, kale, and berries.

2. Read labels. Maybe you depend on some convenience foods in order to juggle your busy schedule, family responsibilities, and business travel. Make the best of your situation by learning to decipher nutrition labels. High-quality protein powder may be a good value. Frozen dinners high in salt and saturated fat may be a habit you want to break.

3. Control portions. Almost any food can be adapted for clean eating. If you love bacon, choose lower-fat versions, like turkey or Canadian bacon, and limit it to once a week or less. Asparagus lovers can indulge all they want, as long as they go easy on the butter.

4. Learn to cook. Preparing your own food gives you more control and saves money. Browse online for recipes, such as instant soup with frozen edamame or quick dinners with eggs and a variety of leftovers.

Makeover your diet with clean eating. Choose natural foods, and steer clear of artificial ingredients. You'll look and feel better, and you may even live longer with a higher quality of life.

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