Eat Clean, Live Happy
Going cold turkey and hoping you can hold a healthier lifestyle won’t just happen overnight. Even if you try, what are the chances that you stick with it? Clean eating can be frustrating and can potentially get boring. Here’s a couple of ways to keep you on track.
1. Why So Salty?
According to the American Heart Association, Americans on average eat about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. Lowering your sodium intake can prevent harmful illnesses, such as chronic kidney disease or diabetes, and can be a factor of lowering your blood pressure. Sodium is necessary for the body to regulate fluid balance and help our muscles functions, so we don’t have to get rid of it completely, just regulate how much we take daily. To help limit the amount you take in daily, include more herbs and spices, citrus and vinegar to flavor your food. Push aside the salt and say hello to lemon and cayenne pepper.
2. Watch Out for Sugar!
Sugar is in just about everything we eat, so it’s something we cannot easily get rid of. The American Heart Association recommends no more than about 6 tablespoons per day for women. Unfortunately, Americans on average eat about 4 times that amount, equaling to 28 tablespoons of sugar per day. We all have that one dessert, or soda that makes us weak, but limiting the amount of sugar doesn’t mean we have to cut off our favorite things completely, just eating it in moderation. That homemade peach cobbler your aunt makes for the holidays calling your name? Throw some peaches on the grill, sprinkle some cinnamon, and try with a scoop of frozen yogurt as an alternative. Fruit contains natural sugar that is less harmful than the added sugars we eat daily. Want some rich milk chocolate? Try a piece dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate contains 12mg of caffeine per oz, and only 14g of sugar per oz, compared to milk chocolate that’s a steal!
3. Who Said Fruits and Veggies Can’t Be Great?
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 76 percent of Americans aren’t eating enough servings of fruit each day, and 87 percent aren’t eating enough vegetables. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk of chronic diseases such as, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease. Fresh produce contains fiber that keeps the collection of good bacteria that lives in your gut (microbiome) in good shape, which can reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases, fight pathogens and infections, and can improve your mood. When people think of fruits and veggies, they think boring and repetition. There are so many websites, and apps such as Pinterest (most popular), that can help spice up your recipes.
4. No More Lean Cuisines...
I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials, are you hypnotized by the pre-packaged meals in the freezer aisle? Is it because they’re cheap? Maybe because you only have to pop it in the microwave for 5 minutes? Or because they’re only 500 calories per “meal”? Then snap out of it. Processed foods contain chemicals such as the mighty one, High Fructose Corn Syrup. Which can cause for canned food, or freezer meals to have no real nutrients, and often can be misleading when they say only 500 calories per meal, because most of the time, the sugar and sodium content are usually high. But don’t worry, because clean processed foods do exist such as plain yogurt, cheese, whole-wheat or gluten free pasta, and packaged leafy greens. Our bodies tend digest processed and unprocessed food differently. Diets like the ketogenic diet, can help limit the amount of processed foods you eat, as the diet recommends you cook more with fresh produce, and if you never feel like you have time, meal prep so you won’t have to continuously find time throughout the week to cook for yourself.