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Healthy Eating: It’s Not Just About Calories

Here’s the thing – our society has become so focused on calories and fat or sugar content in food that, in order to be “healthy” we often create limitations that turn a so-called healthy lifestyle into a type of prison. Even worse, we turn to foods that aren’t even good for our bodies – things like artificial sweeteners and “low-fat” snacks. Instead, we have a simple solution for you. Focus more on eating clean, healthy foods and less on how many calories you’re consuming. When you eat clean, you’re naturally consuming lower calorie foods and therefore reach a weight that fits your body. Read on to learn more.

All foods are not equal

Are 100 calories consumed of fruits and vegetables the same as 100 calories consumed of a TV dinner? While the answer may seem obvious, it’s too common that we eschew clean foods for those that are professed to be “low fat” or “sugar free.” However, consider that most of these “diet” foods contain added salt and chemicals that can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms and cause even more problems.

What is “Eating Clean”?

Most people agree that eating clean foods means focusing on eating foods that are closest to their natural or “whole” state and avoiding processed or refined foods. For example eating a whole apple as opposed to a serving of jarred apple sauce that contains chemical preservatives and added sweeteners. Quick example: take a look at the ingredient list on a jar of tomato sauce. Just tomatoes and spices? Most likely you’re going to see a bunch of additives (like high fructose corn syrup) that you don’t need and your grandma would have never added to her sauce years ago.
Here are some tips for eating clean:

  • Focus on adding more fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet
  • Buy organic when you can
  • Avoid heavily processed foods. Instead, when you buy packaged foods, look for foods that have shorter ingredient lists and have ingredients you recognize. Here’s a general rule: can’t pronounce it? Don’t eat it!
  • Eat whole grains as opposed to processed grains – options like quinoa, steel-cut oatmeal and brown rice (not instant!) are perfect.

Clean food = clean body

Whole foods (as in not prepackaged) offer your body a complete range of macronutrients to support your body’s optimal health. Combined with regular water intake, clean eating can help your body find its own natural balance, rather than trying to force your body into a mold it cannot fit. Additionally, when you choose to eat plant-based options like vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and beans provide you with such a HUGE array of options that it’s easy to keep your diet varied and exciting to your taste buds. Take a look at what you eat, can you make small changes today for a healthier lifestyle? Change out high-sugar, high-fat and processed foods for healthy whole foods. It’s really quite simple and once you change your mindset, you’ll be on your way to a healthier you.