Clean Eating Part 1: Getting Started
By now, we’ve all heard of clean eating. It’s everywhere—from magazine covers to newspaper articles to talk show highlights. Most of us have even heard of the benefits of choosing to eat more “clean.” But just because you have all of this information doesn’t mean you easily go from point A to point B. So how do you start eating clean? How do you strategize and prepare?
If you’re looking to tidy up your dietary habits by embracing the clean eating movement, read on.
Determine your motivation. Clean eating requires effort and commitment. It isn’t just another trend to hop on board without giving it some thought. So what’s motivating you to clean up your diet? Are you tired of struggling with feeling off and fatigue? Are you wanting to avoid harmful chemicals and toxins? Maybe you just want to lose those last five pounds and this seems like the only way to do it. By pinpointing your reasoning, you’ll stay more focused and motivated. It’s very difficult to stay the course if you can’t name why you’re doing it in the first place.
Take stock of your current situation. Fling wide the pantry doors and refrigerator and take a good long look. What you’re currently eating will reveal the areas you can clean up. You can also start logging what you eat in a food journal. This way, everything you consume is accounted for, even when dining out. We recommend trackers such as Calorie Count, which displays the nutrients, fat, protein, etc., in common foods. By journaling your diet, you’ll start to see certain patterns and areas that need improvement.
Set goals. Clean eating isn’t necessarily a diet; it’s a new lifestyle of choosing healthier, more nutritious foods instead of their processed counterparts. Because of this, the clean eating movement can be a bit overwhelming. We encourage you to set small goals for yourself. Maybe start by focusing on cleaning up one meal at a time and once you’ve mastered breakfast, lunch, and dinner, move on to snacks and dining out. The point is, avoid overwhelming yourself. By setting smaller goals, you’re still advancing toward the largest goal of all: to eat healthier and cleaner all day, every day.
Avoid comparison. One person’s version of clean eating may not be yours. While others may opt for 100% organic, locally sourced, vegan foods, that might not be attainable for your family, and that’s okay! When you know a) why you’re striving to eat clean and b) have set specific goals for your family, you’ll identify what your version of clean eating looks like. It might just be weeding pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics out of your produce and animal products. That’s a great start! Don’t focus on keeping up with the Joneses. Focus instead on the end result that’s best for your and your family.
Make a commitment. Eating clean won’t just happen over night. It’s going to take time and possibly even financial commitment. But once you’ve committed to cleaning up your diet and lifestyle, there’s no turning back, and we believe that the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices you may make.
Have you started on a clean eating journey? What were some of the ways you began the process? Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll be discussing the nitty-gritty details of what needs go, cleaner substitutions, and pantry purging.