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Do I need to ‘clean up’ my diet?

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‘Clean eating’ is a popular term these days with the phrase being touted by many a health and fitness blogger as the answer to leanness and curing ill health.

Unfortunately, since its inception around 2013, ‘clean eating’ has most likely done more damage than good. Follow the path down the #cleaneating rabbit hole and you’ll find a dark and twisted story of restriction, obsession, elitism and non-substantiated claims about nutrition from unqualified people.

The idea that your diet needs a ‘clean up’ doesn’t need to mean that you perfectly adhere to a perfect diet of ‘clean’ foods and eliminate food groups left, right and centre. There’s actually no need for this kind of dietary approach. Travelling down that path can actually lead to poor health, but I’m not getting into that today.

clean up dietJust like a messy kitchen stifles the potential that kitchen has for producing all measure of delicious food, so too does a ‘messy’ diet stifle your body and mind’s full potential.

You can still pull off a vegemite sandwich in a messy kitchen; you’ll survive on that, but what if you could create a delicious whole foods meal with all the trimmings? Your body can survive on excessive alcohol, coffee, refined grains and processed products, but it doesn’t perform at its best.

Rather than following the latest clean eaters on Instagram (many of whom have their nutrition knowledge a little confused), I’m going to share with you my top tips for cleaning up your diet this spring.

Reduce/remove alcohol

Regardless of how many antioxidants certain drinks contain, alcohol does not promote good health in our bodies. Ensure you give yourself a minimum of 2-3 alcohol free days a week, or better yet, make them all alcohol free!

Go easy on the non-water drinks

Coffee, soft drink (including diet drinks), cordial, protein shakes and fruit juice all contain a significant amount of energy for very little nutrition. Water is the best thing to drink. Period. Pop some fresh mint leaves or lime wedges into your drink bottle for some extra flavour next time you’re thirsty.

Don’t ‘smoothie’ everything you eat

Cleanses that involve juicing and blending recommend this on the premise that you’re detoxing your system by giving your digestive system ‘a break’. Your body has been designed to chew and digest (break down and absorb) food. It’s good for it to do. Blended, juiced or cold-pressed fruit and vegetables shouldn’t be the only way you eat them. Give your teeth and jaw a chance – they’re dying to chew up your food for you!

Eat five different types of vegetables a day

With every additional serve of vegetables that you eat, you decrease your risk of death from chronic disease by 5%. Regardless of what else you eat, if you meet this daily vegetable target your body will be better off. Here are 8 different ways to eat vegetables to inspire you to get in more of the good stuff!

Snacks don’t have to be spirulina protein bliss balls, they could be an apple too

Or a banana. Carrot sticks are also a good option or perhaps you feel like a small handful of nuts. Healthy snacks don’t have to be complicated recipes and in fact, all these ‘clean eating’ treats on the internet are all processed food – you just processed them at home and you condensed the sugar and fat of certain foods into easy to eat, bite sized mouthfuls. Yes, they contain less additives than packaged food and they’re made from nutrient dense foods, but by processing nuts, nut butters, nut meals, dates, seeds and coconut oil you just created the most energy dense snacks around. Twice that of a TimTam in some cases. Don’t eat a Tim Tam though. Instead, eat whole nuts, and whole fruit. Need some snack ideas? Check out these two previous articles: Healthy Snacking for Diabetes & 27 Low Energy Snacks

Fresh is always best

Processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami, sausage, rissoles, nuggets, etc. are all poor alternatives to just eating 100% fresh, whole meat, poultry or seafood. By just making the switch, you’ll feel just as full on less fat, sodium and other additives.

If you’d like more help with eating well, losing weight or achieving your health and fitness goals, please contact us to make an appointment.

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