Clean Eating – It’s Not as Hard as You Think
You’d have to have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard the term “clean eating”
While most of us are aware of the concept, it’s often associated with super-fit health gurus whose diets seem to require the highest level of dedication.
In fact, clean eating simply means eating food as close as possible to its original form in nature.
In other words, unprocessed – which is a great place to start if you are living with or are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
“Clean eating ensures a lower total intake of processed foods containing refined sugars and carbs which are linked to increased insulin resistance and poor blood sugar levels,” says Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist Kate Save.
Kate says switching to clean eating can be a simple way of kick starting an overall healthy eating regimen.
“Start by eating mostly plant based foods like fruit, vegetables and salads, and combine this with some protein sources like legumes, pulses, dairy, fish, chicken and meat.”
As well as reducing refined sugars and processed carbs, clean eating offers a range of other health benefits too, such as helping to control blood sugar levels due to high levels of dietary fibre, which is especially beneficial for people with diabetes or even pre-diabetes.
“A diet high in plant foods is linked to reduced overall mortality and morbidity and is positively associated with longevity,” says Kate.
“It also helps to establish and maintain healthier gut bacteria and less of the bad bacteria which is linked to better health.
“It is much easier to consume all essential vitamins and minerals by eating a nutrient dense diet rather than an energy dense and nutrient poor diet – and it’s also much easier to achieve and maintain healthy body weight.”
And while Instagrammers can make cleaning eating seem like an unattainable Mecca, Kate says it’s easier than you might think.
“Simply choose more plant foods and anything else which is close to the form which it is found in nature such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, fish, meat and poultry.
“Plus, dairy foods are important for protein and calcium but choose unsweetened milk and yoghurt, as well as small amounts of reduced fat cheese.”
To make it even easier, fill your pantry with clean eating essentials to help you stick to your plan in the long term.
What are the clean eating pantry must-haves?
To prepare yourself for clean eating success, Kate suggests the following pantry must-haves:
- Legumes and pulses such as lentils, split peas, 4 bean mix, kidney beans and chickpeas as they are high in fibre, low GI and fill us up
- Fresh and seasonal vegetables, fruits and salads
- Tinned and fresh fish
- Fresh herbs and spices
- Olive oil and vinegar to make dressings
- Honey as a natural sweetener; floral varieties are lower GI
- Reduced fat dairy
- Milk such as dairy, almond, soy or calcium fortified alternatives
- Variety of nuts and seeds
- Psyllium husks for extra fibre
- Green tea and herbal tea
“These items provide an array of different nutrients including essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other important phyto chemicals for good health,” says Kate.
To keep yourself on track, she also recommends writing a weekly menu for dinners to keep up the variety and also suggests preparing your lunches the night before in order to avoid having to buy food.
“Start your day with some fresh fruit, vegetables and protein by making a green smoothie and add extra fibre with LSA, chia seeds or psyllium husks.”
So if you want taker better control of your health and wellness and kick start a healthy eating regimen, consider some of these useful tips. They’ll help you start your day on the right track, be fully prepared, and will help ensure you keep heading in the right direction. Good luck!
Want some more clean eating inspiration? Click here for our breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe series.