Clean Eating By: Natalie Hagler

Abs are made in the kitchen – It doesn’t matter how much you exercise; if you don’t give your body the right foods, you won’t lose weight and make the strength gains necessary to give you a healthy lifestyle.

The most difficult part of beginning anything new is the learning curve. Whether it’s starting a new job, entering a new relationship, or heading out on the road to a new “you”, there can be so much information to make sense of that it can throw you off track.

Learning to eat healthy foods can be a simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. I have a pretty busy life, with multiple mouths to feed, little time to shop for, plan and prepare meals, and on top of that, I have cravings, emotional needs, and financial limitations that can provide roadblocks on my journey, so I want to make my food choices as healthy and convenient as possible.

The myth of clean eating: One of the current buzz phrases in nutrition is “clean eating” and there are as many definitions for it as there are cooks and kitchens. Clean eating is the MOST SIMPLE way to approach healthy eating. It helps us avoid some common foods to which much of the population is allergic or sensitive because it brings us back to basics. HOWEVER, it is important that, as you begin to eat clean, you also remember that clean foods can be high in fat and natural sugars, so be mindful of portion sizes to maintain a healthy weight.

What is Clean Eating?

Think of food in its most pure form. Foods that grow from the ground, come from an animal, are harvested and not processed and packaged with chemicals and preservatives are considered clean. Fresh fruits and veggies, local meats, and whole grains are wonderful clean options and make easy choices for all meals and snacks.

Shop the Perimeter

At the grocery store, shopping the perimeter keeps you closest to the “clean” zone; produce, dairy, and meat products make up the bulk of a healthy plate so it follows that they should take up the most of your grocery cart! Start with the following Plate Method guidelines in mind.

Non-starchy veggies fill 50%, protein 25% and grains and starches the final 25%.

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