I recently attended the Good Food Expo in Chicago, which featured a variety of local and sustainable foods and producers. It was a great opportunity to connect with other business owners, hear their stories and sample tasty, healthy foods made locally.read more
When it comes to clean living, one aspect to consider is clean eating. It seems like this is a topic around food and diet that has become more prominent in the news and media, which is exciting for someone like me who is a Certified Holistic Health Coach.
It is definitely becoming more mainstream as restaurants such as Panera have cleaned up their menus to only include “clean” foods and ingredients. In case this concept is new to you, here’s the definition of clean eating: “At its simplest, clean eating is about eating whole foods, or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.”
Based on this definition, eating clean is not a diet but is more of a way of life. It’s going back to simpler times when there weren’t as many packaged foods available and people relied on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, good fats and whole, unprocessed grains as their food sources. I realize that eating a perfectly clean diet now a days can prove to be challenging, so here are a few tips and small steps you can take to start eating clean:
- Strive to eat clean 80% of the time. While this is ultimately where you’d like to get to, if you’re currently eating clean 20% of the time, aim for 40% and build on it slowly until you’re able to get to 80%. Making small, incremental changes can be helpful so it doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch. Ultimately you want any changes you make to be sustainable.
- You can still buy packaged foods; you just want to be sure to read the label. Ideally you should be able to pronounce and identify every ingredient and there should only be a handful of ingredients listed. If the label looks like a long paragraph you may want to skip that food and look for an option with fewer ingredients.
- It’s important that you don’t feel deprived. Many diets are built around deprivation, which is why 95% of fad diets fail and most people will regain the weight they lost in 1-5 years1. One way to ensure you don’t feel deprived is to find clean recipes of some of your favorite foods. Here is a list of some great recipe options from Greatist.com.
Some of the benefits of eating a clean diet could include a more balanced energy level, maintaining a healthy weight, building up your immune system and improved sleep to name a few.
As with everything, you don’t need to strive for perfection when it comes to eating clean. Making small improvements and taking one step at a time will lead to results.
Laura B. Folkes is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She supports busy adults to take back control of their eating, successfully navigate life with food intolerances, reduce cravings and/or make sustainable changes without deprivation. After successfully losing 60 pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura recognizes there are many factors keeping individuals from sticking to what they know works but it’s her mission to help others overcome these factors to become healthier and happier.
Receive a free “Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Healthy on the Go” with tips and snack ideas you can enjoy anytime and anywhere at www.laurabfolkes.com. Laura can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: 1Statistics on Weight Discrimination: A Waste of Talent, The Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, Retrieved July 18, 2011, from (http://www.cswd.org/index.html)read more
This week you’ll learn the steps I took to reduce the amount of refined sugars I was eating and insight into where I am now in the process.read more
It seems like 5-10 years ago barely many people knew about probiotics, what they were, or their health benefits. But not only have they become more mainstream, they are being used as a marketing tool for various foods, including granola, butter and even drinking straws.
I recently read this article about the differences between “designer food”-based probiotics and the natural forming organisms. The purpose of this post is to help break down probiotics and the best way to get them.
First, let’s start with what a probiotic is. According to WebMD, “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. Your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.”1 They also support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection.
The reason we want probiotics is because it is said that 60-80% of our immune system is held in and around the digestive tract/gut. Therefore, when your gut bacteria are balanced, your immune system should also be balanced.
Probiotics can help promote healthy and balanced gut bacteria because they replace good bacteria after it has been lost, for example after taking an antibiotic. Some natural sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as:
- Kefir (unsweetened is best)
- Natto (fermented soybeans)
- Yogurt (natural and unprocessed)
- Raw cheese
People have been eating fermented foods for thousands of years but food manufacturers have recently been making foods with added probiotics due to the increase in awareness and interest. When deciding the best way to consume probiotics for you, my philosophy is to try to go as natural as possible and resort to a proven source. Therefore, I get my probiotics from a high quality supplement and from foods where the bacteria are naturally grown, such as Kombucha (no sugar added), sauerkraut or plain kefir. Since everyone’s body is different, it’s important to find a solution that works for you based on your lifestyle and what your body requires.
Source: 1WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics
Photo credit: JoongBoo Market, http://www.flickr.com/photos/85508296@N00/15189824058read more
Processed foods make up about 70% of the U.S. diet. The foods that many of us associate as being processed are things like chips and cookies but many breads, yogurt, salad dressings and cheeses are processed too. While these foods are convenient and sometimes taste delicious, many of them are loaded with saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium or ingredients (also known as chemicals) that we just can’t pronounce. The issue with these types of foods is that they can cause inflammation in our bodies and reduce immune function.read more