Want to eat a cleaner diet, but not sure where to start?
The amount of information out there on what you "should and shouldn't" eat can overwhelm anyone.
I've boiled down what I learned over the past years to 10 basic tips for someone wanting to eat a cleaner diet.
Here is a great place to start:
1. Start Reading Labels
It's scary how many ingredients you'll find in processed food. So many of them consist of preservatives, chemicals, and other unpronounceable words.
My criteria for food is: all ingredients must be pronounceable and I have to be able to find them in my kitchen. Also, the fewer ingredients, the better.
2. Kick the Sugar Habit
Sugar is wreaking havoc on our body. We are now seeing the role sugar plays in feeding cancer cells, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. And our food system has found a way to put in into everything- ketchup, dressings, bread, nut butters, drinks. It's in everything and we are SO addicted!
Try to cut it out and replace it for natural sweeteners in moderation. The only sweeteners we use is our HEAL Farms Raw Honey and pure maple syrup. I use it for cookies, muffins, berry crumble. It tastes better than refined sugar and adds extra nutrients.
3. Eat the Right Fat
We've been so misled into thinking fats are unhealthy. That beef and butter are bad for our heart and cholesterol. They tell us we should use margarine and vegetable oil instead. This is SO wrong! Those oils are highly toxic trans-fats that increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and cause major inflammation.
We NEED animal fats from 100% Pasture-Raised animals. It is absolutely necessary for healthy brain development, hormone regulation, absorption of vitamins, and skin health. My recommendations are butter, tallow, lard, coconut oil and avocado oil.
I also love our Savory Blend Ground Chicken, Beef and Pork (pork back in stock soon!) to add healthy fats to my family's diet.
4. Use Bone Broth
This is also a great source for healthy fats. It is considered a "super food" by many due to it's mineral content and healing properties. Eat/drink as much as you can. I like to use it for the base of soups, sauces, rice, or even as a warm drink to sip on.
5. Avoid Factory Farmed Meat Like the Plague
These poor animals are crowded into terrible living conditions and fed hormones and antibiotics. The hormones cause them to grow and fatten quickly and the antibiotics are necessary to keep them from getting sick from their crowded and unsanitary living conditions. If they didn't have these antibiotics, they would die and cause outbreaks in disease.
It's disgusting that they can feed these animals to people. Buy your meat from a trusted farmer that raises them the right way. I know someone if you need a recommendation (wink).
6. Prioritize a Healthy Gut
Gut health is one of the hottest topics in the health world today. That's because research is showing that 70-80% of your immune system is found in your gut. Mental health has also been linked to gut health. The more I learn about it, the more I realize how important it is to keep our guts healthy.
How do we do that? Eating something fermented everyday is a great way to start. Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha or kefir help populate your gut with helpful, immune boosting bacteria. But if fermented foods aren't doable for you, I recommend a high quality probiotic as another option.
7. Say No to GMO
GMO's were created to have toxic chemicals sprayed on them and not die. All the weeds and insects die around them, but not the plant we eat. We are consuming this poison when we eat GMOs! These chemicals are carcinogens known heavily to cause cancer.
Look for the label below on the foods you buy to make sure they're GMO free.
8. Avoid Wheat or at Least Switch to Sourdough
Wheat is just not the same as it once was. It has been altered so many times and it now causes inflammation and digestive issues for so many. If you choose to eat wheat, I recommend using Sourdough for a few reasons: It's lower glycemic, it's fermented in a way that provides more beneficial bacteria, less gluten, and it's easier on your gut because the bacterial yeast start breaking down the starches before it gets to your stomach.
Personal story- Adam had the WORST gas when I met him (I don't know how he got me to marry him honestly). After isolation dieting, he stopped eating wheat and it has completely stopped. I can't even remember the last time I jumped out of my seat because I was hit with that awful smell. Not anymore. Now it's all rainbows and daffodils you could say lol.
9. Switch to Raw Dairy
I never realized how healing raw milk could be until just a few years ago. It has live healthy bacteria that does wonders for your body. When milk is pasteurized, all the healing properties are destroyed and you're left with basically dead sugar water. Find a place where you can buy raw, pasture-raised dairy products. If you drink milk anyway, might as well buy the kind that is capable of healing eczema, colitis, and promotes gut health in addition to many other benefits.
10. Buy Organic
A study published in a journal from Science Direct showed that eating organic for just 1 week can reduce pesticide exposure by over 90%. I understand buying organic is not in everybody's budget. If you can't afford organic for all your produce, at least buy organic for the "dirty dozen". These foods have the highest amount of chemicals.
Two Final Thoughts...
1) Even this list can seem like a lot, so take it slow. I recommend working on 1 of these tips per month. Try to continue it into the next month as you refine your diet even more. I've been at this for over 10 years now and finally feel like its habit.
2) Lastly, follow the 80/20 rule. Try to eat 80% good and allow yourself a little slack once and awhile. Nobody's perfect and you need to follow a diet that's sustainable for you. So move at your pace and make adjustments one at a time.
I hope this helps in your journey toward cleaner eating!