1. Purge Your Pantry
That goes for your fridge and freezer too! The number one ingredient to eliminate is refined sugar. Sugar is an addictive substance that will continue to be the little devil on your shoulder tempting you to reach for sweets. Refined sugar adds empty calories and no nutritional value. Be aware of other forms of sugar such high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, fructose, cane sugar, it’s all SUGAR. Instead, use raw honey, real maple syrup, or coconut sugar in moderation. Remember: for optimal clean eating, everything you put in your mouth should be propelling you towards health. To shed a little more light on refined sugar, check out five more reasons to abandon it here!
2. Shop the Outskirts of the Grocery Store
Think of your grocery store. The foods along the walls are the ones you want to primarily stick with. These are whole foods, and clean eating depends on them! Produce, seafood, meats, eggs, and some dairy. The inner aisles are food products. These foods require packaging, advertisements, refined sugar and grains, and other additives. There are of course, some items to get here. Cooking oils, rice, seasonings, and canned seafood are a few options you will find in the inner aisles.
3. Look at Labels
Some important labels to look for are organic, non-gmo, and grass-fed or pasture-raised. If you see organic, that means it is also non-gmo, but just because something is non-gmo does not mean it is also organic! Harmful pesticides could have been used in the product. Grass-fed or pasture-raised are the ultimate standards for meat, eggs, and dairy products. Animals were meant to eat “wildly.” Conventional meats advertise “vegetarian fed,” but that usually means GMO corn and soy feed. You are what you eat.
4. Meal Prep
I cannot stress enough the importance of having healthy foods prepped and ready to eat! If this means buying an organic rotisserie chicken, pre-chopped veggies, etc. and you can afford the added price, by all means, do so! But if not, this prep work will have a huge impact on your eating habits. Make it easier on yourself and do prep work one or two days a week. For example, I could up a few pounds of organic chicken breast (I simply season with salt and garlic powder) at least once a week. I meal prep a double batch of Paleo Asian-Inspired Meatballs, freeze, and pull out for packed lunches or quick dinners. For breakfast, I love utilizing my Crock Pot and make a batch of Warm Breakfast Crock Pot Millet each week.
5. Grab a Buddy
Accountability and support is key. Grab a friend, spouse, family member, or better yet, a whole group! Making the transition to clean eating will be so much easier when you have people to turn to who are going through the same transformation. Have a group text message or email thread or make a shared Pinterest board to share recipe ideas and cooking tips with each other. Share your wins and fails, the challenges and rewards and everyone involved will benefit.
This post was written by Alexa Federico. Alexa is a 22-year-old born and raised just north of Boston, Massachusetts. She is an avid reader and green tea drinker. She blogs at Girl in Healing, where she creates belly-friendly recipes and shares her life experiences of living with Crohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which there is currently no cure for. She is a firm believer that “food is medicine,” after seeing extraordinary improvements in her health from following a modified Paleo diet. You can follow Alexa on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.