10 Tips for Creating a Clean Eating Lifestyle
Clean eating is near and dear to my heart. As an autoimmune disease sufferer, I transformed my life to eat cleanly and found a marked improvement in my autoimmune symptoms. As I saw an improvement in my health, I also realized that anyone can achieve a marked improvement in their health, and a variety of health benefits through creating a clean eating lifestyle.
Creating a clean eating lifestyle was difficult for me, so I am sharing 10 tips that helped me through the transition.
Keep it simple.
You do not have to cook elaborate recipes every day to eat cleanly. Sure, I like to mix things up and look for new recipes here and there, but most days, I get back to the basics.
Early on, I made a list of our family’s favorite meats, veggies, fruits, seasonings, and healthy fats. I also listed different ways to cook the meats and veggies. When thinking about what to eat, I would look to our list and realize the possibilities were endless. I eat very cleanly, and most days I keep it simple.
Change it up.
I encourage you to make your own list of your favorite meats, veggies, fruits, seasonings, and healthy fats. Then, when you plan your meals and snacks, you can easily mix things up.
Also, I encourage you to try a new veggie or fruit each week. If you like it, add it to the list.
Try not to eat the same thing everyday. This can be hard, but changing things up will ensure you get a variety of nutrients.
Remember, eat the rainbow. Unless that makes you want to eat skittles, then try not to think of eating the rainbow.
Strive for progress, not perfection.
You do not have to be perfect. Just be better than you were yesterday. Trying to change too much at once can not only feel overwhelming, but it can also be a lot for your body to handle. Start slow, and think of your clean eating lifestyle as a journey. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
Slow down, and simply try to clean up one meal or one snack the first day. Once you’ve got the hang of eating one clean snack or clean meal per day, add a second. Continue adding a clean snack or clean meal until you eat cleanly regularly.
Just keep in mind, you may not see many health benefits until most of your eating is cleaned up.
Communicate with loved ones.
Communicate with your loved ones about why you are creating a clean eating lifestyle. Ask them to support you. Tell them what you need, and how they can help you.
Do not place unrealistic expectations on loved ones, or expect them to change. It is okay if they are not ready to change. Love and accept them anyway. Do not try to change them. Focus on transforming yourself. It will be a fulltime job at first without trying to change anyone else.
Chances are, once your loved ones see the positive changes in you, they will want to follow your lead. It may take time. Let it happen organically.
You know the saying – “If you do not have a plan, then you are planing to fail.” Same goes for clean eating.
Plan ahead, and shop accordingly. Many people plan out a week of clean eating at a time. I used to. It was a little much for me, so I switched to planning 3-4 days at a time.
When planning, I keep in mind our family schedule so I know which nights are busier than others. I try to plan to have leftovers or a quick and easy meal those nights. If we have a baseball game one evening, I plan ahead for a clean meal we can eat on the go. This not only saves money, but helps maintain our clean eating lifestyle, and ensures we are not scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out dinner.
Think Outside the Box.
When it is time to eat a meal or a snack, think outside of packaged and processed foods. Most packaged and processed foods contain artificial ingredients, preservatives, and man-made ingredients. Our bodies have to work harder to function when we consume packaged and processed foods.
Give your body a break and stick to quality whole foods when possible. If you are on the go, and need to include packaged food in your day, be sure to read the ingredients list and choose wisely.
Focus on what to include, not what to exclude.
When adopting a clean eating lifestyle, it can be tempting to focus on foods you are avoiding. Shift your mindset, and instead, focus on what foods to include in your day. When you focus on eating a variety of quality whole foods, the foods “to include” should crowd out the foods “to exclude.” In other words, eat cleanly when you are hungry, and you should have no room left in your day for junk foods.
Learn why you should eat cleanly.
Maybe you feel inspired to clean up your eating, but you have no idea why. Learn and study about the importance of clean eating. Read about the health benefits. Ask questions, and search for the answers. Here is a great place to start.
Learning and study will help carry you through the moments when you want to give up your clean eating. You will learn to look at food as an opportunity to help and heal your body.
Be patient with yourself and your family. Change is hard. It takes time. Understand there will be a transition. Give yourself a break. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself the way you would a loved one.
Have a sense of humor.
When all else fails, laugh. Not all new foods and recipes will be wins. Sorry. I wish it was not so. When you or a family member tries a new veggie or fruit, and do not like it, try to find humor and laugh together.
Benefits of Clean Eating
As you clean up your eating, you may feel worse at first as your body adjusts to your new lifestyle. I promise you will see many benefits to eating cleanly. Some benefits take longer than others.
You can read more about how clean eating, and the autoimmune protocol in particular, changed my life here.