Clean Eating 101: Change Your Body the Healthy Way

What is clean eating? Eating clean isn't a fad diet. It's a permanent, healthy way of eating that, with a little practice, can (and should) become a way of life. Clean eating means eating for the sake of nourishing your body with food as close to its natural state as possible. There is no math, no point system, no insane calorie restrictions. When you begin to replace the processed, fried and unhealthy foods from your diet with whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean protein, your body will respond in amazing ways.

1. Your muscles will respond to the added lean protein by growing which will speed up your metabolism.

2. Your body will respond to the whole grains by regulating itself.

3. Your body will also rid itself of water weight caused by excess sodium that is PACKED in processed food.

healthy grilled chicken kabobs

To make getting started on a simple clean eating path, remember this CLEAN acronym.

  • C: COUNT your meals. You should aim to eat 5-6 times a day (3 meals and 2-3 small snacks). Shoot for every couple of hours. This will keep your metabolism burning all day long!
  • L: LEAN protein! Each meal should contain about a palm-sized serving of lean protein (white-meat chicken/turkey, fish, black beans, egg whites, etc.) Find your favorites and keep them on hand.
  • E: EAT your fruits and veggies! They're delicious, filling and packed with nutrients our bodies need.
  • A: AVOID processed and refined foods. White flour, sugar, bread and pastas are no-nos. Replace them with complex carbs such as brown rice and whole wheat. Also, read ingredient lists. A long list = not clean.
  • N: NEVER eat mindlessly. Too often, we tend to grab a food and toss it back without even a thought. The next time you go to eat something, ask yourself, "Will this do anything positive for my body?" and "Will I regret this choice later?"

If you're ready to begin making simple healthy swaps on your way to eating clean, try the 14 substitutes for common processed foods listed below.