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The Importance of Clean Eating and how you can incorporate it into your daily life today!by: FitYoungFab
The theory of clean eating has evolved much over the years. In fact, there is no actual formal definition of what ‘clean eating is’. But it is important to note that what I consider clean eating may be very different then what Vegan Vickie considers ‘clean eating’. Although this may be the case, it shouldn’t be made overly complicated. The theory of clean eating is basically removing processed foods that aren’t doing much for your body and replacing them with un-processed whole foods, mostly plant-based, that are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So to make this transition easier for you, here are just a few simple tips that you can incorporate into your every day living to live a cleaner, healthier life.
- Reducing or eliminating processed foods. This can be difficult for many people do, especially if your eating habits have been the same for many years. But I’m not a big fan of going ‘cold turkey’ so starting off slow by removing things would be ideal for anyone who’s trying to follow this eating style.
- What are processed foods? The trick I use is by asking myself, ‘does this grow on a tree or come from a farm?’ if not, it’s processed. Basically, anything that comes in a box and has a more than one ingredient is processed. Some examples include: cookies, crackers, chips, pasta…some less obvious examples include frozen dinners, (EVEN THE WEIGHT WATCHERS ONES!!!!), granola bars, low-fat dressings, etc. The farther away a food is from it’s natural state, the more processed it is!
- Don’t just eliminate, get creative and replace! One of my favorite meals in the world is pasta with meat marinara and lots of grated Parmesan. Instead, I substitute it with one of my favorite recipe in the world. Spaghetti squash ‘pasta’ with a flavorful, veggie-filled marinara. Pair this with a colorful salad dressed with a light lemon, olive oil dressing and you’ve got a perfectly clean meal. I’ve included the recipe for the spaghetti squash below. You won’t even miss the pasta or meat!
- Incorporating fruits and vegetables, especially in a raw state. I recently watched a pretty awesome documentary called ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’. You can watch it HERE. It’s a pretty cool movie to watch and I think it explains a lot about the power of raw fruits and vegetables. Although this man’s solution for his illness (Drinking nothing but fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days) might be a little unrealistic, I highly recommend making a tiny investment (I got mine on sale for 19.99) in a blender before making the leap into juices. It has been an amazing addition into my life and you will feel more energized almost instantly.
- Reduce sugar intake. I’m talking about white, processed sugar. Having one less teaspoon in your tea or coffee, skipping that after dinner dessert or that afternoon granola bar will have a big impact on your overall well being and you will find that you actually crave it less.
- Take care of your body. Eating is just half of the clean lifestyle. Getting adequate amounts of sleep, regular exercise and incorporating stress-reducing techniques into your everyday life is crucial to a well-rounded clean lifestyle.
As a special bonus for Simply Fit & Clean readers, Team FitYoungFab has provided a recipe for delicious spaghetti squash with vegetable marinara (which I am literally making for dinner tonight, so thank you!)
- 2 spaghetti squashes (each one halved and seeds removed)
- Olive oil cooking spray or just regular
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cover large cookie sheet with aluminum foil (you can use two cookie sheets if they don’t fit on one). Place spaghetti squash on covered sheet(s) and spray or brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake flesh side up about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool down for about 10 minutes before flaking with a fork. It should naturally flake on its own. While the squash is baking, you can make the sauce:
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-teaspoon olive oil
- 1 jar pasta sauce (this is a shortcut I use, but you can make your own tomato sauce from scratch to make it ‘cleaner’)
- ½ cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 orange pepper, chopped
- 1 container any kind mushrooms, chopped
- 1-teaspoon oregano
- Few sprigs chopped fresh basil leaves (you can sub in dry if you don’t have fresh on hand)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- OPTIONAL: A can of cannellini or chickpeas for protein
In a medium size pot, sauté onion, garlic, salt and pepper for 5 minutes on medium heat until translucent. Add red and green peppers, mushrooms, oregano and basil and cook together for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add sauce, ½ cup water and optional can of beans, cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Finally, spoon over desired amount on spaghetti squash.
Thanks again to my friends at FitYoungFab! Great advice and delicious recipe.