Clean eating is the process of eating foods that are wholesome, real and are not processed or minimally processed, not refined and are very close to natural or their original form. Eating clean involves consuming the below foods but are not limited to
- Wholesome foods
- Real foods
- Un-processed or minimally processed foods
- Un-refined foods
- Reduced intake of artificial sweeteners
The idea is to consume foods that are closest to their original form instead of eating foods that are highly modified and packaged in industries.
Let me tell you every food that we eat undergo some processing like cutting mangoes from tree, butter separated from milk etc. which comes under regular or mechanical processing which is quite essential but what we need to know is that the processed food we are talking about is that certain foods are chemically refined and stripped of nutrients and also modified with excess sugars,salt and fats to increase the shelf life, These are extremely dangerous to not only our waist but also risk the overall health.
When am investing an hour of my time every day for physical exercise why would I want to waste that effort by eating these highly processed foods shown below ?
Processed and refined foods are those you will find in bakeries,super market aisles wrapped in fancy coloured packets, tins, boxes, pouches etc. We call them read made soups, ready to eat rice,noodles,curries, cakes, biscuits, white flour bread, sweets made of white flour and sugar, ice creams, cola drinks, flavoured drinks, flavoured yogurts, highly processed meats, eggs whites packed in pouches, sugar loaded cereals, refined and bleached flours, refined grains , hot dogs, sandwich fillers, mayonnaise, jams, ready to eat burgers, donuts and basically anything that is manufactured in an industry.
Are all ‘processed foods’ bad for us?
Ok, certain foods are processed for good to remove bacteria etc like milk etc which we don’t consider them as processed foods. While I don’t count the instant oats as ‘very much’ processed, I feel the sugar loaded cereals boxes are highly processed to make them more appealing to your tongue.So please understand the idea behind the word processed and apply your general knowledge while choosing these foods.
NOW WHY ARE PROCESSED FOODS BAD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
These ready to eat foods are highly processed with excess amounts of sodium,fats etc to increase their shelf life and give you comfort at the cost of your health.
Processed foods are rich in excess amounts of salt, sugar and fats. These add extra calories to the body than it needs which cause the body to build fat layers and also negate any exercise effects you are putting in.Remember we need a calorie deficit and that’s possible only through eating fresh real foods. Result is EXCESS AND UNWANTED CALORIES
Processed foods are very tongue and taste friendly due to the excess amounts of sugar, salt and fats in it. You normally tend to eat a Choco bar than a bowl of fresh yogurt though you knew yogurt is good for your body. These foods make you crave you for more portions thus again leading to excess calories and mind it with almost zero nutrition. Result is ADDICTION AND OVER CONSUMPTION
Processed foods are rich in carbohydrates, now we all need to eat carbs for energy supply to our body but that should come from wholesome real foods. The carbs that come from the processed foods are highly refined and are of no nutritional value at all. These are mostly simple carbohydrates which body will be able to break them very easily and make you crave for more food in a less time. Bottom line is that processed foods are rich in SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES that requires less time and energy to digest which is not good for weight loss.
Processed food contain less fibre content. Now fibre is very essential when you are trying to lose weight as it tends you to keep you full for a long time and also lessen the need to consume more carbohydrates. When the food is highly and chemically processed it stripes of the natural fibre content in it. For example, apple jam doesn’t contain as much fibre as that of a fresh apple. Result is LESS INTAKE OF FIBRE.
Also in general, processed food contain lots of chemicals and preservatives that doesn’t do any good to our body as they don’t contain any essential nutrients, they are like slow poison and remember weight loss journey is not merely for losing weight but also to make our healthy perfect overall.
TOP PROCESSED FOODS TO AVOID OR TO CONSUME VERY OCASSIONALLY
- Ready to eat meals(rice,pasta,curries,noodles,soups,pizzas,crepes,pancakes)
- Packaged crisps, wafers, candies,chips,chocolates
- Frozen fries,fish fingers,breaded chicken nuggets,cheese fingers,hashbrowns etc
- Tinned vegetable with certain levels of salt,sugar and preservatives
- White bread and products made of white refined flours
- Sugary breakfast cereals,fruit loops etc
- Processed meats like bacon,ham,chicken strips,
- White sugar,(minimise brown sugar also),artificial sweeteners
- Diet colas, aerated drinks, packaged sugar loaded fruit juices,
WHAT KIND OF PROCESSED FOODS I CAN EAT AS PART OF A HEALTHY DIET WHILE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT?
While there are many varieties of rice, pasta, breads it is worth to choose the whole grain varieties that would have undergone very less processing. I would definitely not be making bread on my own for daily intake so I prefer to choose the whole meal varieties that’s available in my local bakery.
- Milk, plant based unsweetened milk like soya,almond,coconut
- Wholegrain cereals ,rice, pasta, bread,limited portions of white rice
- Frozen fruits/vegetables with no added sugars,salts, preservatives
- Frozen fish(not smoked or breaded)
- Tinned vegetables with less amounts of salt, sugar(check the label and ingredients)
- Roasted unsalted nuts, dried fruits,seeds
- Energy bars made of whole grains,natural sugars lie honey,maple (check labels)
- Nut Butters free of added sugars,salts(peanut,almond,mixed nut)
- Plant or whey protein with less added sugars.
- Fresh pressed fruit or vegetable juices(check labels for sugar,salt)
OK, NOW IF WE ARE ELIMINATING ALL THESE PROCESSED FOODS IN OUR DIET, THE QUESTION IS WHAT TO EAT? ANSWER IS SIMPLEEAT REAL FOOD AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, IT IS FREE OF EXCESS SALTS,SUGARS,FATS AND BAD CALORIES.
Real food is the food which we grew up eating with. Real food is not chemically much processed or loaded with preservatives that add extra calories to our waistline, These are the foods that are in their original form and form and offer full nutrition to my body.Now am not going to discuss much on whether to choose organic or normal varieties as the whole point of this article is to focus on healthy weight loss. Choosing to eat less processed food should be your aim when you are trying to shed pounds.Try to include the below foods as much as possible in your diet and follow portion control to speeden up your weight loss. Your body will thank you for supplying these foods in the right quantities. Eating clean doesn’t mean a stringent set of rules to be followed.It is the idea of including whole foods in your daily life so it becomes part of your lifestyle rather than a special diet.
- Whole grains like brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemal pasta, quinoa,wholemal cous cous
- Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits/vegetables with no additives
- Dairy products like milk,eggs,plain yogurts,cheese
- Freshly cut meats(not the processed bacon,ham,chicken)
- Natural sweeteners like honey,pure maple syrup,dates
- Dried fruit,unsalted nuts,seeds,home made popcorn
- Water,fresh fruit and vegetable juices,coffee/tea(with natural sweeteners), minimal amount of alcohol