Although our great city is slowly re-opening, for many New Yorkers, quarantine is still ongoing. Spending all your time locked safely inside your apartment (no matter how swanky) can make you bored, lethargic, and lazy. If you’ve noticed your healthy habits slipping during quarantine, it might be time to commit yourself to eat a bit cleaner.
So, what is eating clean and how do you go about it? Stonehenge NYC is here to help!
Eating clean is a buzzword that you’ve probably heard thrown around a lot. It’s not just about healthy eating. It’s about eating food that’s rich in nutrients, low in additives, and minimally processed. The idea is that the food you consume should be as close to its natural state as possible.
The modern diet includes a ton of overly-processed, high-sugar, high-carb, junk that our bodies aren't adapted to consume. They may be delicious, but they’re not exactly good for us. Switching to a cleaner diet means less sugar, more fiber, and overall, more wholesome ingredients. Not sure of the benefits? This article lists 21 benefits of eating clean. Check it out!
Alright, ready to try it? Let’s get started.
Keep it Colorful:
It’s certainly not news to anyone that eating fruits and veggies is a great way to stay healthy. This wisdom goes back pretty far. That said, you can select healthier fruits and veggies by keeping your diet as colorful as possible. When deciding between a potato and an eggplant, you can be fairly sure that the more colorful one is healthier for you.
This extends to preparing dishes in general. Keeping your plate as naturally colorful as possible (no Skittles!) is a simple way to fill up on healthy stuff. If you’re having a salad, for example, add tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and any other fruits and veggies you might enjoy.
Sugar is Okay, Just not Added Sugar:
If you start reading the nutritional labels at the store, you’ll be stunned at how much sugar is in almost everything we eat. A high-sugar diet can cause all kinds of health issues, so it’s important to limit your sugar intake as much as possible.
That said, there are lots of foods out there that have sugar in them that aren’t bad for you. What you want to watch out for is added sugar. This is refined sugar like high-fructose corn syrup that has been added to your foods and doesn’t occur naturally. Your body doesn’t process refined sugar in the same way that it does natural sugar.
Refined Carbs are Delicious--and Bad for You:
There’s nothing more carnally satisfying than a heaping plate of pasta with a side of buttery garlic bread. There are also a few things more unhealthy. There’s a reason you feel hungry again shortly after eating pasta, cereals, and other refined carbs. They’re nutritionally pretty empty while contributing to all sorts of dietary issues.
Switch to eating whole grains for more nutrients and fiber. Sprouted grain bread, steel-cut oats, and veggie pasta are all satisfying alternatives to your favorite refined carbs. Did you know you can make delicious pasta out of squash? Yep, it’s called spaghetti squash and it’s delicious.
Ditch the Drinks:
We all enjoy a drink now and then - some of us more often than others. As if the hangover wasn’t enough of a clue, it should be no surprise that booze is kind of terrible for you. Although an occasional drink won’t hurt you, frequent drinking can contribute to liver disease, digestive issues, and weight gain.
It’s not just alcohol you should avoid. Sodas and almost all fruit juices are jam-packed with processed sugar. Luckily, the healthiest thing you can drink is also one of the cheapest - water. Too boring? Trying switching to seltzer to spice things up a bit.
Grocery stores are filled with tempting snacks. That bag of chips, pretzels, crackers, and other pre-packaged goodies are just too easy to pick up and eat. They’re also rife with sugars, oils, refined carbs, and fats.
That doesn’t mean you have to totally ditch snacking altogether. Simply switch to a healthier option like fruits, veggies, and especially nuts. Unsalted nuts have tons of nutritional value, so feel free to snack on those options guilt-free.
Vegetable Oils Aren’t Off the Hook:
For ages, products like margarine and vegetable oils have been touted as a healthy alternative to butter. Research has proven this to be pretty much false. Experts have concluded that both butter and vegetable products can be harmful to your health.
Luckily, there are some oils that are healthier than others, especially when used in moderation. Stick to avocado and olive oil whenever possible. Luckily, we all need some of the healthy fats found in those oils anyway.
Eating healthy is a challenge, so there’s a good chance you’ll slip up and eat less-than-clean every once in a while. That’s totally okay! There are very few people who can eat 100% clean. Forgive yourself when you mess up and keep trying. Continue learning about eating clean, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier life.