One of the hottest trends in nutrition today is the “clean eating” movement, and it’s a lifestyle, a commitment, and a conscious choice that people of all ages and walks of life are embracing. When you “eat clean,” you only eat foods that are nutritious and natural, i.e., lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, sustainable meats and fish, and nothing artificial (organic and non-GMO is best), or in other words, eating “whole” or “real foods” — foods that are minimally processed and handled, which provide sustenance, vitamins, and nutrients from real sources.
If doing something positive for your body and health is of interest, here are FIVE TIPS to get you on the path to Clean Eating:
- Take Inventory. Review what’s in your pantry and refrigerator. Avoid foods that are processed, refined, and loaded with chemicals. TIP: Be wary of any ingredient you can’t pronounce.
- Eat Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. Eating foods that are produced without the use of toxic chemicals is extremely important to your health and quality of life. TIP: Read up on the many benefits of eating organic and Non-GMO. For USDA Organic, visit: https://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=organic-agriculture For Non-GMO Project Verified, Visit: http://www.nongmoproject.org
- Add Color to your plate. Bright colors can be found in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. When you eat a plate full of variety and color, you’re doing something great for YOU! TIP: Roast your veggies! Drizzle a little organic extra virgin olive oil on a cookie sheet, chop up your favorite veggies and toss with Italian seasoning blend (or your favorite ground or fresh herbs), and roast in the oven at 425 degrees F for 20 or so minutes. Serve with eggs for breakfast, in a green salad for lunch, or as a side with your main entrée at dinner. Check out the recipe and video below.
- Use Natural Sweeteners. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for foods with sugars from natural sources (i.e. fresh fruits and organic honey). Avoid chemical laden-artificial sweeteners!
- Buy Local. Whenever possible, shop at your local Certified Farmer’s Market and get to know your local farmers and how they grow the food you eat. When you buy in-season and locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables and sustainable meat and fish, you’re getting the most vitamins and nutrients right from the farm to your table. The food isn’t processed and it doesn’t have to be shipping over long distances, which also helps the environment as well as the sustainability of our community.
Benefits of Clean Eating
After switching to clean eating, you’ll make some amazing finds. For example, you may discover you no longer crave the refined sugars (store bought cookies, donuts, cakes, etc.) you once did. You may also find that your clothes fit better, you have more energy, and your ability to fight off colds has increased.
When you take positive, healthy action by making smart conscious choices about your diet, you’re making a positive contribution towards the long-term sustainability of your health. Bravo!
Try this simple recipe made with farm-to-table ingredients: “Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Winter Beets”
- 2 red beets, peeled and diced (or cut into half moons)
- 2 golden beets, peeled and diced (or cut into half moons)
- 1 (16-ounce) bag of Brussels sprouts – cut in half or quarters
- 1½ c. sweet potato shavings
- extra virgin olive oil
- Italian Seasoning blend (or Herbs de Provence)
- garlic salt & pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place all cut veggies in a large bowl and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the veggies.
- Add in seasonings and mix well.
- Drizzle and spread a little extra virgin olive oil over a cookie sheet.
- Place veggies out on the cookie sheet making sure they are not overlapping.
- Roast veggies in the oven at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until a little soft, crispy and golden.
- Serve immediately as a dinner side (or chilled in a salad).
NOTE: The chicken in the photo above is made by using fresh, not frozen, organic chicken tenders (or cutting chicken breasts in half). Place the chicken into a skillet on the stovetop over low heat with just a tad of extra virgin olive oil. Season each chicken piece with Herbs du Provence (on both sides) and sprinkle a bit of garlic salt over the chicken as well. When the chicken is cooked and a light golden brown, add in a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice over the top for a tasty, moist chicken. Remove from the heat and serve immediately!
The salad below includes the recipe above for “Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Winter Beets.” Once the roasted veggies are prepared, measure out 2 cups of the veggies and place them in a large bowl. Add a few cups of arugula and diced walnuts to the bowl. Toss with a squirt of lemon juice (or balsamic vinegar), a bit of extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic salt. For extra zing, you could also add some Gorgonzola crumbles!