Learn Clean Eating Basics to Enhance Your Lifestyle

By: Dr. Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Dr. Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM


your local garden can help with clean eating basicsStaying healthy is important in order to have a good, long life. One of the most important ways to stay healthy is by choosing to eat healthy. That is why choosing to eat clean is ideal. Clean eating basics are about choosing the healthiest and best foods for your body while avoiding poor food choices. It also means eating foods in there in purest and most nutritional form.

The Basics About Clean Eating

First of all, clean eating basics are not necessarily diet. It’s a whole way of life. This lifestyle includes choosing more foods in there more natural state, preparing them in a more natural way and avoiding processed foods whenever possible. If you choose to eat clean then there are a few simple guidelines you should follow, including:

  • Buying organic clean foods whenever possible
  • Avoid processed and refined foods
  • Drink at least two liters of water a day
  • Avoid preservatives and additives
  • Choose healthier fats
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners and processed sugars
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Learn to prepare foods in healthier ways (for example less fried foods)
  • Learn to read labels and avoid foods that are not processed naturally
  • Don’t count calories or portions
  • Combine carbs and proteins (including meat) to feel full longer
  • If you cannot avoid it being processed such as condiments or bread, make it yourself at home. At least then you know what’s in it

How Clean Eating Basics Will Benefit You

As a society we have been eating too many processed foods lately. It’s quicker and easier, however, it is not necessarily healthier. Eating Clean has many basic health benefits that we just cannot ignore. For example, it can help improve brain function, boost energy, boost your mood, improve sleep and leave you with better looking skin. Not to mention the basics of eating clean will help prevent illness by boosting your vitamins and minerals, as well as, help maintain healthy blood glucose levels and healthy cell functions. Overall, we put too much junk into our bodies and by eating clean we become more conscience of what we are eating and how it affects our bodies.

Grocery List

Vegetables: It’s important to eat a wide variety of vegetables in all colors. Choose organic veggies and either eat them raw, steamed or grilled for the best results. When making a meal, fill your plate with the majority of it being vegetables. Vegetables are filled with many good nutrients that you need for bodily functions.

Fruits: Fresh fruits are essential clean eating basics. Avoid canned foods that are high in corn fructose syrup and preservatives. You should choose to eat fresh organic fruit raw, dried fruits or baked fruits.

A well rounded meal can provide clean eating basicsProteins: Proteins are vital to a healthy diet. Choose low-fat proteins. However, you don’t have to avoid red meat all together. Have a good combination of proteins including: fish, eggs, beef and cheese in your diet. Also combine proteins with healthy carbs so that you stay fuller longer and don’t overeat. Beans, nuts, and seeds are a great source of plant protein as well.

Carbs: Be sure to also eat healthy carbs. These carbs include barley, beans, brown rice, whole grain bread and whole grain tortillas. By combining these with good proteins and vegetables you have a very healthy a fulfilling meal. If you are unsure about the bread or tortillas make them from scratch. It’s always better knowing the ingredients you put into your meals rather than guessing if it is healthy for you.

Check out this easy to understand infographic about grocery list in clean eating basics

 
Oils and Fats: Choose healthy fats and oils in your diet including: olive oil, flax oil avocado oil, almond butter, avocados, greek yogurt and organic full fat milk and cheese. Always keep in mind that clean eating basics are about eating things in their natural form. When in doubt go organic.

Seasonings: Buy fresh herbs and seasonings such as fresh garlic, cilantro, basil, sea salt, cracked pepper, lemons, thyme, bay leaves and parsley. Fresh seasonings will give a better taste to your food and will be healthier.

Condiments: Always look for condiments that are not processed much or instead make your own. And it’s ok to just freshen up your salads with lemon and vinegar. Give up the heavily processed salad dressings.

Clean Eating Basics and Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is when there is in an imbalance in your adrenal gland that causes a wide variety of symptoms and can overload your body. This can include making you chronically fatigued, moody, unable to wake up easily, back pain and a whole wide array of problems that eventually if not treated can be debilitating. Eating food can either worsen your problems or it can aid in your recovery. So, it is important to find foods that will help you recover. First of all, avoid any foods that you are sensitive to, they will cause inflammation or rises your blood glucose levels. Clean eating basics can seriously aid in helping you to feel better. If you have adrenal fatigue, the best diet would include lean organic meats, brightly colored veggies, gluten-free whole grains and fruits low in sugar. Many people who suffer from AFS have high blood glucose levels that create an imbalance in their bodies. For this reason, it’s important to watch your glucose levels. A few great low sugar fruits include strawberries, blueberries, apricots, oranges, grapefruits and pears.

Low sugar foods are included in clean eating basicsHowever, keep in mind you still need to check your glucose levels daily. Also, it’s important to eliminate or restrict dairy in your diet. Eating clean allows you to eat dairy, however, dairy can add stress to your body and should be limited if you have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Before you decide to make this lifestyle choice of eating clean, please talk to specialist in nutritional coaching, especially if you suffer from adrenal fatigue. Those with advanced adrenal fatigue typically have a more sensitive digestive system with many limitations to what they can eat. Clean eating may help AFS, but may also worsen it. If you don’t properly take care of your AFS it can result in adrenal exhaustion. It’s always important to receive medical advice from a professional.

NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response and Clean Eating Basics

This world has so many stress factors that affect our bodies.These factors can be emotional but they are also physical such as toxins, pesticides, fertilizers, and pollution. The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response model is a conventional model that shows how stress affects our bodies, our organs, and our systems, especially our neuroendocrine system which is in charge of handling most of our stresses. Clean eating removes a lot of the physical stresses in our body that create illnesses and can lead to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. I say this because clean eating means eliminating pesticides, additives, preservatives, processed sugars, and refined foods that can put stress on our organs, including our digestive track. When you remove some of these physical stressors your body naturally goes back to a healthier state. Of course eating clean is not a cure all, but it will help greatly.

 
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Your local garden can provide clean eating basics




2 Comments

  • P.W. Boyko says:

    Have always been a strong proponent of the lifestyle eting habits that you endorse, except for me , drinking 2litres of water daily. Even a half a glass of water results in giving me reflux, have you heard of this before, and what are your thoughts on the topic?

    • Dorine Lam RDN says:

      I have not encountered too many like you. If you have a problem drinking even half a glass of water then the best way is to sip your water a little at a time.

      Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH
      Registered Dietitian and Senior Holistic Nutritionist