Six Secrets to ‘Clean’ Eating

Eating ‘clean’ isn’t always practical or feasible because of a fast-paced lifestyle and limited food availability, but it’s possible to stay on track if you know the secrets to success. Making healthier choices is not as challenging as most may think, according to lifestyle fitness chef Jen Arricale.

“It’s really no secret at all,” Arricale reveals. “With the right information, you can make the most of what you put on your plate. Master the basics, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle, even if you do get sidetracked once in a while.”

Arricale recommends these six not-so-secret tips for eating clean:

Organic is best; natural is great; but healthy is a lie. ‘Organic’ describes natural foods grown without chemicals. Sometimes organic foods cost more and aren’t always available. ‘Natural’ foods (canned, for example) are not highly processed. But foods labeled as ‘healthy’ may not be healthy at all. Don’t be fooled by labels. Read them.

Clean foods can come from a box. Even with pre-packaged foods, read the nutrition labels and make your own judgments. Don’t be swayed by billboard-life hype on the front of food packages – the fewer ingredients, the better.

Processed isn’t always bad. Highly processed foods may contain dangerous chemicals, especially those that are shelf-stable for years. But minimally processed foods can still be organic, natural and clean. Compare highly processed foods, such as lunch meat, to less processed ones, like canned tomatoes.

GMO isn’t always bad, either. Genetically modified foods, or GMOs, aren’t always Frankenfoods to be avoided. Some seeds have been crossbred to withstand drought or grow in harsh conditions, and it may be a natural mix of plants to yield something stronger. Ideally, we would avoid anything modified just to be safe, but in today’s industrialized world, most produce and grains have been modified at some level from their original heirloom seed.

Even clean eaters do dirt once in a while. What’s important is to acknowledge that one plan doesn’t fit all. Do what is best for your health and happiness.

The definition of ‘clean’ eating ultimately depends on you. We’re not cavemen. We don’t hunt and gather. And most adults rarely make meals from scratch anymore. A smart definition of eating clean is to choose ingredients you can pronounce and buy in the store.

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