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What is Clean Eating?

If I polled 100 people, there could easily be many definitions and viewpoints.

However, after years of detailed research, personal experience, and conversations with certified nutritionists and dietitians alike, I’ve developed a definition that is the heartbeat of Take Back Your Kitchen. It’s throughout all my recipes and incorporated into my personal life.

Clean eating is enjoying food in its purest form. This directly translates to the number of ingredients used to create the food you eat. In other words, the fewer ingredients, the better.

Do you see yourself in any of the following descriptions?

  • A reluctant and picky eater
  • Feel you lack time for meal prep
  • Don’t enjoy cooking
  • Are you simply bored with the same old recipes

I can guarantee that clean eating is right for you! It will look distinct for each individual, but when you tackle it one healthy habit at a time, the benefits of clean eating will quickly become obvious. 

CONSEQUENTLY, WHAT YOU PUT INTO YOUR BODY, DIRECTLY CORRELATES TO HOW YOU FEEL FROM THE INSIDE – OUT. Your gut health controls your emotions, your physical pain, sleep and more day to day functions. When you can get your gut biome to a healthy state life just works out so much better in every aspect.

So ask yourself this? Do you feel any of the following symptoms on a regular basis:

  • lack of energy
  • poor digestion
  • exhaustion and fatigue
  • hair loss
  • weight gain
  • muscle tension 
  • headaches 
  • mood swings 

Clearly, these symptoms are often caused by the food one consumes on a regular basis.  While I am not a doctor and am not claiming to know your specific situation, choosing to be intentional about the foods you put into your body is a great place to start.  

Likewise, sometimes your body needs more help than just choosing clean foods. 

Unfortunately, many people not only need to take out inflammatory foods (see descriptions and ideas below) but they also need to ADD something to help them gain and maintain a healthy gut. This will allow your body to absorb all of the nutrients it needs to get the BEST results overall. I recently have had success and LOVE the program that Arbonne uses and would love to tell you more about it. The products are 100% vegan and full of 21 vitamins and minerals. The program itself is full of products that re-align the PH balance of your gut biome as well include delicious protein shakes fill you up to get you to the next meal. These plant-based products are clean eating at its best!

Here are some thoughts to consider when choosing ingredients:

Does the ingredient cause inflammation in the body? 

The only way to find out what’s causing the inflammation is to remove ingredients from your diet.  Hit that reset button! 

Likewise, while many people do not have an allergy to gluten or dairy, many products Americans consume are mass produced and full of additives and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). These products are hard for your digestive tract. Over time, those extra sugars, chemicals, and artificial junk turn into fat and inflammation in the body. Furthermore, since these hidden ingredients are in so many foods with labels claiming to be “natural” or “healthy” or “no high fructose corn syrup”, they still contain variations of corn syrup. This alone is a leading cause of higher spikes in blood sugar. 

Solution: Look for products that have 5 or fewer ingredients that you recognize. Furthermore, unless the product is something that is naturally sweet, avoid buying brands that include unnecessary sugars. Overall, this will cut down the added sugars, sodium and additives that turn directly into fat in the body.

What food does my own food eat? 

Identifying what is pumped into proteins is also important. If your food eats it, guess what!? You’re eating it! Many of the ingredients you’ll see unnecessarily added to proteins like sausage, bacon, and even ground beef is:

  • Nitrates (preservatives)
  • Dextrose and Maltodextrin (a form of High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Sugars
  • Added artificial colors and flavorings

Why are they added? It’s cost-effective. But if I’m being honest, it’s only cost effective for the manufacturer.  Choosing to add preservations that will keep food on the shelves longer means they can sell it to you for slightly less to the consumer, but sell more due to the lower cost. As the consumer, you might save a few bucks over time, but is the cost of your health worth it?

Solution: Look for organic and grass-fed products if its in your budget. This helps to eliminate those unnecessary ingredients. When choosing sausage, stick with the leaner version like chicken sausage. However, indulging in a local, quality version of sausage is okay in moderation. Most importantly, read labels and know what you’re putting into your body. There is always a wiser option. 

Do I have to give up dairy?

As a general rule of thumb, I avoid dairy. However, I do include goat, sheep and lamb milk cheeses as they are lower in lactose and easier for the body to process. Keep in mind that quality cheese that is aged for over one year is lactose-free. So check with the deli counter at your natural food store for one of these quality cheeses when you want to indulge. 

Solution: The quality of ingredients is key. Treating dairy as a treat rather than a daily ingredient will make all the difference. Including Greek yogurt with zero additives is a great addition to healthy digestion. Adding fresh berries or organic honey will make it sweet enough. Over time, these are small changes that will directly affect how your gut feels and how it looks! 

Ghee is my butter substitution. It is simply clarified butter that is lactose-free. 

Are my baking ingredients plant-based Products?

Grains commonly used in baking flour, pasta, and bread tend to be genetically modified and overly processed. They are one of the leading causes of poor gut health and inflammation. 

Solution: Stick with plant-based products, as you’ll see in the pantry must-haves section. These are all waistline friendly. But like anything you eat, moderation is key.  

If you have any questions concerning clean eating, message me! I would love to hear from you and be able to answer your questions.

In Health,

Jenni

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