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How to Eat Clean: 5 Tips for Success

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Clean Eating. It’s a phrase many people throw around, but when you talk specifics with people it turns out it means something different to everyone.  For example, to a body builder the fruit in the picture above might not be “clean” because it has sugar in it.  
Everyone approaches clean eating differently. If you want to lose weight caloric expenditure must be higher than caloric intake (this is true no matter what you eat. Binge eating “clean” foods is still binge eating.) I also want to stress the fact that there is no evil food. There are foods that are higher in nutrients and foods with low nutritional value. 
This is my approach to clean eating. The more closely I stick to eating clean the better I feel, and I see much more definition in my body. I have been re-focusing on incorporating these techniques into my diet, and I am already seeing results. Check out 5 Rules to Improve Your Nutrition and Diet for more healthy eating ideas. 
Clean Eating means eating food which is minimally processed, and as close to it’s natural state as possible. Eat whole foods: lots of veggies, lean meats, nuts and fruit. At it’s heart, this is the key to clean eating. 
This means that you have to put a little bit more preparation and planning into your food choices. 
1. Prepare: If you are hungry you often want to grab the first thing that’s available. Keeping healthy options on hand will improve your chances of success. 

2. Portion: Making healthy choices doesn’t make you exempt from eating realistic portion sizes. Just because an item is healthy doesn’t mean it’s low in calories. Two of my favorite foods in the world are Natural Peanut Butter and Avocados. Both foods have tremendous health benefits. Neither is a low calorie food. 

3. Check Labels: Take a quick peek at the ingredient list. I also check the sugar and sodium content of pre-packaged foods. Many otherwise healthy foods are overloaded with additional salt and sugar. (This is especially true of dried fruits and trail mixes. Dried fruit is already high in natural sugars, and many companies add significant amounts of sugar to the fruit during the drying process.)
4. Organic/Gluten Free/Grain Free does NOT Automatically Mean Healthy: Just because it has a label, doesn’t mean it’s healthy or low calorie. Cookies are still cookies, even if they are organic and gluten free. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them, but remember the term “organic” or “gluten free” does not make it a magic cookie. Keep your portion sizes reasonable. 
5. Stick to the Basics: Incorporate protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proper hydration into your diet. 
Spaghetti Squash over Fresh Spinach with Tomato & Spinach Marinara Sauce and Chicken.

There is no secret to healthy eating. The trick to it is finding a healthy approach that works for you. I don’t eat whole foods all the time, but I make sure they are the foundation of my diet. Today I ate a donut (gasp!) and I don’t feel guilty, or that I had to “earn it” or “work it off.” I don’t eat donuts every day. I do eat vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean meats every day. I exercise and try to make healthy choices.

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