How to start a clean eating diet

SHOPPING LIST — add squash, meat, eggs, apples, oranges, brown rice, oatmeal, chicken, butter, Romaine and parsley.

by Heather Demeritte — 

Clean eating is nothing new. For many decades, our forefathers ate unprocessed foods that centered around seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. But in a world governed by junk food ads, convenient vending machines and time-saving frozen dinners, we are far from true clean eating.

Clean eating may sound daunting at first, but by taking the following gradual steps, you can transform a modern diet into a healthy lifestyle.

  • Plan ahead. One day a week, create a shopping list.
  • Eat five to six mini-meals a day. Fill up on nutritionally dense foods, such as lean protein, fruits and vegetables, complex carbs and healthy fats (essential fatty acids found in nuts and oils).
  • Clean out your pantry and fridge. Toss out highly processed refined foods, including soft drinks, sugar-coated cereals, sodium-laden microwaveable and boxed meals, and white bread, pasta and rice.
  • Replace processed foods with whole grains, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and plain oatmeal, and fruits and vegetables from your local farmers’ market.
  • Shop the perimeters of the stores where fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats are stocked.
  • Be a label detective. Avoid foods with a long list of ingredients that are hard to pronounce. If a four-year-old child cannot pronounce them, do not buy it.
  • Avoid foods with hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and colors, stabilizers, preservatives, saturated and trans fats, high sodium and refined sugars.
  • Purchase lean, grass-fed meats and eggs that are free from antibiotics, steroids and inhumane farm practices.
  • Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of pure water. Add fresh lemon, if desired. Consume unlimited herbal, unsweetened tea.
  • Eat in-season produce. Choose organic as often as possible. Eat raw fruit for snacks and lightly cooked vegetables as the main portions of your meals.
  • Pack healthy snacks to minimize temptations and to stabilize blood sugar.

Cook more meals at home. Eat as a family, and savor the time and flavors together.


Heather Demeritte is a fitness instructor and dance teacher who is certified by the American Council of Exercise with a degree in early childhood development. She is the author of Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free for the Frugal and Lazy Cook. or 480-310-5854.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 6, Dec 2010/Jan 2011.


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