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Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” – Bethenny Frankel
If you know making a good investment will lead to higher returns over time, why not make the conscious choice to only deposit the best food into your ‘diet bank account’? Clean eating allows you to understand more about the food that you’re putting into your body, learning about its origins, and understanding how they affect your mental and physical health.
Following a clean diet program nourishes your body, giving it the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to make a happier, healthier you. In this article, we look at the truth about processed foods, considering a vegan lifestyle, and the benefits of eating fresh and
What are processed foods?
We’ve all had one of those days where we just can’t be bothered to cook and feel like we need a sugary or salty snack to keep us going.
Some of the ultra-processed, admittedly delicious, and often inexpensive foods include frozen or ready-to-eat meals like instant noodles, frozen pizzas, packaged bread, cereals, chips, cured meats, and soft drinks.
These processed foods are loaded with empty calories and contain more than the recommended amount of salt, fats, and sugar per serve. Mixed with chemical preservatives, artificial flavoring, and food coloring agents, they are often linked to lethargy, weight gain, high cholesterol, gastric problems, and diabetes. And the low-quality ingredients are subjected to chemical processing which alters the structure of the food making them high in calories and low in nutrition for the body.
As it’s hard to identify how many calories they may be consuming with processed food, it is
hard to keep your eating in check. Clean eating allows you to take back some of this control. Foods that are high in quality, unprocessed, and ideally whole or organic foods are usually grown naturally without any harmful pesticides or genetic modifications, making them better for your body.
What is the vegan lifestyle all about?
If you’re looking at natural food diets, veganism might be a good place to start. The diet attempts to exclude animal products from your table and aims at reducing or eradicating the consumption of other animal products like leather shoes, bags, and so forth. The idea behind veganism is to prevent animal exploitation and cruelty in all forms. Consuming plant-based food is good for the environment too, requiring less water and energy to produce. Veganism also addresses concerns like overfishing, deforestation to grow large scale crops, and greenhouse gasses emitted by dairy-producing cows.
Apart from addressing environmental and animal welfare concerns, people look at vegan diets for the health benefits associated with eating meals rich in vegetables and plant-based proteins.
A vegan diet includes nut-based milks, butter, and cheese instead of dairy – for example, almond milk, peanut butter, lentils, beans, and tofu for protein, dressings made with blended avocados, and good quality ‘healthy’ oils, like olive oil.
Making the switch to a vegan lifestyle can help reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, promote weight loss (as vegan treats tend to be made with natural sweeteners and have less refined products), and reduce chances of diabetes too.
The benefits of eating fresh and organic food
There are hundreds of diet programs like veganism, based on eating fresh and organic food. So why should you choose to pay more for your ingredients and cook fresh food instead of buying it for cheap? Consider some of the tried and tested benefits below.
It just tastes better!
Eating fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables can help to cut out preservatives, chemicals, or dyes that you will find in processed food. Eating the products when they are fresh, will help the flavors shine and you won’t have to worry about complex cooking techniques to make them taste good. Fresh foods lose nutritional value over time, so buy
seasonal, locally grown products for the best tasting results.
Get your daily dose of nutrients naturally
There’s a multi-billion-dollar market for vitamin and mineral supplements such as vitamin C, D, fish oil capsules, magnesium tablets, and more, all of which are expensive and have to be taken regularly. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain all the required nutrients in their natural forms.
High in vitamins like A and C, commonly found in most citrus fruits; minerals like electrolytes, phytochemicals that act as antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory agents, natural foods also contain dietary fibers which aid digestion.
Fruits and vegetables contain folic acid which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, lowers cholesterol, and blood pressure. The British Journal of Nutrition also proved that organic meat and milk products
have 50% more omega-3 fatty acids compared to non-organic products.
Low in fat and salt and only containing natural sugars, fresh food can reduce obesity and help maintain a healthy weight while satisfying cravings.
Support local businesses and help the environment by eating locally grown, organic and natural food
Organic food is comparatively highly-priced than other products because it is more expensive to grow and maintain. The crops are cultivated on certified farms that are usually smaller in size and local to certain areas. The farmers rely on nature and chemical-free fertilizers and pesticides to grow their crops which can often be tricky, but using natural products is good for the soil and less harmful for animals, birds, or people who consume the raw products.
Organic farming practices reduce pollution, use water conservation
systems and often have natural sources of energy powering their farms.
By buying locally, you can support these small farmers and encourage them to grow more organic produce in smaller areas, instead of transporting them over thousands of miles to reach other countries and consumers.
Clean eating has a number of benefits and you can never go wrong with adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.
If you and your family don’t love the taste of veggies, use tricks like grating them into meat-based sauces, adding green, leafy vegetables to
sandwiches or wraps, or cheating with some processed food, but throwing frozen corn, broccoli, and carrots into your instant noodle dinners.
Of course, it is not possible to eat clean and natural foods all the time. Including a cheat meal into your diet once a week won’t stem your progress or interfere with your weight loss or health plans. Always remember to listen to your body’s needs and consult a GP or nutritionist before choosing to change your diet.
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