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What it means to Eat Clean

Guest Blogger: Celebrity Fitness Chef Jen Arricale

What does "eating clean" mean?  I think of it as eating non-processed, chemical-free, natural ingredients.  Starting with whole food, clean eating incorporates healthy preparation methods and spices, single ingredient items for sauces, such as olive oil, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, and agave.  A clean diet can also incorporate other natural products, like no salt seasoning blend, mustard and tomato sauce.  Eating clean results in eating healthy, but it does indeed require a high level of discipline and planning.

While eating clean may seem too extreme to many of us, who doesn't want to eat healthy?  We all have unique needs and goals, but I have 5 tips that can help us all make healthy eating a way of life, no matter where we are in our journey:

1. Make healthy choices.  Seems obvious, but even small choices add up to big results.  What’s especially important making the healthiest choice even when things are not going as planned.  For example, if I am at a party and just can't resist the dessert table, I should pick the chocolate covered strawberries, not the hot fudge sundae bar.  Just because I am having a weak moment, I don't have to go to the other extreme.  I can still make the healthiest choice because it WILL still be very satisfying and it WILL make a difference!

2. Eat frequently.  Ideally 6 small meals a day.  To get started, simply take the traditional 3 meals and divide them in half for 6 mini meals to enjoy every 2 or 3 hours.  Long periods of time without food will trigger a starvation reaction where our bodies hang on to fat for fear of never being fed again! So keep your metabolism stoked by putting it on a slow drip of continuous fuel.

3. Drink water all day long.  Think of water as a shuttle that delivers all the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients to all the proper places throughout the body.  Without it, all the healthy eating in the world won't matter, as it can't be properly processed and absorbed.  Drink half a gallon to a gallon of water a day to get maximum results from all your hard work!

4. Timing.  Ideally we should enjoy our complex carbs early in the day, and taper off as the afternoon progresses to eating just vegetables and lean protein in the evening meals.  This timing gives us the variety and energy from complex carbs that we need to be our best throughout the day, while also providing ample time to burn those extra calories off that come with the carbs we enjoyed earlier.  

5. Variety.  Eating the same few things all the time, even if they are healthy, is not a healthy habit.  By mixing things up once in a while - different veggies, a new grain, fish, - we are exposing our bodies to a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we simply can't get by eating the same thing all the time.  An easy way to do this is to buy what is on sale or in season that week and make those your staple food items until your next shopping trip.

With these 5 healthy eating tips, we can easily improve our lives by feeling great and bringing our best to everything we do, everyone we love, and especially, to ourselves.  After all, you are worth it!

For more great info from Celebrity Fitness Chef Jen Arricale visit her at http://www.jenarricale.com/.

Posted By Complete Nutrition on March 6, 2013

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