Every now and then, in the world of health and nutrition, a new trend emerges and suddenly everybody rushes to try it out. It works for a while for some people, doesn’t work for the rest, and it sometimes causes even more health problems that it solves. I can name so many diets... and I have tried them all. Studying and working in nutrition, I have had access to all the latest diets and it has been kind of my ‘job’ to try them out. For this reason, I am going to tell you about the newest trend that’s probably the healthiest and the most effective: Eating Clean, as opposed to the previous recommendation, Eating Healthy.
Ever since the link between nutrition and health was established, mainstream science has advocated for healthy food choices. "Healthy" meant following the food guide pyramid, consuming more fruits and vegetables, moderate quantities of proteins from animals, and a minimum of fats.
That is Eating Healthy, so what is Eating Clean?
Clean means as natural as you can find. The less marketing, the better; the shorter the shelf life, the better; the less preservatives, the better. According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, cardiologist and writer of the book ‘Clean’: “The problem is we are no longer eating food anymore, we are eating food-like products.” The food industry has introduced to the products we consume, ingredients that our bodies don’t recognize and don’t digest because they are man made. Our digestive system doesn’t recognize them, resulting in inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, intolerances, cramps, indigestion… and most important of all: weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, etc… As a rule of thumb, the longer the shelf life, the worse it is for your health.
Here are the golden rules for Clean Eating:
- Eat whole foods: This refers to food that hasn’t been tampered with by adding preservatives (the E followed by a number that you find in the ingredient lists of the product; some don’t mention them) or by chemicals or fertilizers. If you go to the vegetables and fruits aisle in the supermarket, don’t pick the ones that have the perfect size and look all nice and shiny. Pick the ones that look more natural, usually with different sizes and shapes.
- Avoid processed and canned foods: If the label has an ingredient on it that you can’t spell and you don’t know, don’t buy it. If you can, avoid any product that has a label or a TV commercial.
- Eliminate all “Fat-free,” “Reduced-fat,” “Sugar-Free” products: The process used to remove fats or sugars is tampering with the product; it means that chemicals, flavor enhancers, and/or stabilizers have been added to keep the taste, shape, and aroma of the product. I have an observation while we are on the subject: Have you ever noticed how even though the number of fat-free/diet/sugar-free products is increasing in the market, the obesity epidemic is increasing faster than ever?
- Eliminate refined sugar: Stop white sugar consumption; change to brown sugar and stay away from aspartame and all equivalents. Everything about it screams chemicals and inflammation.
- Cook your own meals: This is much easier than you think but does require a bit of planning. Avoid pre-cooked, pre-packaged, and ready-to-eat meals; they are filled with preservatives and chemicals. And now for the last and maybe the most important rule of all; this is where most of you will say... “No, I can’t do that!”
- Avoid wheat: That includes bread, pasta, regular pizza dough, most baked products, etc.. You can substitute them with rice, rice cakes, rice pasta, potato, quinoa, oats... The possibilities are endless if you are really committed. The reason behind this is very simple: Wheat raises blood sugars levels (higher than table sugar) and causes an immune reaction in the body; it inhibits the absorption of important minerals, basically leaving your intestines irritated. Wheat simply is no longer what is used to be. To make wheat grow better, scientists started cross-breeding. This work, which was the basis for the green revolution, and one that won US plant scientist Norma Borlaug the Nobel Prize, introduced some compounds to wheat that aren’t entirely human friendly. Today’s wheat includes sodium azide (a known toxin), goes through gamma radiation during manufacturing, and contains proteins that are not found in either the parent or the plant - most of which are hard for us to digest. This creates an immune reaction triggering systemic inflammation and a number of autoimmune diseases like celiac disease, arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Cardiologist Dr. William Davis, author of the book “Wheat belly: Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health,” says that today’s wheat contains gliadin, which degrades to a morphine-like compound after consuming it, creates an appetite for more wheat, and gives it that addictive quality.
Be careful! Eating clean may result in weight loss, improved glucose tolerance, regulated blood cholesterol, more energy, reduced bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome. Try it out for at least two weeks and please let us know the results. Give us your feedback and comments on Facebook: New trends in Nutrition.