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Clean Eating: Improving Your Life One Meal at a Time
Posted in Healthy Eating by Carole Carson on Mar 15, 2012
Are you familiar with the term clean eating? The editors of Clean Eating magazine state that the basic idea is "consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible." Clean eating "is not a diet; it's a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation." Clean Eating's slogan is "Improving your life one meal at a time."

As the coach for the AARP's Fat to Fit online community, I find that the philosophy of clean eating resonates with me. This approach to food promotes affirmative eating—that is, eating for health and fitness, rather than emphasizing deprivation and dieting to lose weight.

Clean eating also embraces other dimensions of food consumption; from the impact of food choices on the environment to a focused mindfulness when eating, from education about surplus calories from fried and processed foods to the use of mealtimes as social gatherings.

Here are 13 tenets of clean eating. How many do you subscribe to?

1. Eat five to six times a day to keep your body energized and to ensure that it is burning calories efficiently throughout the day.

2. Drink at least two liters of water a day.

3. Read labels and avoid foods with a long list of ingredients whose names you cannot pronounce.

4. Avoid processed and refined foods such as white flour, sugar, bread and pasta and instead enjoy whole grains.

5. Steer clear of fried foods, foods high in sugar and foods high in saturated or trans fats.

6. Consume meats that are locally and humanely raised.

7. Consume healthy fats every day.

8. Learn about portion size and eat portions consistent with the guidelines.

9. Eat produce that is seasonal and locally grown to reduce your carbon footprint.

10. Limit red wine to a glass a day or drink water with a wedge of lemon instead.

11. Savor each bite of food.

12. Pack a cooler for work or outings so you can eat clean on the go.

13. Share mealtimes with loved ones.
I don't know if American chef, author and television personality Julia Child, would subscribe to each of these tenets but she did promote the notion that we didn't have to prepare fancy or complicated dishes to enjoy a lovely meal. Her passionately expressed and widely acknowledged approach was simple: "just good food from fresh ingredients." In this sense, clean eating adds another dimension to Julia Child's wholehearted embrace of simple, wonderful meals enjoyed with family and good friends.

If you are ready to experiment with clean eating strategies, you'll find delicious, easy-to-follow recipes here, or you can subscribe to the monthly Clean Eating magazine. As Julia Child would say, "Bon appétit."

- Carole Carson


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Great article! Love the list. The way philosophy is evolving on diet lately makes so much sense. I will try to follow this advice. Thanks so much!
By capncrunchbud  Mar 23, 2012
I might also say that #2 "Drink at least two liters of water a day" seems good to me, but due to my husband's Congestive Heart Failure, he is limited to less than two liters of fluid per day... I don't know how that pertains to the rest of us.
By Fern RL  Mar 19, 2012
The tips are all worth memorizing to me. Thanks. The one I already believe in and follow the most is #10, except for me it is no alcohol at all (red grape juice instead) and lemon wedges in the water is a nice touch but not necessary.
By Fern RL  Mar 19, 2012
thanks. most of those guidelines i agree with and seem to be corroborated by other healthy perspectives.
By BlackBurst  Mar 17, 2012
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