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When you walk through your local supermarket, you're bombarded with choices and surrounded by bright packaging, catchy slogans and mouth-watering images that make you want to open that box of cookies in the middle of aisle 5. What the front of the package doesn't tell you is that those cookies are probably filled with chemicals to increase their shelf life and preserve flavor. Those chemicals can wreak havoc on your body and leave you feeling sick and fatigued.

The harmful effects of chemical additives

There are various types of chemicals in most packaged foods that are harmful to your health. These may include preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, traces of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides, and industrially produced fats and sweeteners.

According to the Archives of Disease in Childhood, certain pesticide chemicals have been shown to increase ADHD in children, and preservatives like nitrates and nitrites increase the risk of stomach cancer and asthma attacks. Consumption of artificial colors and industrially produced fats and sweeteners has also been linked to certain diseases.

Clean eating is an approach to eliminating these hazards and improving your overall health.

What is clean eating?

Clean eating is not a fad diet, but a way of eating that encourages you to choose fresh over packaged food. It emphasizes foods that contain natural, healthy ingredients while avoiding chemicals, processed ingredients and unhealthy foods. It’s about choosing whole foods like fruits and vegetables and avoiding refined carbohydrates, additives, sugar and hydrogenated fats. The primary focus of clean eating is not on weight loss, but on improving your overall health and vitality.

It’s easy to eat clean

According to eatingwell.com, by following these simple tips, it’s easy to eat a clean, healthy diet. 

  1. Avoid the middle aisles of the supermarket, where most packaged food is displayed, and focus on the perimeter. Shop primarily in the produce, dairy and meat sections.
  2. Instead of buying a packaged food product, make it from scratch with all-natural ingredients.
  3. Eat organic foods. Non-organic foods may be sprayed with pesticides or contain harmful substances such as hormones or antibiotics.
  4. Eat more fresh, organic vegetables. They’re loaded with vitamins and low in calories. An easy way to get more veggies is to start meals with a salad.
  5. Cut out refined sugar. Instead of donuts and soda pop, have some fruit. Beware of so-called healthy or low-fat packaged foods that are loaded with sugar or corn syrup. 

Making the change

It may be hard to give up some of your favorite junk foods, but the change doesn’t have to happen overnight. And you can still cook your family’s favorite meals, but exchange the less healthy ingredients with whole, natural ones, or search for “healthy recipes” online and treat yourself to something new and different. You don’t have to become an ascetic: you can still have a Coke, a Snickers bar or a Cinnabon on occasion – just make them the exception, not the rule. As long as you approach clean eating as a learning process, you will find that the switch brings more rewards than sacrifices. To get you started down the right path, we offer private health counseling. Visit our website for pricing.