Over the past century, the type and variety of food in our diet has changed with many chemicals and unknown ingredients being snuck in. In a world of busy people requiring quick meals and instant snacks, we’ve seen an increase in salts, sugar, refined carbohydrates and trans fats. Way back when, we evolved on a diet of unprocessed, natural foods, and as a result, our bodies are incapable of dealing with many of the products that we idly throw into them today.
The Main Culprits in ‘processed food’
The amount of salt in many processed foods can actually be shocking if you take the time to look at the nutritional information on the packaging – with many unsuspecting meals being jam-packed with over half of your daily recommended allowance.
It’s no coincidence that people like Sarah Wilson have risen to fame advising about sugar and the affects that it can have on our health. I think it’s safe to say that this needs to be a topic on its own, and so there will be more to follow on this shortly.
Preservatives, Emulsifiers and Stabilisers
Removing these from my diet was the first step that I took to eating unprocessed. If you look at the packaging on many foods, you’ll see ingredients that I doubt you’ll be able to recreate easily in your kitchen – and some that you may never have even heard off! These are potentially harmful chemicals that are used to increase the longevity of various foods available on our shelves – but at what cost to our bodies?
The above shouldn’t come as much surprise to many of us, the information is clearly out there already, and we have enough people telling us what we should and should not eat.
But, what are the benefits to clean eating?
There are hundreds of claims about the advantages of clean eating, but I think its safe to say that the results are specific to each person, and the only way to find out is to just give it a go! The main things that I’ve noticed are; weight control, having more energy, improved digestion and a general sense of wellbeing (it may be me getting on my high horse!).
Many clean foods can improve your immune system – for example blueberries are known to have excellent qualities. The quality that we are generally looking for is a high level of phytochemicals. Foods to look out for; apples, grapes, cocoa powder, cherries, tea, wine (yep, you heard that right!), walnuts and many more.
I’m not going to harp on about this one, as I don’t think that it’s a good reason to eat clean. However, it deserves some recognition. It is agreed that nutrient-rich foods can keep your metabolism on its feet. Eating foods full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants as opposed to processed chemicals can avoid spikes and falls in blood sugar as well as improved digestion.
In a world where allergens and intolerances are becoming more recognised and understood – what easier way to ensure that you know exactly what’s going into our bodies by eating clean?
Up Next: How to Eat Clean….