Last weekend, we enjoyed the annual fall festival at our local CSA farm.
While at the farm, the girls were thrilled with the tractor ride through and around the growing fields. But, the highlight of the day was the freshly prepared butternut squash pancakes with warm maple syrup. Yum.
While some people chose to eat the farm’s fresh, seasonal food, other families brought their own food and set up picnic blankets on the farm lawn. I couldn’t help but notice everyone else’s plate, and realized that they shared one thing in common: simple clean food.
Clean eating is a way of eating foods that are in their natural form: Fresh vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts or seeds, for example. “Dirty Foods” would be the opposite of clean. These are packaged foods with food additives, preservatives, refined sugars, hydrogenated fats, and other chemical ingredients.
Then, there are all of the packaged foods that fall in between. The packaged organics at Whole Foods with cleaner ingredients would fall into this category.
Why does it matter? Because your digestive system wasn’t built to digest toxic substances. It becomes overloaded and grows weak, causing bloating, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, and other digestive distress.
A weak stomach affects your entire body, opening the doors to pathogens and causing inflammation. Inflammation is what’s responsible for those “minor medical issues”, the early signs of disease, and all chronic disease.
While clean eating is the ideal, it’s not my reality all the time. And, for people with budget or time constraints (likely most of us), it’s even farther from reality. My recommendation is to make small changes that, over time, will upgrade your diet, reduce inflammation, and significantly impact how you feel.
Here are 3 ways you can upgrade your kitchen pantry with fresh, clean foods:
1. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket, or a local farmer’s market. You’ll find more fresh foods there. If you buy fresh foods, you’ll eat fresh foods. Aim for 75-80% clean, whole foods.
2. Read ingredient lists. Don’t buy anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce or a list of ingredients longer than my shopping list. Five or less ingredients is best.
3. Avoid the “healthy halo” on unhealthy foods. Trix packaging boasts calcium and whole grains. And “natural” could mean natural or it may not. Marketing isn’t regulated. Seek out the truth in the nutrition label and ingredients list.
Your Simple Action Plan:
Remember that small changes, over time, lead to significant shifts in your energy level, digestive health and overall health. What’s one small thing you can do this week to add more simple, clean foods into your diet? Add this to your grocery list!