The principles of clean eating

Clean eating is a nutritional approach that is to abundantly enjoy whole foods, foods as close to their natural state as you can get them. This means eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins instead of pre-packaged, processed foods or fast food. Clean eating is also committed to replacing saturated fats with healthy fats. Here are the guidelines:

If it flies, swims, walks or grows and has not been altered from it's natural state then eat it. This includes lean meat (chicken, beef, lamb etc.), fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables (local, in-season and preferably organic), nuts and seeds.

Choose wholegrains. These are an essential part in a healthy diet. They are unrefined grains that have not had their bran and germ removed by milling. They are a good source of fibre and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Examples of wholegrains are wholewheat, oats, popcorn, brown rice, rye, barley, wild rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa.

Avoid processed food. This type of food usually comes in a packet and is one that has been altered from its natural state to make it cheaper, more convenient, more attractive or to extend its shelf life. It will have a long list of ingredients, most of which you will have never heard of or cannot pronounce. Some of the worst processed foods include; tinned foods, white bread and rice, processed meats, breakfast cereals, frozen ready meals, frozen chips, packets of dried or fresh pasta, packaged cakes, biscuits and muffins, chocolate, sweets and crisps.

Replace bad fats with good fats Bad saturated fat makes you fat and is bad for your heart but good fat prevents you from over-eating, burns fat and gives you a flat tummy. Bad fats include; anything with a crust, pizza, ready meals, shop-bought cakes, anything deep-fried, sautéed or breaded, fat on meat and salad dressings. Good fats include; nuts, seeds, oils, meat, fish, seafood and avocados. You should aim to have some good fat with every single meal or snack.

Avoid refined sugar. Basically this set of foods are complex carbohydrates that have had the fibre stripped away meaning they are just empty calories of no nutritional value. Your body cannot process too much sugar so it gets stored as fat. It increases your blood-sugar levels, giving you a quick burst of energy, which is quickly followed by an energy slump. Examples of high refined sugar foods are; granulated sugar, fruit juices, white bread, white pasta, white rice, cereals, cereal bars, alcohol, cakes, sweets, biscuits, ice cream, fruit yoghurt, sweet drinks.

Reduce your caffeine intake. Excess caffeine stimulates your nervous system, causing your body to produce cortisol, a fat-storing hormone which helps the body respond to stress. Despite this, caffeine can help the body to burn fat, and having a cup before exercise can improve your performance. Removing your body's dependancy on caffeine and instead using it to your advantage is the best plan of action, drinking one or two cups of high quality tea or coffee per day. Organic coffee is packed with antioxidants and can aid digestion by getting your bowels moving. Another alternative is green tea, which still contains caffeine but it is full of antioxidants, detoxifies the body and boosts metabolism.

Drink plenty of water. The most important part of being 'clean'. You need to drink enough water to ensure that your body works efficiently to flush itself of toxins.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is the simplest and most fattening sugar of all. To be truly clean, avoid completely without exception.