Transitioning to a healthier, cleaner diet is a process that evolves over time. It might start with swapping soft drink for water, coffee for green tea until one day you find yourself eating kale salad and sipping on kombucha!
Wherever you are on your clean eating journey, there are some roadblocks to watch out for.
- Being Too Strict
Clean eating consistently is a good thing, but there is a point where it can become an obsession. There are times when it won’t be possible to stick to your clean eating regime, be it due to travel a celebration or other unavoidable situations. To avoid the stress of trying to eat clean 100% of the time, instead adopt an 80/20 approach. Eat clean 80% of the time focusing on nutrient dense whole foods and allow room for a treat the remaining 20% of the time.
- Eating Too Fast
Just because you’re now eating a clean wholefood diet it doesn’t mean that you can rush your meal. In our fast paced society many of us eat too fast even though we’re eating a healthy meal. It’s important to give our appetite time to catch up to our brain. There is much research around mindful eating and how it can help control body weight and benefit our health.
- Relying Heavily on Foods in Packets
Just because a product is found in the health food aisle of the supermarket it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Many cereals have a high glycaemic index, which means they’re unlikely to keep you full and will lead to blood sugar crashes. They are not particularly nutrient dense either and have many added ingredients. It’s better to prepare something fresh instead of out of a box. Try spinach and mushrooms or an omelette for breakfast or swap granola for a homemade quinoa porridge.
- Eating Too Many Calories
You’ve curbed your junk food habit and instead have started eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds as well as lean protein. When we start eating healthily we can fall into the trap of thinking we can eat as much as we like! The reality is that extra calories will cause weight gain. Nuts and seeds are particularly high in calories. To avoid this trap, downsize portions and increase physical activity/exercise. Find out how many calories per day you need to be consuming for your age and height. Either stick to the recommended calorie intake if you want to maintain your weight or eat 20% below that figure if you’re aiming for weight loss.
- Overloading on Fruit
There’s no doubt that fruit is packed with nutrients that are beneficial for our bodies. However what fruit we eat, when we eat it and how much of it we have are important factors to consider. Clean eating doesn’t mean you can consume unlimited amounts of fruit and still be healthy. Certain fruits are higher on the glycaemic index, for instance bananas and grapes can raise blood sugar levels rather quickly. So while fruit sugars are natural they can create blood glucose spikes. Lower-glycaemic fruits, like berries are a smarter choice if you want to prevent blood sugar highs and lows. The best time to eat fruit is either first thing in the morning or as a mid-morning snack. Avoid eating fruit close to bed time as the sugar can spike your energy levels and keep you up.
Always go slowly when you’re starting out on a clean eating diet and be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel you’re not where you’d like to be yet. It’s best to aim for small changes that will be sustainable over the long term.
Yours in natural health,
Always consult your healthcare professional before commencing a new dietary or exercise regime, before using any supplements and before making any changes to prescribed medications.