Women

One of the biggest recent diet buzzwords is clean eating’. Essentially a non-toxic, wholefood regime, it involves cutting out the processed food in your diet and eating healthy, fresh, chemical-free food instead. ‘It’s basic common sense,’ says independent nutrition therapist Ian Marber (ianmarber.com). ‘Eating foods as close to their natural state as possible is better for you and easy to do.’ And. of course, there’s the happy side-effect of weight loss.’

But why limit this philosophy to your diet? Applying the ‘clean’ principle to other areas of your life can bring a bounty of benefits for your health and happiness. Here’s how to do it.

The Clean Diet

What is it? Arguably a set of rules rather than a diet, the basic principle of ‘eating clean’ is that you avoid processed foods and go back to a more natural menu. The mantra is, if it doesn’t come from the earth, walk, swim or fly, don’t eat it. ‘It’s about cutting out sugar, refined products and stimulants,’ says Marber. There are variants of the diet: the Caveman or Paleo diet, for example. regards grains as processed and so off limits. The bestselling Clean & Lean Diet (Kyle Cathie, $19.5) by James D. , Elle Macpherson’s personal trainer, suggests you go organic and is pretty strict at first, but then allows some caffeine, alcohol and a ‘cheat meal’. ‘As with all diets, there’s a danger it could become a fad if it strays too far from the basic principles,’ says Marber. ‘Stick to those and it’s easy and healthy.’

Arguably a set of rules rather than a diet, the basic principle of ‘eating clean’ is that you avoid processed foods and go back to a more natural menu.

Arguably a set of rules rather than a diet, the basic principle of ‘eating clean’ is that you avoid processed foods and go back to a more natural menu.

What are the benefits? ‘The main benefit is more consistent energy,’ says Marber. ‘It irons out the highs and lows in blood sugar and mood. Then, because it’s based around low glycemic index (GI) foods, you’ll lose weight by eliminating caffeine, alcohol and sugar, you’ll also get rid of the cravings that cause you to overeat.’ Other benefits may include better skin, as you’re eating more essential fats, improved sleep and digestion, and reduced bloating.

‘I’ve never had such a flat stomach since going clean,’ says Deborah Arthurs, 31, a fashion writer from Surrey. ‘I’ve lost nearly a stone and I look more defined, too.’

Any downsides? ‘Many clean-eating diets start with a detox that’s very restrictive and low calorie,’ says Marber. ‘People love the idea of this but it’s very hard to stick to. It’s not healthy to cut out entire food groups from the diet and I don’t believe it’s necessary to eliminate wheat or dairy or carbs, or buy exclusively organic.’ And what about the headaches, lethargy and hunger that can come with transforming your diet? ‘They are a side effect of cutting out sugar, refined carbs and stimulants, but ride it out for 72 hours and you’ll feel better,’ he promises. Deborah agrees: ‘I was surprised how quickly my sugar cravings and hunger subsided.’

Who does it? Elle Macpherson, Rosie Huntington - Whiteley and Hugh G. are fans of the Clean & Lean Diet. Megan Fox and Matthew McConaughey go Paleo.

you’ll lose weight by eliminating caffeine, alcohol and sugar, you’ll also get rid of the cravings that cause you to overeat

you’ll lose weight by eliminating caffeine, alcohol and sugar, you’ll also get rid of the cravings that cause you to overeat

How to do it? If you’re someone who likes a structured approach to dieting a shopping list, portion sizes decided for you and daily menus mapped out then try the Clean & Lean Diet, or The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf (Victory Belt, $24.5). Otherwise, Marber believes it’s just a case of gradually cutting down then quitting caffeine, sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and processed foods. ‘Forget calorie counting and just respond to your hunger, you’ll automatically eat less as your blood sugar levels will be more stable,’ he says.

6 Steps To Eat Clean

1.    Eat foods in their natural state.

Focus on whole grains, fruit and vegetables, free-range meats and organic dairy products. This will ensure you get maximum nutrients and goodness. Avoid any foods or ingredients that have been processed or tampered with. If you must eat packaged foods, ensure they contain only healthy ingredients. If the ingredients list includes items you don’t recognize, think again!

Focus on wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, free-range meats and organic dairy products.

Focus on whole grains, fruit and vegetables, free-range meats and organic dairy products.

2.    Cook your own meals.

Avoid buying anything in a jar, box or packet. It’s the easiest way to boost your nutrients and dramatically cut your salt and sugar levels. Cooking from scratch is quicker than you think.

3.    Keep your meals simple.

Try cooking with just a few fresh, flavorsome ingredients. Ensure you include a balance of lean protein, unrefined carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Try cooking with just a few fresh, flavorsome ingredients.

Try cooking with just a few fresh, flavorsome ingredients.

4.    Cut out refined sugar and salt.

Sugar offers your body nothing but calories. Salt is linked to high blood pressure and water retention. Within a couple of weeks your taste buds will adjust and you’ll crave fresher, natural produce.

5.    Eat mindfully.

Never rush your food. Take time to sit down, chew your food properly and savor the flavors. This will aid your digestion and satisfy your appetite.

6.    Listen to your body.

Only eat when you’re truly hungry and don’t clear your plate if you’re already full.

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