By Andra Picincu
Looking to boost your health and maybe drop some weight? Wonder what to eat to stay in shape? Start by cleaning up your diet! Ditch the junk and make smart food choices on a daily basis.
Whole, natural foods nourish your body from the inside out. Plus, they contain no chemicals or hormones that affect health and well-being.
What are you waiting for? Follow these three easy steps to clean up your diet and stay lean year round:
Sugar is often called the sweet poison for good reason. Believe it or not, it’s one of the most toxic ingredients out there. It not only makes you fat but also contributes to diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance, and metabolic disorders.
Researchers have found that people who took 17 percent to 21 percent of their daily calories from sugar had a 38 higher risk of heart disease compared to those consuming eight percent of their calories from sugar.
Steer clear of candy, cake, cookies, soda, bread, and other foods rich in sugar. Processed meats and ready-made meals may contain this ingredient too.
Beware of hidden sugars, such as maltose, molasses, dextrose, fructose, coconut sugar, agave syrup, and glucose. In fact, many so-called healthy foods are packed with sugar in one form or another.
Organic food is your best choice. Unlike conventionally produced food, it’s free of additives, preservatives, and growth hormones. Meat, for instance, contains antibiotics and growth hormones that disrupt your endocrine system and promote the formation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
If you can’t afford to go organic, at least avoid conventionally grown soy, spinach, strawberries, and other foods on the Dirty Dozen List. These have the higher pesticide content and pose the greatest health risks.
Make Smart Substitutions
Now that you know what not to eat, find healthier alternatives to your go-to foods. Stevia, pureed fruits, cinnamon, and vanilla are excellent substitutes for sugar. Avocado and Greek yogurt can replace sour cream, mayo, and heavy sauces.
Almond, coconut, and Konjac flour are healthier and lower in carbs than white flour. The same goes for flax meal, which is a great source of fiber and good fats.
Always choose foods are raw or minimally processed. Cook your own meals and check food labels. Once you make these changes, your health will dramatically improve. Your skin will look younger, your energy will go up, and you’ll find it easier to maintain your weight.