Eating Clean For Dummies book cover

Eating Clean For Dummies

By: Jonathan Wright and Linda Johnson Larsen Published: 08-01-2016

Everything you need to start eating clean

Whether you've lived on white carbs and trans fats all your life or you're already health conscious but want to clean up your diet even further, Eating Clean For Dummies, 2nd Edition explains in plain English exactly what it means to keep a clean-eating diet. Brought to you by a respected MD and licensed nutritionist, it sets the record straight on this lifestyle choice and includes recipes, the latest superfoods, tips and strategies for navigating the grocery store, advice on dining out, and practical guidance on becoming a clean eater for life.

Clean eating is not another diet fad; it's used as a way of life to improve overall health, prevent disease, increase energy, and stabilize moods. Eating Clean For Dummies shows you how to stick to foods that are free of added sugars, hydrogenated fats, trans fats, and anything else that is unnatural or unnecessary. Plus, you'll find recipes to make scrumptious clean meals and treats, like whole grain scones, baked oatmeal, roasted cauliflower, caramelized onion apple pecan stuffing, butternut mac and cheese, and more.

  • Get the scoop on how clean eating helps you live longer, prevent disease, and lose weight
  • Change your eating habits without sacrificing taste or breaking your budget
  • Make more than 40 delicious clean-eating recipes
  • Deal with food allergies and sensitivities

You are what you eat! And Eating Clean For Dummies helps get you on the road to a healthier you.

Articles From Eating Clean For Dummies

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24 results
24 results
Eating Clean For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-25-2022

Eating clean is simply the practice of avoiding processed and refined foods and basing your diet on whole foods. But there’s more benefits to this plan. You can structure your diet to get proper nutrition, help manage diseases, avoid developing diseases in the first place, lose weight, remove toxins, and just feel better.

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Combining Clean Eating with Your Daily Routine

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

Converting your daily routine to the eating clean lifestyle is easier than you think. Sure, you have to spend more time planning, shopping, and preparing meals than you do now, but as with all new skills, you'll get faster as you get more experience. Especially when you're just getting started, you can eat clean meals with a little help from the grocery store. Whole-grain crackers spread with nut butter or some cheese and a granola bar make for perfectly acceptable mini meals. You don't have to make everything from scratch. Build your clean eating plan right into your daily routine. Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. Then schedule a morning snack three hours later. Eat your lunch at the regular time. Then have a piece of fruit during a mid-afternoon break. Eat your dinner at the regular time, and have a snack a few hours later to help you wind down your day and get in the mood for bed. You may want to start a journal of your favorite mini meals. Think of the snacks you enjoyed as a child and try to find ways to convert them into clean foods. For example, if you loved eating nacho chips with soda pop, try to make your own crackers with nuts and seeds, and enjoy a few of them with some iced tea sweetened with agave nectar. Before you know it, you'll have a long list of snacks and mini meals that you enjoy eating.

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Choosing the Right Packaged Foods (If You Must)

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

You've heard of the food chain that has algae and amoeba at the bottom and lions and tigers at the top, but you may not know about the other food chain — that is, the processed food chain. In this food chain, foods in their natural state, like apples, greens, berries, and whole grains, are at the bottom, and processed foods, like sugary snack cakes and fast-food burgers, are at the top. If you eat low on the food chain, you'll automatically eat a clean diet. So think about food in its natural state before you buy it. A gelatin fruit salad packed in a little plastic cup with chunks of peaches floating in it is very different from a fresh peach picked right off the tree. If you're still buying foods with a label, use the following rules to help guide your choices: Read the labels. If a product like whole-wheat bread contains more than five or seven ingredients, put it back on the shelf. You don't have to stick to a certain ingredient count; just make sure that the number of ingredients is about what you would use if you made the food from scratch. If you can't pronounce, spell, or understand ingredients on the food label, don't buy that particular product. Your body doesn't need artificial flavors or chemicals made in the lab. Even chemicals the FDA regards as safe may be problematic in the future. Avoid foods that have sugars, processed ingredients, or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label. These foods are made up of empty calories that don't provide much nutrition. Choose foods that are low on the food chain. In other words, choose foods that are as close as possible to their natural state. Pick up a head of cabbage rather than a jar of coleslaw. Choose a bag of apples rather than a bottle of sweetened applesauce. If you do so consistently, you'll be well on your way to eating clean. When you follow these simple rules, you may notice that a lot of the foods you're used to buying are no longer on your grocery list. This switch in what you buy can take some time, but don't stress! You can ease into the process. Becoming aware of what you put in your shopping cart and bring into your house is the first, and most important, step.

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Identifying Thirst Cues

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

Water is a basic element of life. In fact, human bodies are about 65 percent water. When your body needs more water, it lets you know through thirst cues. But did you know that people often mistake thirst for hunger? If your stomach starts rumbling and you want to eat, get a drink of water. Not soda, not coffee or tea — just plain water. Then wait a few minutes. If you were thirsty, not hungry, your craving for food will abate. Drinking water to see whether you're thirsty rather than hungry is especially important if you had something to eat less than three hours ago or if you haven't had any water in the last hour. Drinking lots of water helps your body do the following: Keep your metabolism at the proper level Decrease food cravings Burn stored fat Maintain muscle tone Increase energy levels In fact, drinking water or eating a clear soup before a meal is a great way to help fill up your stomach and control hunger pangs. Keeping your body properly hydrated can help you recognize the true feelings of hunger.

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Decoding Hunger Cues

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

With the eating clean lifestyle, you have to figure out what real hunger feels like. Hunger is one of life's biological drives. You have to eat to stay alive, and your body tells you when you need food. But in this modern world, images of food — reminders of everything from chocolate doughnuts to french fries — constantly bombard you. After all, Madison Avenue's efforts to make you crave different kinds of food have been very successful over the years! You can separate hunger into two basic categories. One is the normal hunger that comes when your body needs food to repair and maintain itself. The other is the hunger that occurs when you respond to external cues, such as a picture of food, or internal cues, such as stress or sadness. Within these two hunger categories, you experience several different types of hunger, including True physiological hunger: A type of hunger caused by a drop in blood sugar, changes in hormone levels, and an empty stomach and intestine. The brain decodes these signals and sends messages to the rest of your body, making your stomach growl and ache and sometimes causing a headache or feeling of weakness. You must recognize these hunger signals to keep your body properly fueled and healthy. Psychological hunger: A type of hunger triggered by thoughts and emotions, like worry, anxiety, or anger, or by the sight or smell of food. Eating junk food, binge eating, and eating out of habit rather than a physical need for nourishment feed this type of hunger. Appetite: An interest in or craving for food. Appetite is linked to the physical need for food, but it can override the body's signals that you have eaten enough and can spur you on to eat more than you need — sometimes much more.

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The Different Types of Clean Fiber

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

The two types of fiber, which perform different functions in your body, are classified by whether or not they dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber doesn't dissolve in water, and soluble fiber does. Fiber is partially fermented by bacteria in your intestines, which helps maintain a good balance of healthy bacteria. It also performs other functions in the trip through your GI tract. Here's the lowdown on what the two types of fiber do: Insoluble fiber: This type of fiber helps food and other materials move through your gastrointestinal system. It also makes going to the bathroom a bit easier. In other words, if you eat a lot of clean, fiber-rich, whole foods, you won't have a problem with constipation. Insoluble fiber helps prevent the development of diverticulitis (inflammation of the small pouches in the colon that develop as you age; when these pouches become inflamed, they can harbor bacteria). It also slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and helps control the acidity in your intestines. The bulk provided by insoluble fiber keeps things moving in your intestines, which may help prevent cancer. You find this type of fiber in the bran of wheat and corn, in seeds and nuts, in other whole-grain products, and in fruit and vegetable skins. Leafy vegetables and fibrous vegetables like green beans are also good sources of insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber: This type of fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel material. Nutritionists now know that this type of fiber is critical to good health. It can lower blood cholesterol levels and stabilize glucose levels, which may help prevent type-2 diabetes. Soluble fiber binds with bile acids in the intestines, removing them from your body. Your liver then makes more bile acids from the cholesterol in your blood, which reduces overall cholesterol levels. This type of fiber can also reduce inflammation and blood pressure. Soluble fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer after a meal by slowing down the rate at which your stomach empties so that you don't want to eat again too soon. Good sources of soluble fiber include nuts, barley, fruits, vegetables, oat bran, dried legumes, and psyllium husks.

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What Phytochemicals Are and What They Do

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

Phytochemicals are natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables that help protect against the many causes of disease. Scientists think that plants developed these compounds to protect themselves against stress and environmental toxins. For instance, the brightly colored skins of many fruits and vegetables protect against the sun's ultraviolet rays. You won't find phytochemicals in most refined foods. The cooking and processing necessary to produce refined foods destroys many phytochemicals. So why not avoid those products and enjoy whole foods instead? Phytochemicals have many important roles in your body. They can act as any of the following: Antioxidants: Antioxidants are natural chemicals that protect your cells against free radicals, which are rogue molecules that can cause damage that leads to diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Some common antioxidants include carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanidins, and allyl sulfides. Hormone imitators and helpers: Some phytochemicals can help regulate your body's hormones. For example, isoflavones in soy can imitate the action of female estrogens to help reduce the symptoms of menopause. And a polyphenol in cinnamon can help improve insulin function. Cholesterol reducers: Phytosterols reduce the cholesterol counts in your bloodstream and help accelerate your body's natural cholesterol excretion methods. Collagen producers: Anthocyanidins help boost collagen production in blood vessels and may help reduce the effects of arthritis. Immune system stimulators: Flavonoids and phytoestrogens can help suppress tumor growth, and terpenes block proteins that overstimulate cell growth and reproduction. Other phytochemicals help increase the production and movement of white blood cells that protect your body against infection. Enzyme stimulators: Indoles, which are found in cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and other vegetables, aid enzymes that protect cells against damage by balancing good and bad estrogens in the body. Protease inhibitors and terpenes also boost production of enzymes that inhibit the formation of cancer. DNA replication interrupters: This category includes saponins, which are natural detergents found in many plants. These phytochemicals interfere with cell replication, possibly preventing the out-of-control cell growth that's typical in cancer cells, but they don't reduce or interfere with normal cell growth. Cell binders: Some phytochemicals go directly to cell walls and bind to them, protecting the cells against pathogens like bacteria and viruses. The proanthycyanidins in cranberries, for instance, can help prevent urinary tract infections by blocking bacteria. Bacterial, viral, and fungal fighters: Some phytochemicals destroy the invaders that enter your body through the food, water, and air you take in. For instance, allicin, a compound found in garlic, has antibacterial properties. Because these powerful chemicals protect your cells, fight bacteria and other intruders (including free radicals), manage hormones, and aid enzymes, it's no wonder that nutritionists have been urging people to eat lots of the fruits and vegetables that provide phytochemicals. You can get phytochemicals in pill form, but you benefit more from eating them in their natural form as part of your diet. Here's why: Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals in many different forms and combinations that are impossible to replicate in a single pill. And the size of a pill that contained all the antioxidants available in fresh produce would be impossible to swallow! Scientists haven't discovered all the phytochemicals that nature provides, so you can't find them in any available supplement. The way these natural chemicals react in the body is extremely complicated and difficult to test and replicate in a lab, so relying entirely on supplements rather than fruits and vegetables is problematic.

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GMO Foods

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

GMO foods started appearing in the news in the 1980s and 1990s. These foods are made when scientists insert foreign DNA from plants or animals into cells that change the plant or animal's traits. Some GMO foods are bred to be resistant to herbicides and pesticides. Other changes can include increasing the speed with which an animal comes to maturity or reducing the signs of produce spoilage. In fact, one company just received FDA approval to grow genetically engineered salmon bred to grow faster. Ecologists are concerned that this salmon may escape its breeding grounds and contaminate wild salmon stocks. Many scientists state that, because we've been eating GMO foods for more than a decade and no serious health effects have been uncovered, GMO foods are safe. But some illnesses take much longer than a decade or two to appear. Testing on GMO foods is controlled by the companies that own the patents on the genes, and no tests have been run longer than three months. Most of the corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet crops grown in the United States are genetically engineered. That's just one of the reasons why we tell you to avoid the oils made from these foods, and one more reason why it's important to avoid sugar. Only buy the following foods in their organic form: cornmeal, edamame, tofu, miso, popcorn, and corn tortillas. One of the problems caused by GMO crops has been the increase in the amount of herbicides farmers use on their crops. Since 1992, the use of glyphosate, the ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has increased by more than 200 million pounds. This has spurred an epidemic of super weeds that have become resistant to the herbicides, which in turn has forced farmers to apply more and different herbicides. And the cycle continues. Most consumer advocates believe that any foods that contain GMO crops should be labeled so consumers can choose what they eat. Huge corporations are fighting these labels, and many ballot initiatives requiring these labels have failed. All you can do is avoid eating corn, soybean, or canola oil, and try to avoid foods with a label, especially highly processed foods. And educate yourself on this issue so you can vote on referendums when they appear on the ballot.

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Putting Clean Minerals to Work

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

Like vitamins, minerals assist your body in retrieving energy from macronutrients so that your cells can work, grow, repair themselves, and replace themselves. The minerals in plants, dairy products, and meat all come from the soil. Some nutritionists are concerned that as more and more farmers deplete their soil, the amount of minerals naturally present in these foods also decreases. After all, soil does wear out over time; unless farmers replenish it with decaying plant matter, nutrients disappear from the soil. Artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides also take their toll on the soil. Naturally occurring bacteria in the soil convert minerals into the form that plants can use, and those bacteria don't take kindly to poisons such as pesticides. Herbicides, especially fungicides, can negatively affect the mineral content in soils. Some plants have a symbiotic relationship with fungi that helps them pull more minerals and nutrients out of the soil. When farmers use fungicides on their crops, those plants have a reduced mineral content. In fact, studies published by Dr. Linus Pauling have found that the mineral content of fruits and vegetables, from the time frame of 1940 to 1991, has decreased from 20 to 70 percent! If you're concerned about this trend, consider taking a good multivitamin and mineral supplement, or try to buy organic foods from farms that practice sustainability. Or do both! Sustainable farms practice organic farming techniques and rely on letting fields lie fallow to keep the soil healthy. They also plant cover crops, such as clover, which return nutrients to the soil.

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What Happens to Excess Macronutrients and Calories

Article / Updated 11-01-2016

It's too bad your body doesn't discard the excess carbs, protein, fat, and calories you consume like it discards waste, fiber, and too much liquid. Human bodies evolved to hang on to fuel simply because starvation was part of life for early humans. If you eat only once a week or once a month, your body will hold on to all the calories it can as a hedge against starvation. Of course, now that you have 24-hour supermarkets and pizza delivery, starvation is the least of your worries. Your body is extremely efficient. It extracts and uses the energy it needs from the food you eat and converts the excess into fat, which it then stores in your body. Too many calories equal excess fat. But all calories are not equal (the laws of thermodynamics aside). After all, human bodies aren't machines made out of metal and moving parts; every body is different. For example, simple carbs and sugars trigger insulin responses in the body, which tell it to store fat. In some people, this response is very easy to trigger; as a result, a high-carbohydrate diet makes them put on weight. On the other hand, for most people, the body has to work harder to digest proteins than it does to digest carbs, which means they gain less weight on a high-protein diet.

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