By Jonathan Wright, Linda Larsen

Clean eating changes in your life aren’t difficult to make, but they do take some gumption, perseverance, and practice. When you make a concentrated effort to eat lower on the food chain, notice how this decision affects other areas of your life. To be successful, you have to think about food and eat differently, which will no doubt prompt changes in other areas of your life.

As you adopt an eating clean lifestyle, you may also

  • Lose weight and gain more energy. Eating healthy foods with lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, and good fats automatically makes you healthier. Of course, adding exercise to your new lifestyle is also important. As you feel stronger and gain more energy from the foods you eat, exercising will be much easier.
  • Add fun exercise to your life. Go for a walk with your kids, play on a jungle gym, take up a new sport, or invest in a gym membership. The combination of healthy eating with regular exercise can improve all parts of your life. With more confidence in how you look and feel, who knows what you can achieve?
  • Improve your skin condition and overall appearance. People who eat clean food also enjoy clear and smooth skin, thick and shiny hair, and bright eyes. The saying “you are what you eat” is absolutely true. Do you really want to be a nacho cheese chip?
  • Spend more time cooking at first. Before you can eat whole, unprocessed foods, you need to, well, process them. Don’t panic. Cooking whole foods doesn’t have to be difficult. After all, making simple meals, like baked chicken with a chopped salad, isn’t time-consuming. Plus, you’re learning a valuable skill.
  • Spend more time planning meals at first, now that you aren’t relying on fast food or convenience foods to feed your family. As you get into the eating clean lifestyle, you accumulate more recipes and ideas for clean foods, so the planning gets easier.
  • Spend more time shopping for food and reading labels. Especially at first, allow more time for shopping. Picking out the ingredients for a chopped salad takes longer than buying a frozen dinner. Keep reminding yourself that the health and life benefits are well worth the extra time and effort.
  • Shop more often. Because the foods you’re buying aren’t laced with preservatives, their shelf life is shorter. So shop more often and buy a bit less each time you shop.
  • Produce less waste. You can compost most food waste (except meats). Plus, you no longer buy foods that are wrapped and sealed in many layers, so you use less packaging. That’s good for the earth and your garbage bill.
  • Make preparing and eating food an event. Use the time to talk to your family and teach them skills. Let each family member plan out a meal or two in a week or a month, and take the time to find out more about the food and the cuisine behind each meal.