What food are you craving? Is it a food that nourishes you and supports your health? Or one that lowers your energy and makes you feel off? That’s why we’ve put together our Clean Eating Food List for making healthy substitutions. Every day these choices can quite literally move us towards greater health or away from it.
We encourage you to put it on your fridge or keep it with your shopping list. Use it to help steer your choices towards clean, whole foods. We also recommend starting your day with a strong habit of a shake every morning - get a clean start to your day!
UPGRADE YOUR FOOD
A major principle of living a clean lifestyle is upgrading the quality of the food you eat. In the book Clean, we give some suggestions about how to do this. For example, we recommend buying more organic or pesticide-free food and searching out high quality animal protein like grass-fed beef and pastured-raised eggs.
You can start upgrading your food this week by committing to make at least one substitution from our list below.
BUILD YOUR CLEAN HABITS
Living healthy and clean can sometimes feel like a big project. But living clean is actually made up of a bunch of little habits we develop and practice over time. At first, a new habit takes a lot of energy. We need to learn about the habit, decide that it’s important to us, make a promise to do it, and then take action.
Once we’ve done the habit a few times, we start to build momentum. The more we practice, the less energy we need to keep the momentum going, until eventually we don’t even think about it. The habit has become a part of our life. That’s why we structured the Clean Program to last for 21 days, the amount of time required to develop a new habit. We want you to build the habit of healthy substitutions, especially for the most common cravings listed below.
CLEAN EATING FOOD LIST
When you are craving the food on the left, look to the right hand column and find a clean eating food list alternative. Substitutions aren’t always needed, but we’ve found that these foods frequently cause people health challenges.
1. Bread: The comforting density of bread can be satisfied with starchy options like quinoa, rice, potatoes, and occasional gluten-free breads.
Recipe: Socca Bread
2. Pasta: When you feel the craving for pasta, switch to one made from rice or quinoa. If you’re up for trying something new, zucchini, spaghetti or butternut squash can be made into delicious noodles.
Recipe: Zucchini Noodles
3. Milk: Substitute coconut, almond, hemp, cashew, or rice milk for dairy milk. Each of these options can be purchased at most grocery stores. For people who have sensitivities to carrageenan and other gums, you can make your own.
Recipe: Homemade Almond Milk
4. Cheese: Nut cheese made from cashews or macadamia nuts is a delicious alternative to dairy cheese. However, eating too much of it can create a heavy feeling in the body. Nutritional yeast is another option that adds the flavor of cheddar cheese, as well as additional nutrients like B-vitamins. We don’t recommend relying on fake or vegan cheese alternatives. These foods are highly processed and contain gums and poor-quality vegetable oils.
Recipe: Healthy Mac and Cheese
5. Cereal: There are lots of great gluten-free cereal options. Simple recipes can be made at home, or you can find a variety in the gluten-free section of the supermarket. We prefer the less processed rice porridges, warm buckwheat, quinoa, or corn grits. Remember, practically all corn we eat is GMO, so look for organic varieties.
Recipe: Clean Granola
6. Alcohol: Reducing or removing alcohol for a period of time is a good test to learn about how it effects your life. Do you use it to deal with the stress of social situations? Is wine a habit to help you relax? Seltzer and juice as well as kombucha make a fun alternative to alcohol because of their carbonation. Coconut water is another great option. If you’re looking for something a bit stronger, try an immune-boosting ginger shot.
Recipe: Ginger Juice Shot
7. Coffee: A few newsletters back we wrote about coffee being one of the Big Three. Removing coffee for a period of time is useful to reduce dependency. For the coffee flavor, try Dandy Blend or Teeccino. For a light kick, go with hot chocolate or matcha green tea.
Recipe: Matcha Latte
8. Sweet Treats: Switch out the junk food, cookies, and cakes for clean options. Go with fruit, gluten-free baked goods, dairy-free ice cream, or chocolate.
Recipe: Avocado Chocolate Mousse
9. Sweetener: In place of artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup, use the sweetness that comes from whole foods like dates, molasses, maple syrup, or are low-glycemic like coconut sugar. If you’re looking for sugar-free options, go with stevia, lakanto, or small amounts of xylitol.
TRANSFORMATION OVER TIME
We know that transforming our diet doesn’t happen overnight. Often people are so overwhelmed by the idea of long-term change. If you feel this resistance in yourself, remember: Switching to a clean, whole foods diet is the best long-term health plan and short-term fix to improve your digestion, sleep, energy, and mental clarity. It's worth the investment.
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