Monday, April 14, 2014

5 Pitfalls of the Eat Clean Diet

We began our own version of the Eat Clean diet about 5 years ago. I was trying to figure out what was causing me to get frequent headaches and after much reading decided there was a good chance they were connected to something I was eating, specifically processed food additives and chemicals. 

I should clarify my definition of eating clean:

No processed food, or food with ingredients that are not whole foods.
(Most items that come in a bag, box, or can)
Mostly organic food where available

In the past 5 years I have noticed a few things that can easily happen as a result of eating this way, so I am sharing with you in the hopes that others will not make the same mistakes that I have.

Not Enough Salt: Since most people get a major salt overdose from eating too many processed foods we are always told to reduce salt. REDUCE SALT. It's like the mantra of our society. Well, that can be dangerous when you're following the eat clean method. Your salt will naturally be reduced to nothing except what you pour out of the salt shaker yourself. Now you have to think like your ancestors and salt to survive. Under salting your food will cause trouble with people who have lower blood pressure and people with weakened immune systems (which is basically every American). Don't go light on the salt!

Not Enough Fat: Another popular bad guy right now. It can be tempting and easy to cut out most and all fat from your diet. This is especially important for children who need extra fat for proper brain development. Not enough fat will leave you tired and hungry and possibly depressed. 

Becoming an Accidental Vegetarian: many people will probably not agree with me that this is a bad thing, but after struggling with anxiety and depression and seeing my children struggle similarly I read around a bit more and discovered the importance of amino acids and the brain. Since most of us get our amino acids through meat it is incredibly important to get it regularly. I'm not talking binge eating steaks, but regular meat protein throughout the day even in small amounts is very helpful and has made a big difference for us. If you decide to become a vegetarian, don't do it by accident, be informed and make sure you have a good source of amino acids.

Being too Afraid to Have Some Good Fall Backs: Nobody can keep it together all the time. Hunt up some good brands for weeks when you're feeling too out of it to stick to this way of eating so you don't lose it and give up all together. We like Barbara's cereals sometimes, and Central Market brand frozen Ravioli's. Both have decent ingredients and don't make me feel terrible about compromising.

Succumbing to the Sugar Trap: "I'm making it myself so that makes it healthy." WRONG. I can't tell you how many pans of delicious brownies I have made with those words running through my head. True, it's better for me than a DQ Blizzard, but not much. If you haven't read about how sugar is basically the devil, I suggest you google it. 

I hope this is helpful. All of these points were learned by accident and through trial and error. We have happily rectified them and are still going strong although the sugar trap is still something I have to consciously avoid every day.

1 comment:

  1. Kari, I think you are just fabulous and really wish we lived closer. I just learned this about salt... I don't know if we're as into the "clean eating" as you are (although I do wish we were), but I'm conscious about the salt thing now. Also, yes, sugar baaaaaaad!