Spring Clean Your Diet for Good Health

by frank-stuart
5NOV

Let’s face it – studies and healthy eating don’t always go hand-in-hand. And while eating takeaway washed down with soft drink or beer may not do too much harm in the short-term, over time it is likely to catch up with you, and you may start to feel the urge to spring clean your body through some ‘clean eating’.

What is clean eating?

Well firstly, it might be best to go into what clean eating isn’t. It’s not a fad diet you go on to lose weight fast, or to fit into your new skinny jeans. It doesn’t have to be an overly strict, organic or harsh biodynamic regimen designed to make you miserable, and leave you craving a Big Mac. It also needn’t be vegan, or even vegetarian if that is not to your taste.

Clean eating is a lifestyle you adopt in order to feel better, have more energy, think more clearly, and to improve your health over the long-term. It involves eating cleaner foods – i.e. those that are less processed and that are closer to their natural, original state. Given that most of us do not farm and grow all our own foods these days (especially not students!) clean eating will involve a little savvy shopping, which fortunately does not have to cost a fortune.

At a basic level, a clean eating diet plan involves eating lots of fresh foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and lean protein, and drinking lots of fresh water. Some advocates of clean eating will suggest avoiding dairy and / or grains, while others will not. The best thing here is to experiment and see what works best for you. In any case it always remains very important to ensure your diet is balanced and provides all the nutrients you require.

Clean foods that do not cost the earth

Firstly, to save money, try shopping at markets where fresh food is cheaper, or take advantage of supermarket specials in the grocery section. If you are living on campus, you might be able to buy in bulk and share food costs with fellow students. From the food list below you can create your own clean eating recipes. Think stir-fry, salads, soups, fruit salad, and omelettes, or see what you can come up with.

Clean food suggestions:

  • Fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
  • Frozen fruits or vegetables – for when fresh items are out of season.
  • Wholegrains – such as wholegrain bread, brown rice and oats.
  • Lean protein foods – legumes, lean beef (preferably grass-fed), chicken, fish, eggs (free range if possible).
  • Nuts and seeds – including tahini (sesame paste) or nut butters.
  • Low-fat dairy foods or substitutes.
  • Other – raw honey, extra-virgin oils, spices and dried herbs, natural soy sauce, coconut oil, high cocoa-butter dark chocolate, coconut water (to drink).

Benefits of clean eating

Clean eating should not only help you feel more energetic, it can also help your body attain a healthy weight without counting calories or going on special diets. The high level of fresh fruits and vegetables can also give you an immunity-boost, making you less vulnerable to colds and viruses. You are also more likely to sleep better, and you may find it easier to concentrate. It is well-worth trying out – especially during the exam season!

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