LIFESCRIPT: Healthy Living for Women
What’s ‘Clean Eating?’ Recipes and Tips To Get You Started. Terry Walters Shares Advice for a Clean-Eating Diet.
Lifescript.com | January 2, 2011
Eating healthy is a top New Year’s resolution. But how do you know where to begin? We asked Terry Walters, blogger and author of CLEAN START (Sterling Epicure, 2010), for simple tips and recipes to get you started…
Any time you diet, you follow the basic rule of cutting back: smaller portions, fewer carbohydrates and less fast food. But a healthy diet isn’t just about what you cut out. It’s also what you take in.
That’s the idea behind “eating clean,” the latest foodie trend that shuns preservative-laden, processed foods loaded with sugar and salt for nutrient-rich, fresh, local fare.
“Clean eating is about bringing great foods into your diet,” says Terry Walters, a Connecticut-based author of two cookbooks, Clean Food and Clean Start (Sterling Epicure). She has also trained at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York.
In this exclusive Lifescript interview, Walters, who writes Eat Clean Live Well, a popular blog dedicated to the movement, shares her secrets on starting your clean-eating diet, plus five recipes to get you started:
1. Add color.
“The standard American diet is very beige,” Walters says.
Such foods – including pasta, chicken, potatoes and bread – provide limited nutrition. To get the vitamins and minerals for a healthy body, “we need a rainbow of color,” she says.
Look for oranges, reds, pinks and golden tones. In summer, that means peaches and other fruits; in winter, you can find these colors in root vegetables and squashes.
These clean foods provide nutritional sweetness to help cut cravings for candy, cake and chocolate, Walters says. Plus, they provide vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
Other great choices: Dark blue and purple foods, such as blueberries and raspberries, are great sources of antioxidants, which counter cell-damaging free radical molecules.
2. Go green.
The most important color of the food spectrum, Walters says, is green. Think spinach, kale and collard greens.
“They’re rich in calcium, iron and minerals,” she explains. “They’re good for heart-health and create alkalinity to combat the acids we get from other foods.”
Start by having salad with every meal, or at least once a day, Walters suggests. But go beyond the typical iceberg: Instead, toss up tender greens such as watercress, romaine lettuce, Napa cabbage and bok choy.
Not a salad lover? Try firmer greens like kale and mustard greens as delicious warm side dishes. Simply sauté them in olive oil with onion and garlic.
Also, add greens to sauces, stir-fries and even smoothies, she says.
3. Pump up instant foods.
Canned soups are fast and convenient. But they also have loads of sugar and salt.
You don’t have to give them up completely. Just add vegetables that raise the meal’s nutritional value.
“Throw in a few leaves of escarole, chopped kale or cabbage,” she says.
4. Get back to basics.
Instant oatmeal may be a quick breakfast, but it usually leaves you hungry a couple hours later. Even better: less-processed steel-cut oats, which have more fiber and take longer to digest, so you stay full longer.
Make it in a rice cooker, which helps retain the oats’ full nutritional value. Then, add fresh fruit, like sliced apples or peaches.
5. Make changes slowly.
Give your taste buds and digestive system time to adjust to this new way of eating, Walters says.
“Even though we’re making positive changes, dramatic shifts in diet can have unpleasant side effects, including bloating, gas, headaches or even skin breakouts,” she says. Slow progress will mitigate these.
“Try one clean food per week,” she says. “Even if you don’t like half of them, you’ve still introduced 26 new healthy foods in a year.”
Walters shares five Clean Start winter recipes – including an appetizer, drinks and a dessert – to help you eat healthier this year.
Featured CLEAN START recipes include:
- New Years Soup (page 132)
- Green Tea with Lemongrass and Ginger (page 126)
- Hot Spiced Coconut Milk (page 126)
- Shallot Fig Spread (page 129)
- Cocoa Brownies (page 158)