Just what exactly IS clean eating? Think the perimeter of a supermarket where you’ll find fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, pork and other proteins. Clean eating means nothing processed, canned, or with ingredients whose names we can’t pronounce. Food as it comes from the Earth. It also means no rice, potatoes, pasta, sugar, and bread.
Here are the top clean diet plans for you to try.
The Paleo Diet
It’s also known as the “caveman” diet, and the weight loss component of this eating plan allows for three meals a day and a piece of fruit, which is limited to one apple, a small grapefruit, or a cup of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries. You’re also allowed half a sweet potato and a few tablespoons of nuts.
Each meal consists of 4-6 ounces each of a protein (meat, poultry or eggs) and vegetables. Diabetics using this meal plan need to break it up more and have small meals of 2-3 ounces each of protein and vegetables every two hours. Tea, coffee, broth, and water/sparkling water are allowed beverages.
People misunderstand Atkins as the “All-You-Can-Eat” lobster, steak and bacon diet. It’s very similar to Paleo, except you are not allowed the half sweet potato or any fruit other than berries. Those who choose this plan spend the first two weeks on the “Induction” phase where no nuts or fruit are allowed.
If you like milk in your coffee, the plan suggests you use full fat or “heavy” cream. Artificial sweeteners are frowned against, but stevia, Splenda and the like are acceptable. After the induction phase, you’ll slowly add foods such as berries, yogurt, and other higher carb choices as long as you’re still losing weight.
Some critics of the plan point to the company’s release of prepackaged frozen meals and meal replacement bars as a move that’s opposite of the clean eating lifestyle, but successful practitioners (famous celebs such as Rob Lowe and Courtney Thorne-Smith) swear by it.
Former Beatle John Lennon was an avid practitioner of the macrobiotic way of eating, although according to Rolling Stone magazine in an interview with him shortly before his death in 1980, he was known to chow down on an occasional Hershey’s chocolate bar with almonds.
Macrobiotic is a pescatarian diet (which means the only animal protein allowed is fish). You can also eat organic vegetables, grains, and beans that are local to your area. Original tenets were assumed that you lived where you were born. Practitioners eschew calorie counting and focus instead on an ideal “equation” of 60% whole grains, 30% vegetables, and 10% beans, tofu, or seaweed. The plan allows for fresh seafood, fruit and nuts, but no more often than three times per week.
The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet
Dr. Michael Mosley is not only the creator of this eating plan, he developed it because he was diagnosed with diabetes, even though he’s of a healthy weight for his height and age.
The eating plan follows a Paleo base, but limits calorie intake to 800 calories a day over three meals. No artificial sweeteners are allowed, nor are snacks. The eating plan is not just for diabetics, it’s for anyone who wants to improve their overall health.
Intermittent Fasting Diet
In Dr. Jason Fung’s The Obesity Code and The Diabetes Code books, he explains the importance of fasting between meals to help maximize the body’s digestive processes. In the case of diabetics, fasting for longer periods of time allows their bodies’ insulin supplies to settle down and helps control blood sugar levels.
As with Paleo and the 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet, the same foods are allowed as well as natural sweeteners (stevia and Splenda, but in moderation.)