Looking to reduce whole body inflammation and eat clean but not sure where in the world to begin? We’ve put together 50 eat clean lifestyle tips that help summarize the anti-inflammatory clean eating diet and 8-week program we have outlined in our Clean Cuisine diet book.
Our approach to clean eating and optimizing health is based on three simple concepts:
1. Maximizing nutrition through the consumption of unrefined “whole foods”
2. Reducing inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory foods rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients
3. Eating a plant-rich diet (note: Clean Cuisine is not vegan, but we encourage eating more unrefined plant foods and less animal foods)
Over the years, we have taught numerous health and body makeover programs and we have seen absolutely incredible results among people with a wide variety of inflammatory conditions (arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma, endometriosis, etc.) who adopt an anti-inflammatory clean eating diet. We have also seen dramatic improvements in cholesterol profile, blood pressure, triglycerides, blood sugar levels and CRP levels in as little as 5-weeks. And without question the number one “side benefit” is always the same: hunger-free weight loss.
It is important to note that unlike the premise of many popular diet fads (low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free, etc.), there is not just one single special tip or secret to eating clean that will dramatically improve your health or enable you to lose weight for the long term; it is the combination of many different things and a whole lifestyle approach that gets results.
Everyone always wants the one single “best tip” or “big secret” for weight loss or for reducing inflammation. But you can’t just eliminate wheat, sugar or fat— or any other one single food/ ingredient for that matter— and expect results.
The following 50 eat clean diet and lifestyle tips are based on the overall program recommended in our book. Keep in mind, you do not necessarily need to make ALL of the changes listed below in a single day or even week, for that matter. Also, some of the tips overlap, so it is all actually less overwhelming than it might appear at first glance! We have also incorporated lifestyle tips including sleep, fusion fitness, etc. because a truly healthy and balanced lifestyle involves more than just clean eating.
Note: Many of the following tips have links to articles with more information. For the science behind these recommendations please refer to our Clean Cuisine book. If you are serious about cleaning up your diet and lifestyle, we encourage you to sign up for our 8-Week Clean Cuisine Challenge, a free online program that will lead you step by step through a complete lifestyle makeover.
50 Eat Clean Lifestyle Tips:
1. Eat at least 9 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The number one biggest diet mistake most people make is not even coming close to eating enough fruits and vegetables. It might sound crazy to eat 9 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but simple things like adding vegetable soup, a green smoothie, a cup of fruit with breakfast, a salad with dinner, etc. all add up.
2. Make sure your daily fruit and vegetable consumption includes one very large serving of greens every day (preferably 2 servings!)
3. Ditch dairy (this includes milk, cheese and yogurt) Note: Using a teeny amount of milk in your coffee or a smidgen of gourmet cheese as a condiment/ flavor enhancer is acceptable, but realize that dairy is not a health food in any form.
4. Eliminate all processed foods (including protein powders!) and eat foods in their most natural and unrefined state (choose corn instead of corn flakes, oranges instead of orange juice, potatoes instead of potato chips, etc.)
5. Consciously reduce your consumption of all oils (this includes olive oil!) “Whole fats” from plants are always the most nutritious choice
6. Try to get the majority of your dietary fat from “whole” foods (this means olives are a better choice than olive oil and corn on the cob is a far better choice than corn oil)
7. Reduce your consumption of land animal foods (chicken, eggs, beef, etc.) and practice “Meat Free Mondays”
8. When you do eat animal foods make sure you are choosing the absolute highest quality, which means going beyond organic and making sure the animals were fed a healthy diet and raised in a healthy environment
9. Eat wild, fatty fish 2-3 times a week for omega-3 EPA /DHA and make sure to choose the cleanest fish. If you don’t eat fish, take a pharmaceutical-grade EPA/ DHA supplement. (Note: ideally you would both eat fish and also take a supplement)
11. Exercise your full body (all major muscles) and keep your heart rate elevated for a minimum of 30 minutes, 3 days a week. Note: We favor a low-impact fusion fitness approach to exercise and offer a complete workout program in our Clean Cuisine book. We also have a Full Fitness Fusion workout DVD that goes with the book.
12. Don’t eat more than 1 or 2 servings of any single grain—including wheat—a day
13. Choose only unprocessed “whole” carbs (potatoes, corn, barley, oatmeal, quinoa, all fruits, all vegetables, etc.)
15. Trash any food with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. There is no safe level of intake for these man-made fats.
17. Do yoga (Note: we incorporate yoga as part of our fusion fitness approach)
18. Make a green smoothie every day with green leafy vegetables, fruits and water
20. Prioritize your relationship with sleep (note: most people need at least 7 to 8 hours a night, but many people with autoimmune diseases find they need nine or more hours.
21. Put an end to toxic relationships
22. Boost the flavor and nutrition of your food by cooking with herbs and spices
23. Use hemp milk instead of cow’s milk
24. To boost glutathione levels be sure to eat a serving of cruciferous vegetables everyday
25. Rethink snacking and grazing: there is absolutely no proof that eating 5 and 6 “mini meals” is helpful for weight loss or general health.
26. Incorporate non-dairy vegan fermented foods into your diet (such as miso, raw sauerkraut, kimchi, Kombucha, tempeh, etc.)
27. Work superfoods into your diet such as acai, mulberries, hemp seeds, cacao, chia seeds, camu berries, flaxseeds, gogi berries, maca, maqui berries, and pomegranate (note: Navitas Naturals is an excellent source for superfoods)
28. Learn to love vegetables!! We suggest going to the bookstore to browse the cookbook section and picking up 2 or 3 cookbooks that focus just on vegetables. Plenty (Chronicle Books) by Yotam Ottolengh is a great one to start with!
29. Drink at least 3 cups of high quality “real” green tea each day
30. DO NOT EAT IF YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY!!!
31. Learn to cook. Even if you just start by cleaning up your evening meals, eating one nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory meal per day will go a long way to improving your overall health. Note: We have a full month’s worth of easy healthy dinner recipes in our Clean Cuisine Dinners digital cookbook.
32. Make sure the oils you use to cook with are heat-stable; cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and macadamia nut oil are good for medium heat and organic extra virgin coconut oils is good for higher heat (note: but remember, go light on the oil!)
33. Focus on enjoying your food and take the time to prepare delicious foods for yourself; it is amazing how your taste buds will change over time.
34. Take several “deep breathing breaks” throughout the day
35. Have 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar a day (we like Bragg’s )
38. Stretch every day—even if only for 5 minutes first thing in the morning
39. Learn which foods contain prebiotics and probiotics and make sure you eat those foods regularly
40. Take a broad-spectrum probiotic supplement daily
41. Do not eat fried foods
42. No artificial sweeteners (FYI: our favorite sweetener is whole dates that Ivy uses with a lot of Vitamix recipes, but if you don’t have a Vitamix you can use date sugar or coconut palm sugar, both of which are not refined and still have nutrients in tact)
43. Forget the Nutrition Facts label and instead read the ingredients list of everything you buy: the ingredients don’t lie
44. Take a broad-spectrum but “gentle” multi-vitamin/ multi-mineral supplement every day that contains vitamins D3 and K2 (note: avoid supplements containing iron, isolated and synthetic vitamin E in the form of dl-alpha-tocopherol, folic acid or high levels of copper)
45. Take a phytonutrient-rich “whole food” supplement each day (such as Green Vibrance, New Chapter Berry Green, Barlean’s Greens, Juice Plus+, etc.)
46. Get out of a whole wheat rut! Make an effort to rotate your grains and incorporate other whole grains such as millet, quinoa, barley, etc. One of our favorite all-purpose wheat-free flours that we have found we can replace with any recipe that calls for wheat is sprouted spelt flour (we like One Degree Organics brand).
47. Supplement your diet with 200 to 400 mg of GLA from evening primrose oil (we like Barlean’s brand)
48. No margarine
49. Incorporate exotic mushrooms (shitake, oyster, maitake, etc.) into your weekly meals.
50. Take fun seriously (If you never make time for fun and never enjoy yourself then what is the point of it all?)