Forget fad diets and punishing gym regimes – for true wellbeing, you need to clean up your act.
One of the biggest recent diet buzzwordsis ‘clean eating’. Essentially a non-toxic,wholefood regime, it involves cuttingout the processed food in your diet and eatinghealthy, fresh, chemical-free food instead.‘It’s basic common sense,’ says independentnutrition therapist Ian Marber (ianmarber.com).‘Eating foods as close to their natural state aspossible is better for you and easy to do.’ And,of course, there’s the happy side-effectof weight loss.’But why limit this philosophy to your diet?Applying the ‘clean’ principle to other areas ofyour life can bring a bounty of benefits for yourhealth and happiness. Here’s how to do it.
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THE CLEAN DIET
What is it?
Arguably a set of rules rather thana diet, the basic principle of ‘eating clean’ is thatyou avoid processed foods and go back to amore natural menu. The mantra is, if it doesn’tcome from the earth, walk, swim or fly, don’t eatit. ‘It’s about cutting out sugar, refined productsand stimulants,’ says Marber. There are variantsof the diet: the Caveman or Paleo diet, forexample, regards grains as processed and sooff limits. The bestselling Clean & Lean Diet(Kyle Cathie, £12.99) by James Duigan, ElleMacpherson’s personal trainer, suggests you goorganic and is pretty strict at first, but thenallows some caffeine, alcohol and a ‘cheat meal’. ‘As with all diets, there’s a danger it could become a fad if it strays too far from the basic principles,’ says Marber. ‘Stick to those and it’s easy and healthy.’
What are the benefits?
The main benefit ismore consistent energy,’ says Marber. ‘It ironsout the highs and lows in blood sugar and mood.Then, because it’s based around low glycaemicindex (GI) foods, you’ll lose weight. Byeliminating caffeine, alcohol and sugar, you’llalso get rid of the cravings that cause you toovereat.’ Other benefits may include better skin,as you’re eating more essential fats, improvedsleep and digestion, and reduced bloating.‘I’ve never had such a flatstomach since goingclean,’ says DeborahArthurs, 31, a fashion writerfrom Surrey. ‘I’ve lostnearly a stone and Ilook more defined, too.
‘Manyclean-eating diets startwith a detox that’s veryrestrictive and low calorie,’says Marber. ‘People love theidea of this but it’s very hardto stick to. It’s not healthy tocut out entire food groupsfrom the diet and I don’t believe it’s necessary to eliminate wheat or dairy or carbs, or buy exclusively organic.’ And what about the headaches, lethargy and hunger that can come with transforming your diet? ‘They are a side effect of cutting out sugar, refined carbs and stimulants, but ride it out for 72 hours and you’ll feel better,’ he promises. Deborah agrees: ‘I was surprised how quickly my sugar cravings and hunger subsided.’
Who does it?
Elle Macpherson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Hugh Grant are fans of the Clean & Lean Diet (see above). Megan Fox and Matthew McConaughey go Paleo.
How to do it
If you’re someone who likes astructured approach to dieting – a shopping list,portion sizes decided for you and daily menusmapped out – then try the Clean &Lean Diet, or The Paleo Solutionby Robb Wolf (Victory Belt,£16.99). Otherwise, Marberbelieves it’s just a case ofgradually cutting downthen quitting caffeine,sugar, alcohol, refinedcarbohydrates andprocessed foods. ‘Forgetcalorie counting and justrespond to your hunger –you’ll automatically eat less asyour blood sugar levels willbe more stable,’ he says.