Now I can't pretend to be all holier than thou when it comes to food choices. We've all been there, when you've been out on the town until a ridiculous hour in the morning and the only thing open is that McDonalds restaurant. Or the crew with which you are partying is just so hungry and the crazed minds immediately latches onto food that is readily available, filling and able to absorb some of the vodka martini swirling around your intestinal tract.
So in light of this one such example, I revisited some literature on my own style of 'clean living'. How best to be 'clean' with our food and ensure we get the best possible nutrition from our daily intake. The real key - 'cook it yourself'. It's a mantra I adopted way back in my Adelaide days where fresh, raw, great quality produce was on hand and available in prolific amounts. It also started my love affair with fresh food markets, the smell of the coffee roasters, the opera singing fishmongers, the beefy burly butchers and the mushroom man!! Basically if you want to be sure of exactly what you are eating, you want to get the food at its raw stage and know exactly what ingredients are going into the stuff you put in your mouth.
An interesting example crushed my morning affair with the beloved coffee and croissant. I used to love the flaky pastry that used to crunch with my caffeine hit on an early morning shift at my Henley Beach cafe. The pastry was SOOO good and sitting there looking out over the glassy surface of the water as the sun was just rising made me feel so peaceful, so relaxed, so indulged. But then I actually got into the kitchen and went to make a croissant!! MON DIEU - so much butter - SO MUCH BUTTER! I can now never allow myself that complete indulgence of being a la Français.
Clean Living is life without toxins. Ingesting foodstuffs that hasn't had a whole heap of processing done to it before it reaches your mouth. Receiving food in its raw state is the best way to indulge in a clean lifestyle. Additives such as preservatives, sugars, flavourings and the like, all have toxic elements contained within them. Some of these are processed within the body and some stay around in fat deposits after the body has dealt with them. Now you aren't going to have a toxic system by eating a bowl of factory produced microwaved french fries. But consistent ingesting of this type of food is going to build up levels of toxins in your system which is going to raise issues over a sustained period.
The body is great at dealing with so many issues all at once. It's actually incredible how intricate the body is and how much it can in fact 'multitask'. But you don't want to be challenging it too far just to see how much it can actually endure. Whilst the word 'detox' is actually a myth*, you can and should be wary of limiting toxins into your system to avoid health complications. The other advantage here is that toxins actually contribute to low levels of energy and vitality and your body will avoid this situation by wrapping up the toxins in fat cells - and holding onto those fat cells to prevent feeling lack lustre. Think about what that means...
As stated earlier, raw food is essential to clean living. Information is vital in this, especially when you believe you are indeed buying food in it's raw stage, but you are being hoodwinked. Take the giant supermarket chains. Ever wondered why their fresh produce looks so pretty? Every single apple neatly laid out in perfect symmetry in a pyramid that just makes it oh so enticing and 'look' healthy. Most of the fresh produce in these larger chains are actually 'artificially ripened'. They are picked in semi ripened stages and kept in warehouses where they are carefully sprayed with ethylene, a hormone designed to ripen fruit as well as being controlled with temperatures and sometimes other chemicals that are ethylene blockers (SmartFresh) to prevent them ripening too quickly. Whilst there is some evidence to suggest that this artificial process doesn't cause any toxic effects, not having fruit ripen naturally has an impact on nutrition value. And quite frankly, I prefer my fruit and veg to be free from chemical spraying. I don't want to hear the news in 15 years time of "oh we're sorry - that ethylene actually causes a list of side effects. Oops, our bad"
To over simplify the concept, there are three main rules you can learn for yourself to help with clean living.
We all know its the evil of the food industry. Adding sugar or even worse 'artificial sweetener' (read by-product of Rat Poison) to our foods creates caloric intake in excess of what we need and taxing the pancreas, adrenal glands, kidneys and the entire insulin production system in our body. 6 teaspoons a day is the recommended amount and if you are eating food that is pre-packaged, stored in cans or 'long life' packs, you're probably ingesting sugar. It's a preservative as much as a flavouring.
Caffeine/Refined Sugar/Alcohol/Processed foods. The four main toxins that cause our bodies any amount of issues and inefficient practice. Now everyone who knows me knows that I love my Mecca Espresso. Its a love affair. But - there is nothing wrong with a daily coffee. I've stressed this in numerous articles. Caffeine in small doses actually helps with things like metabolism and fat break down. To be honest, milk in your coffee is actually more harmful than the small dose of caffeine. The big demon in this one is more your energy drinks. V/Red Bull/Mother - these are EVIL. They have vastly huge amounts of caffeine in them that are sometimes equivalent to 6 shots of espresso. No wonder they give you a hit. They also contain refined sugar - double whammy. Combine that with a shot of Vodka as so many do and you have a triple threat. Oh what the hell, throw in a microwave pasta dish at the same time - Quadruple Slam! There's lots of reason and explanations to why we shouldn't have them. Getting informed of what involves these four puppies is important. And don't fool yourself. The information is out there.
Avocados, nuts, fish oils, and good oils. Perhaps the big issue here is what you do to these raw fats. If you bang olive oil in a frying pan, you are changing the molecular structure of the oil that changes the way it is processed in the body. It goes from a good fat to a bad fat. DON'T DO IT. Ingesting good fats actually helps your body absorb nutrients, it boosts levels of vital enzymes that help to break down foods and absorb the good nutrients across the cellular walls. It also has a huge role to play in boosting your immune system and ensuring you can fight pathogens, bacterias, infections and the like. You need these fats to be healthy. Eat more fish!
This is all very brief. There are books and volumes that go into great detail about this kind of living. My own personal experience has usually been to source food that I can trust has come from the grubby farmer's hands to me without any middle man. You want meat - go to a butcher! Ask him where he gets his carcasses from? Where does he source his product? A good butcher will tell you straight away. That's the person to trust. Greengrocers - its their job to stock fruit and veg and they are usually the ones making the hard yards out to the markets at 4am on Sundays to get weekly supplies for their storefront shops. Its seasonal and not artificially ripened. And best of all - it has bad spots. Fruit is meant to deteriorate. If it has a blemish, it means its had a normal life out in the sun and warding off insects! AND IT TASTES BETTER.
We can all deal with the occasional mishap, the night out, the holiday away where we eat and eat and eat our way through countless cafes (did someone say Spain?). But as a rule and a consistent way to live, keeping it clean is the best way to ensuring you remain in a healthy state and give your body the best possible chance at doing what it has to do and doing it for a long time. Before you even think about exercising and getting the workouts right - look at the fuel you are putting in. It makes a huge difference.
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