The clean eating diet is a dietary movement that favours whole foods over processed, refined foods. There is no official rulebook for the clean eating diet, however. It’s more a lifestyle choice than a diet. If you’re just starting on the clean eating diet, it’s important to make sure that you don’t make any mistakes. Here are some tips from a fitness expert from Winnipeg, Gabriel Patterson.

Don’t be rigid with clean eating

In the beginning, you’re likely to be so enthusiastic about clean eating, that you won’t let yourself touch processed foods. It’s important to remember, however, that if you are too rigid, you’ll usually soon burn out. In most cases, you’ll do well to eat clean no more than 80 percent of the time. The rest of the time, you should allow yourself to indulge in regular treats that you like. If you aren’t flexible enough to cut yourself some slack, you may run out of willpower before long.

Don’t forget that clean foods have calories, too

Clean eating isn’t a weight loss plan. Instead, it is about making sure that you get enough nutrient-dense food into your system. This means that following a clean eating diet won’t help you watch the calories that you consume. Almonds, for instance, are an excellent choice for clean eating. Yet, a single ounce can pack more than 150 calories. You should remember that when you get on a clean eating diet, you still need to watch the calories that eat.

Don’t take the five-ingredient principle too seriously

Clean eating aims to make sure that you eat natural, unprocessed foods. For this reason, a frequently mentioned rule requires that all the foods that you eat are made of no more than five ingredients. In a way, the rule makes sense — many processed foods contain long lists of preservatives, artificial flavors and other chemical ingredients, after all. The five-ingredient principle shouldn’t have to apply to natural foods, however. For instance, smoothies with many kinds of fruit can easily run over five ingredients.

Don’t assume that all-natural sweeteners are good for you

You are probably aware that regular, refined sugar is not good for you. It is important to remember also, however, that natural sweeteners such as honey, coconut sugar or date sugar are rich in calories, too. A directive by the American Heart Association advises that you should add no more than 100 to 150 calories of any type of sweetener to your food or beverages each day.

Don’t pay too much attention to the buzzwords

Foods that are labeled organic or vegan can be good in some ways. It’s important to look past the buzzwords, and pay attention to the actual foods that you’re eating, however. It’s possible to use organic, vegan ingredients to make processed foods, for instance. You should always look at the list of ingredients on food labels to determine if a choice of food is really healthy.

Don’t just focus on what you’re not supposed to do

Often, it’s easy to view diets as a bunch of rules about just what you’re not supposed to do. It’s equally important, however, to think about what you must include in your diet. For instance, if you choose to exclude dairy from your diet and switch to plant-based milk, instead, you need to make sure that the milk has added vitamin D and calcium, nutrients that are not naturally found in such milk products.

A diet or lifestyle choice that you go with shouldn’t be excessively restrictive. If you bump up against too many rules, you will eventually bore of them and give up. The best way to stay committed to clean eating is to find great recipes that you like, and make the diet rewarding to follow.

About Gabriel Patterson:

Gabriel Patterson is a fitness trainer from Winnipeg, Canada. Gabriel makes a point to get to know his clients and their health goals so he can help them visualize and attain their goals. Mr. Patterson emphasizes a healthy diet and lifestyle, bolstered by mindfulness and meditation practices. When he is away from the gym, Gabriel Patterson can be found at a yoga class, cycling or spending time with his friends and family in Toronto.