My friend and fitness guru Tony Horton has shown us so much about healthy living, exercising and eating well. Within his breakthrough plan to reshape your body, one of my favorite Tony Horton methods of losing weight and staying healthy is his plan to eat “clean.”
Eating clean doesn’t necessarily mean washing your food before you eat it (though that’s an important step too). It means eating foods that have no preservatives, additives, or chemicals in the ingredient list. If there’s a mysterious ingredient you can’t pronounce or if it evokes an image of guys in white lab coats, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
Tony Horton talks about the 90-10 Rule: The idea that you should only stick to clean foods 90% of the time instead of 100%. This rule is important because we all need to include some cheat days and cheat meals in our diet to allow us to reward ourselves and to keep us on track. Read more about his 3-step diet plan.
First, for the 90%, choose foods with only one ingredient. It may seem easy, but next time you’re in the grocery store, think of all the groceries you usually buy that is made with chemicals, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup. If you need a reminder, just read the labels on most packaged foods.
Next, for the 10%, you can eat "dirty" snacks. Yes, you read that right: dirty! You to have a little fun while you are on your diet.
Finally, you may benefit from Tony Horton’s replacement shake.
For more examples of clean foods, visit our Eat Yourself Skinny Gallery, which contains delicious foods that are not only clean but can rev up your metabolism as well.
Here are some other vitally important tips for eating clean:
- Cook: This should go without saying – it’s important to know what ingredients go into your food. It may seem like a waste of time or a boring ordeal, but you can make cooking a fun experience. Try new dishes. Invite friends over. Try cooking or eating in the great outdoors. Home-cooked food also includes an important ingredient that you don’t get with restaurants: Love.
- Avoid Artificial Sweeteners: Using artificial sweeteners like aspartame (found Neutrasweet or Equal) and Sucralose (found in Splenda) may lower your calorie intake, but it has other hidden health effects. For example, use of these substances has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, cancer and various bathroom troubles. Read our article on artificial sweeteners to learn more. You should rely on more natural sweeteners like agave, raw sugar or honey.
- Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup: Though eating corn is okay, this corn-based syrup isn’t clean at all. The fructose in the syrup raises your blood sugar much faster than other forms of sugar or sweeteners. HFCS is used in many food products, so be sure to read the label on foods you buy to see if this ingredient is included.
- Avoid Soda: The average American drinks 53 gallons of soda per year. The chemicals and sweeteners in this beverage damage your teeth, dangerously raises your blood sugar, and increases your risk of diabetes. You should avoid it whenever possible. Try our 28-day Soda Challenge to cut soda out of your life for good!