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Clean Eating Guide

Here's a quick guide to eating better for those without time, money, or much cooking inclination. There is an ideal (everything organic, local, fresh, made from scratch, etc) and then there's reality of no money, living in a food desert, no time to cook... This is my attempt to help you prioritize what you shop for in an effort to slowly and consciously change your habits and your health. The goal: the further down the lists you can go, the better.

In general:

- Avoid foods with many ingredients you can't pronounce or can't identify as food (if you want to be picky, take a look at my short list of the most harmful additives below and pick at least one to look out for to start. Add on others as time goes on.)

- Avoid added sugars; limit sugar in general

- Avoid packaged foods altogether or at least be more selective (glass jar is better than a can, frozen is better than shelf stable especially if it's not meant to originally be shelf stable)

- Avoid prepared foods such as deli meats and frozen dinners (usually have a high salt content, among other things)

Ideal: everything is fresh, made from scratch


- Any fresh produce is better than pre-packaged

- Buy in season

- Buy local

- Buy the "dirty dozen" organic; frozen is fine if you can't find fresh (or the frozen is cheaper)

Ideal: produce is in season, locally grown, organic*

*doesn't necessarily have to be organic if you know your farmer. Many farmers grow their produce ecologically but haven't gone through the rigorous (and expensive) process to be certified organic

Meat and dairy:

- Select ones not treated with growth hormones or antibiotics

- Buy organic (usually cheaper/ easier to find than pasture raised)

- Buy pasture raised

- Buy local

Ideal: local and pasture raised

List of harmful additives to avoid:

artificial sweeteners such as: saccharine, nutrasweet, aspartame

why? linked to tumors, cancers, migraines, and hyperactivity

monosodium glutamate (msg)

why? linked to brain dysfunction, learning disabilities, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.

preservatives such as: bha, bht, sodium benzoate

why? affect neurological functioning of the brain, linked to cancer, hyperactivity

sodium nitrate, nitrite

why? linked to pancreatic and stomach cancers

artificial flavor

why? linked to neurological issues and higher risk of Alzheimer's

artificial colors (yellow 5, red 40, etc)

why? linked to cancer, hyperactivity, allergic reactions, behavioral problems

high fructose corn syrup

why? leads to mitochondrial dysfunction, obesity

potassium bromate

why? linked to cancer in rat studies and banned in other countries

trans fats such as: partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil

why? linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, reproductive issues

#cleaneating #foodonabudget #howtoeathealthy #cheaporganic

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