9 Tenets of Clean Eating and How to Adjust to This Lifestyle

Eat lean meats, and choose organic or grass-fed meats when possible since these foods are usually free of added hormones, pesticides and additives.

More: Grass-Fed Beef and Organic Meats: 3 Recipes

Eat "clean" sugars: This include maple syrup, honey and dehydrated sugar cane juice.

Try not to drink your calories: If you're not a fan of plain water, add some flavor to your glass with sliced cucumber, lemon, lime, orange, pineapple or strawberries. Drink unsweetened tea or sparkling water to switch things up. It's OK to drink homemade smoothies and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, just be wary of adding extra sugar (such as fruit-flavored yogurt to a smoothie. Use low-fat or nonfat organic plain yogurt instead, and let the fructose from fruit sweeten the beverage.). If you can, try juicing fruits and veggies in a high-powered blender so you don't waste the vitamin-rich pulp or skin of the produce.

More: Boost Your Smoothie With These Insulin-Lowering Spices

Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day: One of the principles of clean eating is to regulate blood sugar, and spreading out your calories throughout the day will ensure that your blood sugar doesn't drop too low. Eating controlled portions of whole foods will also ensure that your blood sugar doesn't spike too high.

Combine protein with carbs, or carbs with fat, in an effort to eat balanced meals and snacks: At mealtimes, half of your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruits, one quarter with protein and the other quarter with whole grains. For snacks, combine a little bit of carbs with a little bit of protein and/or fat to keep your blood sugar steady. A great example: a handful of all-natural dried fruit (look for brands without added preservatives, sugar or oils, or dehydrate your own) mixed with a handful of raw almonds.

Cook: Prepare as many of your own meals as possible.

More: Active Cookbook: Sustainable Food and Recipes for Athletes

Adjustments You Might Need to Make When Starting a Clean Eating Lifestyle

You have to invest more time, and possibly money, into selecting and preparing your meals and snacks. Give yourself time to adjust to eating less salt, refined sugar and unhealthy fats; your taste buds might not immediately accept all of the five tastes that occur in nature, such as bitter and sour.

More: How to Use the Five Tastes to Create a Balanced Diet

Instead of adding extra salt, sugar and fat to your meals, spruce up foods with fresh and dried herbs, and spices like cinnamon, cumin, turmeric (mostly for color and nutrition), cloves, nutmeg, allspice, paprika and cayenne pepper. Look to ethnic cuisines for inspiration, and to learn which spices and herbs pair well together in sauces, rubs and marinades, as well as how to combine these flavor enhancers with proteins, grains and produce to create great-tasting dishes. Other salt-free, fat-free and sugar-free ways to enhance the natural flavor of whole foods include fresh citrus juice, citrus zest, garlic, ginger root, wasabi root, hot peppers, white vinegar or white-wine vinegar.

More: 5 Clean Eating Sauce Recipes

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