Clean Eating – Snacks and Labels

It’s not easy to find healthy snacks that fit your clean diet, but there are enough to take care of your snacking needs and still be healthy choices. The obvious choices are some fresh fruit like the trusty apple or banana. However, all fresh fruit is not the same. There are preferred choices. Let’s look at the apple alar pesticide issue as an example.

Apples and the Alar Scare

An apple a day….so goes the old ditty. However, apples went through a challenge beginning in the late 80’s. A lesson which points out why quality is important with your nutritional choices.

During the late 80’s, it came into the public awareness that apples were being liberally sprayed with a toxic pesticide called alar. I used to drive by apple orchards early in the morning at that time. I inadvertently witnessed the spray clouds along with the toxic chemical smells drifting into the car as I passed quickly by. I wondered about their toxicity at the time, but didn’t explore it too deeply. Others did.

Shortly after the public was made aware of the pesticide alar being sprayed on apple crops, opposition arose which turned out to be funded by the alar manufacturers. Eventually, the hired opposition (which didn’t reveal their connections to the industry) managed to get the “alar scare” branded a hoax by the “experts” and naturally- the media. However, a little research determines that, in fact, the experts used were in the back pockets of the manufacturers of the toxin itself.

The point is, why take a chance if another choice is available? Any “cide” is meant to kill something. It is not a substance that will do the body good in any amount. So. if avoidable, just avoid taking it. Simply buy organic when given a choice, particularly with snack foods like apples, typically eaten raw.

Fresh Veggies – Another Good Choice

Cut carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes and other fresh veggies make another good snack choice. Easy to find organically grown even in local supermarkets, if you prefer add your own accompanying chickpea (garbanzo bean) dip which you can quickly make from canned beans in your food processor or blender -adding a garlic clove or two along with salt, pepper, and a squirt of lemon juice.

Homemade Trail Mix

Nuts, seeds and dried fruit can be made into “trail mixes” quite easily to make nutritional snacks. You can find a wide variety of all of these in natural food stores or even local super markets. natural snack mix - Photo by Jannis Brandt on Unsplash Bought even in normal quantities when combined they stretch out a ways and even choosing organic varieties make them affordable in the long run. Add a little sea salt if you choose to off set the sweetness of the dried fruits.

Good nut choices that contain healthy fat are macadamia nuts, pecans and brazil nuts. Good seed choices are sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

A word of caution- don’t overdo the dried fruits. Drying the fruits increases the natural sugar content and can have an impact on your dental health if over used. You can always forgo the dried fruit if you prefer or skip a day or two in your customized mix to cut down on the natural sugars. Sugar. to the teeth is sugar in natural form or not. Keep that in mind.

Beverages

When it comes to drinks, water and green or herbal teas are your best friend. I prefer water as the primary but enjoy a cup of green tea in the mornings especially with a little thick cut toast.

Black coffee is another good choice for some. Don’t junk it up by adding sweeteners and creamers to work against your efforts for healthier eating. Condition yourself to take your beverages without making them into sugar shots. You’ll be surprised at how this will become a habit after a short period of time.

It may take you a little while to adjust back to the “real” taste of food after eating foods that are laden with sugar, salt and flavor enhancers. However, once your taste buds adapt, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious the taste of real food is. In the end, your body will thank you for the change to clean eating as well.

Labels

Get used to reading them. Don’t even go into a Whole Foods expecting everything on the shelf to be “healthy”. When considering any new choice, even in stores like Whole Foods, I read all of the labels. Pay attention to the sugar content of food labels. You’ll be surprised at how much sugar (even so called natural forms) are loaded into foods.

For years, I was adding rice milk to cereals. As I was cutting back on sugars to improve my dental health I began to notice the sweetness of foods I was eating. I noted how sweet the rice milk tasted one morning and read the label. I was surprised to find 17 grams of sugar on the label breakdown. I began to more carefully read labels thereafter.

Apparently, others have had the same revelation that I did with the non-dairy milks. Now, you can find unsweetened varieties of almond milks (Plain, Vanilla and Chocolate) and other milk substitutes if available. They seem to be the first varieties to empty off the shelves I have discovered.

The main tip here for your clean diet is to train yourself to read every label when considering a product you haven’t previously studied. You will be surprised at what some of the so-called “healthy foods” contain. Simply because they are in a natural foods store does not guarantee their healthfulness. Educate yourself and then read all labels before making any purchase.

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