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Take the "Eating Clean" Challenge

Eating a balanced 40-30-30 diet helps to balance blood sugar and provide lasting energy. But you can take balanced eating a huge step further when your 40-30-30 diet includes the Eating Clean Challenge.
 
Eating clean is a popular term you may have heard lately. But what is it? And how do you include it in your daily diet? It’s pretty simple. Eating clean is eating real food that provides an extensive range of micro- and macro-nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants. It’s the healthiest way to nourish your body.  
 
In a previous article I listed the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15, the current lists of fruits and vegetables that are the highest and lowest in chemicals and pesticides which I will review in this article as well. But we are now being encouraged to buy organic grains, dairy, eggs, chicken and beef as well. Although organic meat is still quite expensive, organic grains are reasonably priced as are milk, cheese and eggs. I highly recommend organic milk for kids as a simple way to avoid being exposed to unnecessary antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones. Nearly all grocery stores carry organic milk and eggs these days and prices continue to drop as demand increases. The variety of organic fruits and vegetables also continue to increase in health food stores, local grocery stores, and even discount and large box stores with prices becoming more affordable.
 
By eliminating unhealthy foods, you’ll also be eliminating trans fats, and a wide variety of chemicals, preservatives, and genetically modified foods. Below is the 2013 list of the Dirty Dozen (with a few extra thrown in) along with the Clean 15. The USDA studied the amount of chemicals and pesticide residue found in non-organic fruit and vegetables after they had been washed. The Clean 15 are the least contaminated and the Dirty Dozen are the worst, containing high levels of pesticide residue, hormone disruptors, neurotoxin chemicals, developmental or reproductive toxins and carcinogens. Organic fruits and vegetables, and whole grains are grown without the use of man-made chemicals, pesticides, fossil-fuel or sewage-based fertilizers or genetically modified seeds. When given the choice, I recommend buying organic, especially for those on the Dirty Dozen list.
 
2013 Dirty Dozen
Apples
Strawberries
Grapes
Celery
Peaches
Spinach
Sweet Bell Peppers
Nectarines
Cucumbers
Potatoes
Tomatoes
Hot Peppers
Recently added are:
Summer Squash and Zucchini
Collard Greens and Kale
 
2013 Clean 15
Corn
Onions
Pineapple
Avocado
Cabbage
Sweet Peas (frozen)
Papaya
Mangos
Asparagus
Eggplant
Kiwi
Grapefruit
Cantaloupe
Sweet Potatoes
Mushrooms
 
If you are on a tight budget, take the money away from unhealthy foods (cookies and chips) and buy organic, especially when the items are on sale.
 
Challenge yourself to eat clean one day at a time. It’s easier than you think to prepare balanced meals with foods in their natural form for your entire family. Below is a sample day of balanced, Eating Clean 40-30-30 meals:
 
Sample Eating Clean Meals
  
Breakfast
Salsa Egg Scramble
2 whole organic eggs 
2 organic eggs, whites only
2 tbsp. fresh organic salsa
1 medium organic tomato, sliced
1 medium orange
Directions:  Beat eggs and egg whites and scramble in a non-stick pan.  Top with fresh salsa.  Serve with tomato slices and fresh orange.
 
Lunch  
Farmers Market Salad
2 cups of organic mixed salad greens
5-6 organic cherry tomatoes
2/3 cup organic cucumber
1/3 cup sliced red onions
1/4 sliced avocado
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup organic red or green bell peppers
1 kiwi, sliced
3 ounces cooked organic chicken breast, cubed
3 tablespoons organic olive oil and vinegar salad dressing
Directions:  In a large salad bowl, combine salad greens, fruits and vegetables.  Add cooked chicken and toss with dressing.
 
Dinner  
Grilled Salmon Dinner
4 1/2 ounce wild salmon 
6 large asparagus spears
1 medium size sweet potato, baked 
1 tsp. organic olive oil
1/2 cup fresh pineapple (also good lightly grilled)
Directions:  Grill or broil salmon.  Season with sea salt, pepper and fresh lemon to taste.  Grill or steam asparagus.  Bake sweet potato.  Serve salmon with asparagus, sweet potato drizzled with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and fresh pineapple. 
 
You may not eat clean 100% of the time, but if you can eat clean most of the time, you’ll be healthier for it.
 
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar Spokesperson and national best selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program. 

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