Eating well

Why clean eating done right is good for you

Clean eating has been getting mixed press lately, and like anything in life, taking things to an extreme can make it bad for us. Being too restrictive with our diets and paranoid about what we eat can cause more issues than it solves.

At UFIT our approach to clean eating is much less harsh and more exclusive, it’s about taking things back to a more simplistic way of eating and as fresh and whole as possible. Here are some simple tips to eat cleaner:

1. Load up on fresh produce

When it comes to vegetables, most of us aren't getting enough. We should be aiming to get in six portions of vegetables and one of fruit each day.

Eating more vegetables can significantly reduce your risk for a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. The fibre in whole produce also helps keep good bacteria in your tummy happy, which can reduce your risk for autoimmune diseases, fight off pathogens and infections and even improve your mood.

Get those greens in over Christmas, it should be easy with seasonal greens such as Brussel Sprouts everywhere.

Photo: Sofi Bon Foster

Photo: Sofi Bon Foster

2. Whole grains are our friends

Carbs are not the enemy, it’s about getting the right type with the highest amount of nutrition. The best whole grains are the ones that have been touched the least by processing. Think whole grains that look most like their just-harvested state—quinoa, wild rice, oats. 

Don't get duped by "whole-grain" claims on labels though, to eat clean, packaged whole grains you're going need to take a closer look at the ingredients. Whole grains should always be the first ingredient, the ingredient list should be short and recognizable, and it should have minimal (if any) added sugar.

When you swap out refined carbs (like white pasta, sugar, and white bread) for whole grains you'll get more fiber, antioxidants and inflammation-fighting phytonutrients.

3. Pick the right processed foods

Not all processed foods are really bad, look at amazing ranges such as The Whole Kitchen products.

Technically when we chop, mix and cook at home we are processing foods. The problem is that so much processed food at the supermarket is processed beyond the point of recognition. Keep an eye out for anything with lots of sugar and refined grains, super-long ingredient lists with foods you don't recognize and anything with partially hydrogenated oils.

Clean processed foods exist like plain yogurt, cheese, grainless granola, seed crackers and nut mixes. Just be sure to read the ingredient list and know what you are buying.

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 4. The biggest “rule” of Clean & Lean - limit sugar

Most people eat too many added sugars. The Singaporean Health Board recommends no more than 8 to 11 teaspoons of sugar a day for adults. The average person gets about 2 to 4 times that amount per day. To clean up your diet, cut down on added sugars by limiting sweets like soda, candy and baked goods.

But it's more than just desserts—keep an eye on sugars added to healthier foods like yogurt (choose plain), tomato sauce and cereal. Look for foods without sugar as an ingredient, or make sure it's listed towards the bottom, which means less of it is used in the food. We usually recommend no more than 5g of sugar per 100g of product

5. Consider the environment

Clean eating is better for you and the planet, and eat seasonal and locally grown foods where possible. Foods that are transported not only increase our carbon footprint but also will need to be preserved for the journey. The longer the shelf life of the food the shorter our shelf life. 

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So how to take clean eating to an effective, safe step to a healthier you? The next UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge starts 13 January 2018, where under Wendy Riddell's  guidance you will learn how to detox safely from sugars and eat clean, healthy food to start new eating habits to sustain you and your family for the rest of your life! 

Start up your 2018 on Clean & Lean 18 - our 18th challenge - by signing up right here:

Clean & Lean with the Greens

After last Christmas, Scott and Sheri Green decided to treat their bodies and kick off the new year with the some Clean & Leaning. It was totally worth it - Scott lost nearly 5% body fat and 7kg in the four weeks, and Sheri lost nearly 6% body fat and almost 4kg. They now share with us, after doing the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge four times - how they have felt, how it fit into their lifestyle, and why they would do it again:

1. How often have you done UFIT Clean & Lean and how were the results?

I have done UFIT Clean & Lean four times. The first time I did it by myself and twice I did it with Scott. We both got great results each time. I think Scott saw the results and what a benefit it was for me after the first time so he wanted to know what it would do for him. He eats less sugar than me and was very surprised by what he learnt.

2. Why do it again after learning the principles the first time?

I loved the way I felt and what I learned the first time so I did it again and learnt even more. The truth is it's hard for me to take sugar out completely forever. I'm human and the bad habits creep back in, a holiday comes around or you have a party to go to, and sugar is addictive after all.

But I like to reset, and to learn more. Each time I have done it I have taken something else from it and been educated more. Sometimes you think you are making a healthy choice purely by the way a product is advertised, I think this was the biggest thing I learnt. I thought I was being quite healthy but when you really strip it back you are surprised.

3. How has it been doing it with your husband - and balancing with a social life and three little kids?

You get so much support from Wendy, Noa and everyone else through the Facebook page but having Scott do it with me really helped. We saw the changes in each other and enjoyed exercising together. It's had only has a positive effect on our family, having three kids can be a challenge at dinner time, that's never going to change but if I can get them to try a new thing and its healthy and they like it then that's fab. My oldest daughter now prefers Shepherd's pie with cauliflower mash instead of potato. My son enjoys coming to Bootcamp with me. We have had lots of little changes from doing Clean & Lean. I learnt if you plan your meals it makes it easier and you make better choices.

4. What pushed you through when it all felt a bit challenging?

The main thing that pushed me through the four weeks was what I learnt each week. The community also pushes you through, it makes you accountable. Wendy and Noa help you through each week, they have done it / are doing it themselves and have all the answers you need to get through it.

5. Apart from looking great, how did your body feel during and after the Challenge?

For me, I saw so many changes. At the beginning I'm not gonna lie, it's hard to see what sugar does to you, but as the time goes on and you see the benefits, actually very quickly you see changes. Other people see changes too. My energy levels improved, my skin was nice, my moods were more stable and then there are the changes you see in your clothes, they fit better, even get too big. These are just a few things but there are so many more.

6. Has it been manageable to continue with it after the Challenge?

UFIT Clean & Lean has helped me live a much healthier lifestyle. I have also found a love of excercise I didn't know I had.  I have taken the things I learned going forward to make better choices.

7. Would you do it again and why?

I will do UFIT Clean & Lean again I'm sure. The easy part for me is the four weeks, It's the part after I find harder. That's my challenge and always will be, but now at least I have the knowledge to be able to make the right choices.

8. Scott - do you have anything to add?

No - Sheri's said it all! But I would add just one thing - I don't feel right when I'm not on Clean & Lean.

Join us at the next UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge that starts on 26 August!