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Although the HCG diet limits your calorie intake for the purpose of weight loss, the principles of clean eating that the diet teaches aren't as much about calorie restriction as they are about food choices. Once you complete a low calorie diet like the HCG diet you have the rest of your life to live, and hopefully you will have learned to make the right choices when you are shopping and eating out. Clean eating is about picking foods that are minimally processed, don't have additives, hormones, chemicals, or preservatives. By eating foods that don't have chemical additives, preservatives or other unnatural ingredients you are avoiding the many potential negative health effects of eating these foods.
Clean eating includes avoiding foods that are processed, but it's important to understand what the term "processed" is referring to. There are plenty of different foods that are labeled as organic that may be somewhat processed, such as flash pasteurized organic milk, or other types of processing that remove bacteria, virus or contaminants from food. The key is to avoid foods that are "ready to eat" or frozen and ready to serve after microwaving. Most of these foods will have preservatives, nitrates, and other chemicals that can cause metabolic disturbances or lead to problems like high blood pressure if they have a high sodium content. Keep in mind that not every frozen food is bad either, for instance frozen vegetables and fruit are perfectly fine and in line with a clean eating lifestyle, but many other frozen foods are not.
One of the easiest first steps to adopting a clean eating lifestyle is to eliminate all of the processed and junk foods from your pantry. You can always donate them to your local food bank, and if you don't have processed foods available in your home, following the lifestyle is much easier. This includes pretty much every packaged snack food, chips, baked desserts, and snacks with wheat and sugar or high fructose corn syrup. After the clean sweep, you should go shopping for healthy but satisfying snacks. Some of the foods you should consider replacing the junk foods with include fresh produce, vegetables, natural whey protein, nut butters and nuts, kale chips, sweet potato chips, veggie chips and other natural foods. When you eliminate the availability of junk foods in your home you are much less likely to make a mistake and eat something that's unhealthy or will contribute to weight gain.
The truth of the matter is that it can be very difficult to follow a clean eating lifestyle 100% of the time. Many health experts and nutritionists believe that it is easier to follow a clean eating diet around 80% of the time, while having 20% or less of your meals as "cheat meals". Most of the time this is manageable without any health concerns, but for those who have diabetes or high blood pressure, or other chronic health problems that can be worsened by their diet, this rule obviously does not apply and they should stick to their diet 100% of the time. If you have struggled with snacking on processed foods and junk foods, try the 80/20 clean eating diet which may be more manageable. If you eat 21 meals per week, that means that you can have around 4 "cheat meals" every week, or one whole day "off" from your regular clean eating diet plus an additional meal.
One of the most important things to do with a clean eating diet is to have a wide range of different organic snacks available. Snacking is one of the biggest contributors to weight gain, and picking the right healthy snacks will help you avoid reliance on processed foods. Make a list of natural foods that you enjoy the most and shop for those and stock your pantry and fridge with them, while eliminating snacks that are high in sugar. Some good options for healthy snacks include hummus, tofu, fresh vegetables, low fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, tuna, jerky, whey protein smoothies, fruit, eggs, nuts, low fat organic cheese, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, kale chips, edamame, and pretty much any other whole food or protein. As you can see there are plenty of healthy alternatives to junk foods, and they are much more satisfying and will keep you full for a longer period of time before your next meal.
Being able to cook meals at home is important for following a clean eating lifestyle because most of the meals that you will find at restaurants aren't the healthiest. There are plenty of quick recipes for a clean eating lifestyle that you can use even if you are pressed for time, and it shouldn't take any longer than 35 to 45 minutes to prepare a full dinner, and there are also plenty of great options for clean eating breakfast and lunch meals. When you cook, you get to control every ingredient in your meal, which is important when you are trying to avoid additives and preservatives or processed foods. To save time on cooking, make a meal plan that you can follow each week for lunch and dinner, similar to what you would do on the HCG diet which requires home cooking.
The HCG diet is one of the best stepping stones to a clean eating lifestyle because it will reset your metabolism and help tremendously with your cravings for unhealthy foods and junk foods. The diet essentially forces you to follow a low calorie detox diet, with only organic whole foods and protein sources, and not only can you lose anywhere from 15 to 40 or more pounds in three to six weeks, but you can improve your fat metabolism tremendously and change your appetites. By eating only organic foods for an extended period of time, you are giving your body a break from the damaging effects of junk foods, and you may experience a wide range of different positive health effects including improved energy levels, reversal of some of the symptoms of diabetes and hypertension, and an improved feeling of well-being. To learn more about how the HCG diet can help you transition into a clean eating lifestyle or to speak with a medical professional today, click here.