No, we don’t mean wash your hands before you eat (although you should, anyway 😊). And, of course, be sure to brush your teeth and clean your tongue every day. But we are talking about a different kind of “clean” eating!

We are talking about eating more foods that are healthier for you, that are, perhaps, unprocessed or “whole” or more natural. This has nothing to do with calories or diets, so you don’t have to concentrate on numbers or units or carbs or proteins, for example. And, clean eating is important for a healthier you regardless of your weight. Rather, the idea of clean eating deals more with the time and process from origin to plate.

What is Processed Food?

But what, exactly, do we mean by processing food? When it comes to food, processing means changing, adding or refining. And not all processing is bad! Here are a few examples of processes:

  1. Making applesauce out of apples or boiling corn on the cob.
  2. Adding sugar or salt to any food to “enhance” flavors.
  3. Beefing up vitamins to your breakfast cereal to make it “healthier”.
  4. Removing whole grains from bread to make it “refined” bread.
  5. Inventing food – yupp, if you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce the ingredients, you know this is processed food by the purest definition!

 VERY processed food, like #5 above, can have deleterious effects on your health. Some have “GMOs”, or Genetically Modified Organisms, which have been linked to cancer. Some foods have all of their nutrients completely stripped so you are just filling the hunger gap with no benefit. You might as well be eating straw to just fill you up!

What Are Some Clean Foods?

But eating “clean” foods can help you sleep better, have healthier skin, higher immunities to problems, better digestion and, of course, healthier gums, teeth and tongue resulting in fewer oral problems and better breath! Here are a few examples of what we call clean foods:

  1. Unprocessed foods:
    1. Fruits and vegetables that have not been treated with any chemical pesticides.
    2. Leafy greens such as kale and lettuce.
    3. Dried legumes such as beans, lentils and peas.
    4. Unsalted nuts, such as cashews, almonds and sunflower seeds.
    5. Fresh eggs.
  1. Minimally processed foods:
    1. Flash frozen fruits and vegetables (be sure they didn’t add sugar to that fruit!)
    2. Whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa.
    3. Hormone free dairy products.
    4. Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil
    5. Unprocessed meats.
    6. Brown sugar

One obvious clue to deciphering the level of processing in your food is to look at the product’s ingredient list – the more ingredients, the more processing. And, there is an old saying that anything white, such as white rice, white sugar or white bread, should be avoided in a “clean” diet. While we can’t say that is always true, “white” products DO tend to have more inherent processing than their brown counterparts.

Food for thought, pun intended, from your friends at TUNG Brush and Gel who are always seeking ways to a healthier you!