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How to Eat Clean (And not get tricked by nutritional labels!)
In today's world, clean eating has become a buzzword. It is a concept that most people are familiar with, but what does it mean to eat clean? Is it any different than eating healthy?

Clean eating is a modern-day concept that is so aligned with the core principles of the ancient science of Ayurveda.  It refers to consuming Whole Foods, unprocessed foods and avoiding processed and packaged foods with added sugars, preservatives, and chemicals. By following clean eating principles, you can balance our doshas; the three energies that govern our physical and mental well-being.

It is true that eating clean was not something our ancestors had to worry about. However, in the current times, our food system has become highly industrialized, and the food we eat has been altered to such an extent that it barely resembles the original product.

While there are many things to consider when we talk about clean eating; like eating fresh fruits & vegetables, minimally processed foods, sourcing of the ingredients and more, today we will talk about how you can shop for clean packaged goods on the grocery aisles of your favorite natural grocery store.

The first step is to understand how to read the food label on products. The food label provides essential information about the ingredients and nutritional value of the product. The first thing to look for is the ingredient list, which is listed in descending order by weight. If you are purchasing a chocolate bar and if sugar is the first ingredient, know that you will be consuming more sugar than cacao.

The second step is to understand the ingredients.  In the name of healthy and clean, we are sold many lies. Companies use buzzwords like “natural,” “organic,” and “low-fat” to market their products as healthy when, in reality, they are loaded with chemicals and additives.Additives added so that  industrial manufacturing becomes easy (lecithin - helps the chocolate flow easily through the pipes of the industrial machinery), the product does not separate or look unpalatable (xanthan gum - in oat milk is added so the milk is emulsified and doesn’t separate), the shelf-life of the product can be extended, to make the food addictive (have you ever thought why you can’t just stop at one chip?) or just because they want to make healthy claims (maltitol is found in many products that make the “No added sugar” claim). These chemicals and additives are so harmful for our gut and overall health. Oh, and did you know there is nothing natural about natural flavors?  Reading the labels and understanding the ingredients is crucial to making informed decisions about the food we consume. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it might be safe to say that your body might not be able to digest it either!

Here are five simple ways to start eating clean,
1. Focus on incorporating whole, natural foods into your diet.
2. Understand the ingredients. Look for products that are minimally processed.
3. Avoid packaged foods that contain a long list of ingredients or those that contain ingredients you cannot pronounce or recognize.
4. Avoid products that contain high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and refined sugars.
5. Don’t get carried away by healthy claims such as organic, no added sugar, natural, clean. Always check the ingredient list.

By following these tips, you can make informed decisions when shopping for packaged goods and improve your physical and mental health through clean eating.