4 Eat-Clean Myths Debunked
1. Butter is not an Eat-Clean Diet®-approved ingredient.
FALSE! •••• “Fat” is not the dirty word many of us have been led to believe it is. Fat is a necessity. Healthy fats from well-sourced whole foods from the earth yield powerful health benefits. I eat fat – specifically good fats. I eat fermented dairy with full fat including kefir and plain yogurt and I also eat organic, grass-fed butter. But I don’t eat these in huge quantities. Our cells depend on saturated fats like those from butter in order to build and maintain the correct structural integrity. The heart absolutely loves small amounts of saturated fats, as does the immune system, hormones, nerves, brain and all other organs. Paired with foods higher on the Glycemic Index range (think watermelon and dates), healthy fats like those found in butter are essential for buffering the release of glucose into the bloodstream, helping prevent wild spikes in your blood sugar levels. Healthy fats also aid in proper absorption of nutrients, particularly the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, into the body when we pair them with powerhouse foods like collard greens. I am not advocating eating great slabs of butter all day long. Eat these concentrated fats the way you would eat a condiment – tablespoons at a time.
2. If I follow the Eat-Clean Diet®, I can’t have bread or foods containing gluten.
FALSE! •••• No doubt, bagels, bread and tortillas should not comprise the majority of your eating when you Eat Clean; however, whole grain varieties of these items are perfectly acceptable in moderation. Whole grains are a tasty source of dietary fiber and loaded with minerals and B vitamins. As for gluten, avoiding it is not an Eat-Clean Diet® principle, unless of course, you have an intolerance, allergy or have Celiac Disease. In fact, gluten-free versions of bread, muffins and so on, often pack more sugar and calories than regular old whole grain varieties. I generally search for fermented grain breads like sourdough to get the added nutritional value.
3. Fat-free and reduced fat varieties of Greek yogurt are best.
FALSE! •••• “Fat-free” and “reduced fat” always means more manmade sugar, which we know from striking sugar, is not ideal for optimal health. I also encourage reaching for full fat plain Greek yogurt instead of fat-free or reduced fat versions for the same reasons I encourage quality, well-sourced butter: this is a delicious, whole-food source of heart-happy, healthy fat! Fats are essential for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing dangerous and stubborn belly fat, decreasing depression, improving the immune system, and supporting healthy hair, skin and nails. Plus, adding a serving of healthy fat to the first few meals of your day – like your morning yogurt – will help you stay fuller longer and prevents mindless snacking. Aim for 2-3 servings of healthy fat each day.
4. Maple syrup is too sugary and therefore off limits.
FALSE! •••• 100% pure, organic maple syrup is a fantastic alternative to nutritionally bankrupt, refined white sugar. Along with raw, organic honey and homemade fruit purees, these naturally-occurring sweeteners are delicious, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and not as processed as Stevia, yacon and Sucanat. Don’t get me wrong, these sugar substitutes do have a place in the Eat-Clean Diet® and are in no way “bad” or bad for you; they are simply more processed than maple syrup and honey, but still far and away a better choice than the powdery white stuff. Again, it’s all about portion control. A teaspoon of maple syrup in your morning coffee, a small drizzle over full fat Greek yogurt, or the small amount you would consume eating a homemade Apple Spice Protein Bar will not wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels or waistline. Are you wondering about whether certain foods are in line with the Eat-Clean Diet®? Do you have questions about the Eat-Clean principles? Perhaps you’ve had to debunk an Eat-Clean myth or two in your day. Let’s talk Eat-Clean myths in the comments below! Remember, I’m always listening Tosca