After a challenging year in which the pandemic caused devastating damage, we are looking forward to a hopeful and bright 2022. So, let's put 2021 behind us and move on to a new year with optimism and healthier resolutions. Of course, the kind of resolution a person makes solely depends on his personality. Learning a new skill, for example, may appeal to some people, while travelling more may appeal to others. However, if one is widely acknowledged and agreed upon: it’s to be healthier and happier and care for ourselves better. Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with eating right and eating clean. 

But first comes first - What is clean eating?

Clean eating encourages the consumption of whole, natural foods by avoiding any processed additives/ingredients. It motives one to consume foods as close to their natural state as possible. This diet has been commended as one that reconnects us to our environment, from which we, as species, appear to have strayed. Regrettably, due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of a scientific subject such as food, the average consumer does not usually check the ingredient list when purchasing or consuming a packaged food product or knows how to interpret a nutrition table and estimate how much salt and sugar is suitable to consume daily. Therefore, they cannot avoid heavily processed foods that contain artificial ingredients or chemical preservatives that are detrimental to their health.

How to read labels accurately, and why is it essential?

While consuming packaged food products, how do you know what is not tampered with, especially when even staple items like honey and tea are adulterated? Due to its steep price, honey is often replaced with sugar molasses in bottles, and tea leaves are replaced with similar coloured leaves, some of which are not edible. These harmful ingredients are also potentially toxic to our bodies and could have side effects that we would be oblivious to. So, to be mindful of your health, one must always read product labels before every purchase. These labels guide you in understanding what you are consuming precisely and, most importantly, how much quantity. 

Food Tech Scientist at True Elements Pavitra K, shares some recommendations for eating clean

The first step to eating clean is understanding what the product label suggests, then interpreting which ingredients are good/harmful for you.

  1. When salt or sugar is seen on the label, it is always assumed that it is safe to eat, but that is not the case. What matters about these ingredients is the source they are derived from. Whether it’s natural, refined or synthetic, even then, one must always examine the amount of salt and sugar contents per serve compared to their recommended daily amount.
  2. When it comes to food, moderation is key. It is okay to give in to your cravings but to a certain extent. Beyond that, foods such as fried or processed foods can be harmful.
  3. Cooking your food is the best way to eat clean because you know exactly what you’re putting into your system and what you will allow your body to consume.  

Clean eating options

Clean food does not have to be tasteless. You can discover products that are both healthy and delicious. To accomplish the same, be on the lookout for Indian companies that have been certified as Clean Label. This signifies that no preservatives or chemicals go into the making of their product. A few options to look out for are: ready-to-cook Pongal, Muesli with no added sugar, multigrain dosa mix (free from baking soda), and chocolate oatmeal.

Conclusion

To summarise, the simplest way to transition into clean eating is by eliminating processed and packaged foods that may include not clearly labelled additives. Instead, consume more natural foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Switch to jaggery, unsweetened honey, or rock salt instead of processed carbohydrates, added sugar, and salt. Develop a habit to check labels. Finally, plan your meals and outings not to clash consecutively.

No food company will compensate for your health because it is your choice. Your body is your shrine, treat it with utmost care and ensure you stick to your healthy resolution this year! Eat Healthy and make sure you choose food that DOES NOT lie to you!