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I highly believe that there is no “one size fits all” diet; not everything works for everyone. Also, I truly believe that we can eat the healthiest foods, but if we don’t end up digesting and absorbing them, they won’t end up in our cells in order to provide us with their nutritional benefits.

Both the digestion of the food we eat and the absorption of its nutrients are the functions that allow the entire body to be nourished.

To start, food is first broken down in macronutrients and micronutrients, processed into amino acids and then the absorption happens. Gut microbes play an important role in absorption of fats and vitamins, because they thrive on the indigestible parts of our foods: fiber!

In short, we have to be able to digest, breakdown and then absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat. If we don’t do that, if we don’t absorb enough iron, then anemia can be an outcome; if we don’t absorb enough vitamin B6, this can lead to neuropathy, not enough Omega 3 fatty acids can lead to depression, not enough magnesium can lead chronic headaches and so on.

What affects optimal digestion and absorption?

  • Poor eating hygiene: its not how clean your food is, but HOW you eat your food: Do you eat on the go? Do you chew well?
  • Drinking too much water with your meals: this dilutes the stomach acid and can impair digestion. Drink water 20 minutes before your meals or 30 minutes after your meals. You can drink warm ginger tea to enhance digestion.
  • Drinking coffee/tea with meals: caffeine negatively affects iron absorption! It is not recommended to drink coffee before your breakfast. If you take vitamin supplements, have your coffee 30 minutes after your meals and your vitamins 2 hours before or after your coffee as caffeine prevents iron from being absorbed in the body.
  • Over the counter medications: some medications lower stomach acid and weaken digestion. Get to the root cause of your issues and try to avoid medication as much as possible. Don’t turn to pills to numb down your pain, instead, understand what is causing the pain and try to fix it. For example, if you are suffering from a migraine, you could be dehydrated or sleep deprived.
  • Painkillers: if you take them consistently you can damage the GI tract and decrease the ability to absorb nutrients. Damage to your intestines can affect the quality of nutrient absorption; if you must take painkillers, make sure you don’t take them on an empty stomach.
  • Stress: your digestive system turns off every time you are in stress mode! Eating slowly and mindfully helps you become aware of what you are eating and how you are eating. Eating slowly also helps control portions and makes you feel full faster.
  • Food combinations: some nutrients compete with each other and others enhance others' performance. For example, calcium competes with iron, but vitamin C helps the body absorb it! Little tip: drizzle your olive oil and lemon juice on that kale and devour it :)

Be mindful of what you eat, and everything will fall into place!

Author: Functional Medicine Health Coach, Dina.

The post You are not what you eat, you are what you absorb! appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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The food and processing industry has now become a multi-billion dollar sector coming up with all manner of processed foods by the day. Cases of cancer and other diseases such as obesity have now skyrocketed raising deep concerns worldwide. Nonetheless, people are slowly becoming more aware of their eating habits and opting for healthier choices of diet.

However, the Chinese have been at the forefront for thousands of years now with traditional diets that complement the body constituents. Those who have preserved these habits have benefitted greatly and rarely experience medical issues. The secrets of traditional Chinese food and its application to traditional Chinese medicine are now out and the rest of the world can’t help but borrow a thing or two. Today is your lucky day since these secrets are about to be made known to you. Brace yourselves and prepare to start living a long, healthy life using traditional Chinese medicine tricks and diet tips.

Moderation is Key It’s been a common misconception among a good number of people that the more you consume, the bigger and healthier you grow. In as much as the former is true, most people deteriorate in health due to unchecked food consumption. The vice versa would actually hold in this instance – less equals health. Those who’ve been lucky to visit a Sushi restaurant can bear witness of how foods are served in small quantities. Overstuffing your stomach tends to slacken the digestive process thus preventing it from detoxifying and releasing all this food.

Understand Your Body Type We are all uniquely made, therefore, our bodies are not all the same. Just the same way, different foods will have different properties that can be matched up to suit the different body types (tizhi). Foods, according to Chinese principles, are divided into 4 natures referred to as “siqi”:

  • Warm/Hot
  • Cold
  • Cool
  • Neutral
  • Whatever the case, the purpose of eating is to find a neutral body state to enable the perfect flow of Qi through our bodies.

Find a Common Balance A person whose body constituent exudes hot properties tends to be sweaty, constipated and grumpy most of the time. Such a person would require cool and cold foods such as green tea, salad and cheese. Those with cold bodies display characteristics such as bad blood circulation, cold hands and feet, and even paleness and general body weakness. Such would be favored by traditional Chinese medicine in the form of hot and warm foods such as hot chilies, coffee, ginger and beef.

Observing Seasons & Climate We have a special connection to nature – this argument forms the basis of Chinese philosophy and medicine. Just like times and seasons change, so should our eating habits and food choices. The first point to note is that consuming the same type of food for a prolonged period, no matter how healthy, will eventually cause a body deterioration since you deprive the body of essential nutrients in other foods.

Seasonal Foods Matter The food eaten in summer should differ from that consumed in autumn and winter. This is because hot summers call for cold foods to cool down the body whereas freezing winters requires hot foods to get the much-needed heat. Dry autumns need the body to be lubricated and foods such as honey and snow peas would be the perfect fit. Similarly, the climatic conditions of a place will also influence the food choices if the balance is to be maintained. Those living in Big Bog, Hawaii for instance experience a constant cold and wet condition that spans through most of the year. As such, spicy foods would offer the perfect substitute to regulate and counteract this.

Keep It Balanced – Even the Timing! You all have a slight or substantial knowledge on balancing a diet from your Biology. It’s simple, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates all play an essential role in the body. It’s crucial to ensure the body has a good mixture of all these three in the right amounts. Individuals have the choice to vary the intake for each mineral depending on personal attributes. For example, if you are into manual labor, you might opt to consume more proteins, fats and carbohydrates than vitamins to get the much-needed energies. This is not to say your body doesn't need the vitamins and mineral supplements. One last reminder, it’s important to vary the food intake depending on the time of the day. You are most active in the morning after a good night’s sleep and this is when digestion is at its best. The process will be slower at night when preparing for bed and you would be doing yourself a disservice if this is when you take the largest amounts of food.

It’s pretty simple when you come to think of it. You don’t have to source out all the traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese diets and herbs to medicate your body since these may be hard to come by. The foods within your reach will work just perfectly if only you know how to vary them to your advantage and to match up your body’s properties.

Finding challenging to balance your meals and stay on track? Check out the several meal plan options that can be delivered to your door every morning :)

Author: Elaine from www.tcmshanghai.ae

The post Healthy Eating in Traditional Chinese Medicine appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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Eatclean by Admin - 2M ago

Detox water has been getting more and more popular these days. Making it at home is so simple: chop up your favorite fruits, vegetables and herbs and add them to cold water for extra flavor!

Although you might get some nutrients from the infused ingredients, it is not close to the amount you would be getting from eating them whole. Hence the "detoxing" element of detox water is more in the result of drinking more water than the ingredients in the mix themselves. It is recommended to drink on average 8 glasses of water per day, and if you are one to struggle with staying hydrated, then this is a quick fix :)

Our top detox water picks are below:

  • Lemon, Cucumber, Mint
  • Cucumber, Basil
  • Watermelon, Mint
  • Strawberry, Lime
  • Blackberry, Orange
  • Ginger, Lemon

When you drink more water, it is said to boost the immune system, improve digestive health, get rid of toxins, improve the mood and energy levels among many more health benefits. Let's get hydrated!

In need of a more intense, actual cleanse? Check out our juice cleanses and bone broth packages to order online!

The post Let's Detox With Water! appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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A childhood favourite recreated in a healthy way with a fashionable twist! This recipe combination of beetroot, coconut and chocolate is raw, vegan, gluten-free and lightly sweetened.

INGREDIENTS

Filling

  • 1 tbsp beetroot powder
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut, shreds or flakes
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla

Chocolate coating

  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

METHOD

To make the filling:

  • Process the coconut products and syrup or honey until a homogenous and sticky mixture is obtained. Add the beet powder and process again.
  • Turn into balls and freeze for 15 minutes.

To make the chocolate coating

  • Place everything in a small bowl and mix everything until well incorporated.
  • If it is not perfectly smooth then continue to adjust your proportions until just right.

Last step

  • Bathe each coconut ball in the chocolate.
  • Place in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes to an hour to set before serving.

Author: Tatiana from Health & Yum.

The post Fashionista Bounty Balls appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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It’s that time of year when many parents start thinking about sending their kids back to school and how to keep them healthy. Finding time to shop and prepare nutritious meals that your child will actually eat for lunch can be challenging for even the most organized parents. But the foods you send to school contribute up to a third of your child’s daily food intake. So it’s important to pack a balanced meal to ensure that your kid’s lunch box provides much needed nutrients, vitamins and minerals for energy and growth.

Follow the core four rules to pack a nutritious lunchbox

  • Main lunch meal
  • Nutritious snack
  • Piece of fresh fruit (seasonal)
  • Drink
  • 1 Extra snack for active kids

We recommend planning each lunch box based on the five food groups and making sure they are all included as part of a varied and balanced meal:

  • Cereals and grains:
  • The first thing that you should be considering is a good source of carbohydrate for energy. Choose whole grain and high fiber varieties of breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, and crackers that are likely to keep your child fuller for longer and help maintain their concentration and attention throughout school time. Refined grain products (such as ready to eat bars, cakes, biscuits, and pastries) can be high in added sugar, fat and sodium, so better to avoid them.

  • Protein foods:

Add to your child’s lunch box a source of protein which is responsible for the muscle and tissue build up, maintenance and repair. As a good source of iron, they also affect learning, memory, and attention. Lean ham, turkey, chicken, canned tuna, salmon, eggs, tofu, beans or lentils, are good options to fill a sandwich or a salad as a main meal.

  • Dairy:

The foods in this group are the best sources of calcium, which is important for strong and healthy bones. Make sure to include at least one in the lunchbox like yoghurt, flavored milk, or milk pudding. For non-dairy alternatives, there are plenty of products fortified with calcium and other important vitamins such as almond milk, soy milk, oat milk among many others.

  • Vegetables:

Offer at every meal and snacks, a variety of colorful veggies as a combination of raw and cooked. They provide vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and phytonutrients (nutrients naturally present in plants) to keep your child fuller for longer and to maintain his/her overall health. You can add to a sandwich some lettuce, cucumber circles, capsicum, celery, or grated carrots as good veggie options that will not make it too soggy.

    • Fruits:

    Offer a variety of colorful fruits which provides vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants that boost the immune system and help the body stay healthy. Fruits can be offered as an assortment of fresh slices with a yoghurt dip or dried fruits.

      • Drink:

      Water should always be the preferred drink. Always include in the lunch box a water bottle that can be frozen the night before for hot summer days. Fruit juices and flavored milk contain sugar and should not be consumed on a daily basis. You can add an additional low-fat milk of no more than 300ml or a fresh fruit juice drink of 150ml once or twice a week.

      • Extra Snack:

      Every child is different and depending on their activity level or rate of growth, they may need an additional nutrient-rich snack. Choose the extra snack from the five food groups such as crackers with cheese, veggie sticks with labneh or hummus dip or yoghurt topped with fresh fruit for example.

      Not including a “fun” snack in your child’s lunch box runs the risk of them exchanging their “nutritious” snack for more appealing packaged options. A more realistic approach is to occasionally replace the extra snack by a “fun” food such as snack bars, sweet cookies and cakes, flavored or coated popcorn, savory biscuits or chips (preferably homemade with wholesome ingredients).

      To make sure that your hard work will not go to waste and your child will eat the food, make sure to involve your kids in the planning and packing by making it fun!

      If you don't have time to cook, check out our top recommendations below to order online!

      Yawmi's kid's meals.

      ENCAS kids' snacks

      .

      Author: Carina Khoury, Dietitian at GMC Clinics.

      The post Back To School The Healthy Way! appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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      It’s that time of year when many parents start thinking about sending their kids back to school and how to keep them healthy. Finding time to shop and prepare nutritious meals that your child will actually eat for lunch can be challenging for even the most organized parents. But the foods you send to school contribute up to a third of your child’s daily food intake. So it’s important to pack a balanced meal to ensure that your kid’s lunch box provides much needed nutrients, vitamins and minerals for energy and growth.

      Follow the core four rules to pack a nutritious lunchbox

      • Main lunch meal
      • Nutritious snack
      • Piece of fresh fruit (seasonal)
      • Drink
      • 1 Extra snack for active kids

      We recommend planning each lunch box based on the five food groups and making sure they are all included as part of a varied and balanced meal:

      • Cereals and grains: The first thing that you should be considering is a good source of carbohydrate for energy. Choose whole grain and high fiber varieties of breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, and crackers that are likely to keep your child fuller for longer and help maintain their concentration and attention throughout school time. Refined grain products (such as ready to eat bars, cakes, biscuits, and pastries) can be high in added sugar, fat and sodium, so better to avoid them.
      • Protein foods:
      • Add to your child’s lunch box a source of protein which is responsible for the muscle and tissue build up, maintenance and repair. As a good source of iron, they also affect learning, memory, and attention. Lean ham, turkey, chicken, canned tuna, salmon, eggs, tofu, beans or lentils, are good options to fill a sandwich or a salad as a main meal.

      • Dairy:
      • The foods in this group are the best sources of calcium, which is important for strong and healthy bones. Make sure to include at least one in the lunchbox like yoghurt, flavored milk, or milk pudding. For non-dairy alternatives, there are plenty of products fortified with calcium and other important vitamins such as almond milk, soy milk, oat milk among many others.

      • Vegetables:
      • Offer at every meal and snacks, a variety of colorful veggies as a combination of raw and cooked. They provide vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and phytonutrients (nutrients naturally present in plants) to keep your child fuller for longer and to maintain his/her overall health. You can add to a sandwich some lettuce, cucumber circles, capsicum, celery, or grated carrots as good veggie options that will not make it too soggy.

      • Fruits:
      • Offer a variety of colorful fruits which provides vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants that boost the immune system and help the body stay healthy. Fruits can be offered as an assortment of fresh slices with a yoghurt dip or dried fruits.

      • Drink:
      • Water should always be the preferred drink. Always include in the lunch box a water bottle that can be frozen the night before for hot summer days. Fruit juices and flavored milk contain sugar and should not be consumed on a daily basis. You can add an additional low-fat milk of no more than 300ml or a fresh fruit juice drink of 150ml once or twice a week.

      • Extra Snack:
      • Every child is different and depending on their activity level or rate of growth, they may need an additional nutrient-rich snack. Choose the extra snack from the five food groups such as crackers with cheese, veggie sticks with labneh or hummus dip or yoghurt topped with fresh fruit for example.

      Not including a “fun” snack in your child’s lunch box runs the risk of them exchanging their “nutritious” snack for more appealing packaged options. A more realistic approach is to occasionally replace the extra snack by a “fun” food such as snack bars, sweet cookies and cakes, flavored or coated popcorn, savory biscuits or chips (preferably homemade with wholesome ingredients).

      To make sure that your hard work will not go to waste and your child will eat the food, make sure to involve your kids in the planning and packing by making it fun!

      If you don't have time to cook, check out our top recommendations below to order online! Yawmi's kid's meals. ENCAS kids' snacks.

      Author: Carina Khoury, Dietitian at GMC Clinics.

      The post Back To School The Healthy Way! appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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      Staying active during your summer holidays is about making your health and fitness a priority and a lifestyle no matter when or where! Long gone are the days when your health and fitness routine gets compromised when traveling :)

      If anything, the best time to exercise is while on vacation. You can maintain and even improve your fitness levels while you are on holiday, because you actually have more time on your hands and you don't even have to enter a gym to do so! Fitness during summer holidays can include walking, hiking, swimming, stretching, sunrise or sunset yoga among many more activities! You can even rent a bike and tour the city or better yet, walk during your tour and go site seeing by foot. You can take the stairs and avoid taking the lift as often as possible. Stair climbing alone will help boost your metabolism and heart rate.

      You can always fit in a short 10 minute mini workout every morning right from the comfort of your room, including:

      • 30 to 60 seconds of jumping jacks
      • 10 push-ups off or on your knees
      • 10 to 20 squats
      • 15 to 30 bicycle reps
      • 20 seconds to 1 minute plank holds

      This workout requires no equipment, just your body weight and can be done anywhere and at anytime. If you prefer a gym, make sure the hotel you are staying in has one and have your workout clothes laid out the night before by your bed side. That’s what I do for motivation!

      If your vacation consists of hiking and touring, that alone will burn off a ton of calories and keep your endurance and strength levels high and active.

      Incorporating fitness during your summer holidays no longer has to be a chore. Keep it simple and make sure you are not sedentary too often while away. Stay active and don’t allow your heart rate to stay dormant for too long. Meaning you have to feel short of breath sometimes and break a sweat when you can or park your car a few feet away from your destination and get walking. Aim to get 10,000 steps in a day if not more, and track your fitness and heart rate to make sure you are staying active.

      Remember, an active heart rate zone for most is above 100 beats per minute and a heart rate between 120 and up to 150 beats will be your fat burning, endurance / fitness zone for most.

      Once your summer holidays are over or you’ve returned from your travels, you’ll be relieved and most importantly happy that you kept your fitness and health on track, so you don’t have to work extra hard to get your fitness back on track once you’ve returned!

      Author: Jennifer Chalouhi www.jennifercfit.com/. The post Stay Active During The Summer Holidays! appeared first on Eatclean Blog.

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      It’s the season for traveling and summer vacations! Finally, time to take a break! Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or exploring a new city, a time out from the normal routine can be a wonderful thing. But it can also make it tough to stay healthy and fit; all those meals out and indulging in a few drinks doesn't exactly help either. The good news is that feeling healthy during and post-vacation is totally possible. Making just a few smart choices will keep you active and energized and help you get the most out of your trip!

      Fill up on fruits and veggies

      One of the easiest ways to keep your eating plan in check and to avoid going overboard is to be conscious of including fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. I suggest incorporating a fruit or vegetable at each meal. Try to include a fresh fruit serving in the morning with breakfast or as a mid morning snack, and include some kind of vegetable dish with lunch or dinner. It can be a fresh salad, a cooked vegetable, or a healthy soup option.

      Exercise

      You may not lose weight on a leisure trip, but you can come close to breaking even. Set aside 20 minutes every other morning, either in the gym or outside, to run, speed walk, yoga, etc. Being active gets your limbs flexed and your heart rate pumping, making you feel better throughout the day, and will encourage you to eat healthier. I won't suggest every day since that's an unrealistic goal given early morning tours and activities. Another great way to explore a new location and stay active, is to check out the city by bike or a walking tour! Being on foot lets you shoot photos, discover authentic cafes and shops and ramble down charming alleyways.

      Consciously Indulge

      Vacations are not a time to begin a diet, and it is also not a time to go completely overboard. If you overdo it with fries at lunch, don’t start dinner with three buttered rolls, because you think, “Well, the day is ruined.” Its not. Planning in advance helps a lot; so identify the local cuisine that you want to try and plan your eating around that. It’s important to enjoy the local cuisine, and you can and should enjoy the indulgences that matter most to you on vacation. Don’t deny yourself entirely. Just make sure you plan when and what you will be indulging on during your trip.

      Smart Snacking

      When you plan to be out all day, bring along your own non-perishable healthy snacks to stave off hunger. Nuts & seeds are a great healthy snack to have on the go. Rich in healthy fats and fiber, they’ll keep you satisfied till your next meal. Try to stay away from simple carbs (the kind found in sugary, white flour foods like pastries, crackers, and cookies) as such foods will spike your blood sugar levels quickly, then leave them plunging soon after. That blood sugar plunge causes intense hunger for more sugary carbs, and the cycle continues. Our top recommended snacks to take with you when traveling are the plant-based Freakin' Healthy natural energy bars and Munchbox healthy snack packs.

      Stay Hydrated

      The summer heat makes you more susceptible to dehydration, and drinking enough water is often a challenge while traveling. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to drink water and infuse it with fresh fruits and veggies for extra flavor! Our favourite combinations are: cucumber, lemon & mint, strawberry & lemon, watermelon & basil. Also, dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger, when really your body just needs fluids. If you feel hungry, and you haven't drank much that day, try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 to 20 minutes to see if your hunger subsides. Check out our range of vitamin water, coconut water and a natural antioxidant drink.

      Rest and Relax

      Most importantly… rest and relax! Keep work away and free your mind. Get the most out of your time off by doing activities that you enjoy, and sharing time with friends and family. Fuel yourself with experiences, exploration, and the adventure of your getaway :)

      Author: Linda Said, US Registered Dietitian.

      The post How to travel healthy this summer! appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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      Meet Elsy & Bassil, the two young health freaks behind Eat Clean with a little of their own healthy journey, the story of how Eat Clean started and insider information on their daily life!

      How the Eat Clean idea came about:

      The idea came out of pure frustration! Eating healthy in such a fast-paced city with long working hours and very little time to pay attention to your eating habits isn't easy, and when you do want to eat healthy, you tend to order from the same places every single day, we know the struggle! We believe eating and living healthy should be simple, and our platform serves that exact purpose. Dubai residents need a quick fix, a one stop shop for all things healthy where you can really trust the offering, and this is exactly why we’ve built this platform to ease people’s access to healthy food in Dubai.

      Interesting facts not everyone knows about Eat Clean:

      • Every single item on the platform has been approved by dietitians.
      • We work with restaurants to alter some dishes' ingredients or cooking methods to make them healthier.
      • We sometimes create exclusive healthy dishes from restaurants for Eat Clean customers.
      • You can use any of our 12 filters and combine them the way you want until you want the right food that fits your needs! Our go-to filters are vegan and wheat free :)
      • We have a retail section with fresh produce, healthy bakeries, snacks and juices that many people don't know about.

      Our personal journey to clean eating:

      Elsy: I have always aspired to eat clean to match my active lifestyle, but it was always challenging with a crazy daily schedule juggling work, dance and social life, and no time to pay proper attention to the food I was consuming. When nutrition could have been my strongest source of fuel, I felt like my energy was low and I just wasn’t feeling my best overall; this is when I started paying more attention to what went into my body about 4 years ago and noticed that I was eating all the wrong foods. I changed up my diet and have seen amazing results since then!

      Bassil: I wasn’t always aware of what I was consuming, as many people still aren’t. It all started when I began working and noticed that my eating habits were deteriorating as I would always go for the easiest and most convenient options. Naturally, I would grab anything that is easily accessible whether it is good for me or not, I just wanted to eat! I started noticing that I was gaining some unhealthy weight in addition to feeling lethargic. This is when I started eating cleaner to boost my energy and mood overall.

      How we stay healthy and active:

      Bassil: I work out regularly and make sure to have a well-rounded and balanced diet every day. I go to the gym five times a week and I ensure the food I eat helps fuel my body with the right nutrients.

      Elsy: I am a strong advocate for Pilates, and practice it five times a week. I always try to choose wholesome foods rather than refined and processed ones. There is no such thing as cheating when you decide to be healthy, it is simply a way of life :)

      5 clean eating tips from the founders:

      • Drink lots of water; with such hot weather in Dubai, it’s important to stay hydrated.
      • Every morning upon waking up, try to think of what you’re going to eat throughout the day. The slightest ideas in your head would help make smarter decisions especially when you’re busy at work.
      • Don’t exclude any food group in your diet. Carbs are not your enemy! It’s a matter of eating the right foods with the right portions, and not about eating less.
      • Eat slowly, take your time, your plate isn’t going to run away! One of the main causes for digestive issues and overeating is the way we eat.
      • Because eating clean is a lifestyle, get moving! Find a good balance between consuming wholesome meals and exercising regularly for an overall health transformation.

      Their favourite meals to order from Eat Clean:

      Elsy: My ultimate favourites are the black bean burger from Under 500 and the mushroom risotto from Urth.

      Bassil: My favourites are the noodle broth bowl from The Clean Living Company and the super bowl from Circle.

      Download the Eat Clean app to order healthy eats straight to your door!

      The post Get To Know The Eat Clean Founders! appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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      Unfortunately, going vegan does not automatically mean that it’s a healthy choice. It’s important to point out the difference between going vegan and eating plant-based.

      For individuals that follow a vegan diet, it’s much more a lifestyle, not just an eating regime. They do not consume any animal products (meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, honey etc.), and exclude all ingredients or materials made from animal products from their lives (like leather, wool, silk, beeswax, lanolin etc.). Most of them also do not use any products (e.g. makeup, shampoo and cleaning products) that have been tested on animals. The decision to follow this lifestyle is mainly triggered by ethical or environmental reasons, usually less by any health concerns. Therefore, vegans might consume fast or processed foods like vegan ice-cream, cookies or a pizza with vegan “cheese”, that cannot necessarily be considered as healthy choices as these are very often highly processed foods that can be loaded with fat, sugar and salt.

      People who eat a whole food plant-based diet also avoid animal products (meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, honey etc.), but unlike the vegan diet, their main reason for this decision is to improve their health. Based on this they also avoid all kinds of processed foods, including oil, white flour, refined sugar and salt, even if those foods might be “vegan” or “plant-based”, meaning they do not include any animal products. Individuals following this type of eating regime often still use animal products or materials like leather, wool and so on.

      Of course, there will also be individuals that would identify themselves with both groups, meaning they follow a vegan lifestyle and base their nutrition on whole foods. I would consider myself to be one of those.

      What are the benefits of going vegan from a nutritionist's perspective?

      Whole-food vegan diets are generally higher in many important nutrients such as certain vitamins, minerals and fiber which can be linked to various health benefits and a lower risk for certain diseases. A balanced plant-based diet seems to offer many health benefits although further research needs to be conducted to find out the exact reason for these benefits. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, compared to people on a mixed diet, vegans show lower rates of having heart conditions, several types of cancers (e.g. prostate, breast and colon cancers), diabetes type 2, or high blood pressure. Not eating animal products like meat, dairy and eggs provides the body with much less saturated fats, which is linked to increased cholesterol levels and increased risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks or strokes.

      Does going vegan suit everybody?

      Going vegan would benefit everybody health-wise, but I understand that many people are struggling with sticking to a vegan/plant-based diet 100% because a mixed diet is what they are used to, and they consider it to be easier for them. I think people that are choosing the vegan lifestyle for ethical or environmental reasons are more likely to change their lives for good and stick to it more strictly than those who are doing it because of health concerns.

      The current rise in individuals starting a plant-based diet to promote better health might be pushed by the media e.g. documentaries on Netflix etc. and we still will need to observe how this develops further. Nevertheless, I would recommend everyone to eat less animal products and increase the amount of fruits, vegetables and legumes in their diet to improve their health.

      Does it lead to weight loss?

      A vegan diet can definitely help with weight loss if it consists of balanced plant-based meals, but depending on the types of food a person chooses, it could also lead to weight gain. I can for sure say, that from my own experience and the results I see with my clients, a plant-based or at least plant-strong eating regime improves health, energy levels and overall wellness, no matter why an individual started this diet in the first place.

      Do vegan diets lack in vital nutrients?

      A well-planned vegan or plant-based diet is usually even more nutrient rich than a mixed diet with high amounts of animal products. However, simply cutting out animal foods without making sure that your diet is well balanced and varied including all food groups can be risky. Important nutrients that might need to be supplemented are vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, iron and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. It’s important to understand that vitamin deficiencies can be a problem among vegans and omnivores alike, for example low vitamin D levels are commonly seen in both groups. It is recommended to test the blood levels of the critical nutrients once per year to be able to adjust any needed supplements accordingly.

      What’s one thing we should watch out for if we decide to go vegan?

      A sufficient intake of vitamin B12. For vegans, the only way to achieve this is to consume fortified foods (e.g. fortified nutritional yeast or soya milk) or taking vitamin B12 supplements. Vitamin B12 is vital for many metabolic processes in our body, e.g. it is needed for normal brain function and the nervous system, it helps to create and regulate DNA and is also required for the creation of red blood cells.

      Here are our top plant-based recommendations to order online!

      Plant Power Meal Plan

      Mighty Green Bowl from Sesame

      Pumpkin And Tomatillos from Circle

      Organic Vegan Broth from The Clean Living Company

      Lentil Ragu from Under500

      Veggie Burrito from Chez Sushi

      Buddha Burger from URTH

      Acai Bowl from Vshakes

      Desserts from Healthy Patisserie

      Energy Bars from Freakin' Healthy

      Author: Katharina Elbracht from www.beyond-nutrition.ae.

      The post Does Going Vegan Automatically Mean It's A Healthy Choice? appeared first on Eatclean Blog.
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