Eliminate Clutter in Your Meals

Consume More by Eating Less

Whether you’re the type of person who no longer can see their floor because it’s covered in clothes, or you’ve taken the whole minimalist idea to a new level, an important habit to develop is clean eating. Here, clean eating indicates meals with few and fresh ingredients. No, it doesn’t have to be boring, but you’ll find that after some time you really begin to taste food again. With all the sauces and sweeteners our taste buds grow accustomed to a high level of flavor and foods in their original form begin to taste bland. It has been found that artificial sweeteners, for instance, increase our sweet cravings and require a heightened level of sweetness to be satiated. However, you can retrain and regain this balance quite easily. Once again you’ll find that foods are delicious and have unique flavors of which you’ve forgotten or haven’t taken notice to in a while. In his book Food Rules, Michael Pollan suggests that we not buy any food item that is comprised of more than five ingredients. Why not apply this to how we construct our meals?

Let’s break this down by using the example of a cheeseburger. Bun, meat and cheese are the three bare minimum items required to qualify a cheeseburger. Notice how I said items and not ingredients. These three items alone may contain well over 5 ingredients each! I think we all got a taste of this with the recent Taco Bell meat incident.

When I prepare meals I try to be conscious of how many things I’m mixing together. How many items are in my salads? Am I adding unnecessary sauces? Mainly this issue comes up when I cook since I don’t have a ton of ingredients laying around the house. I am either forced to work with what I’ve got, or many times I see how I can trim down other recipes. It also helps to save money! I get that five ingredients may be tough at times, but it’s a good starting point.

When our body digests food, digestive juices, stomach acid, hormones and enzymes all come together and get to work. Digestion starts the second food enters our mouth! Saliva is composed of several enzymes that initiate the breakdown of our food. Now you know why your mom told you to chew your food 100 times. I was once told by a doctor that if a food doesn’t taste good after being chewed appropriately, then you probably shouldn’t be eating it. You’ll find that foods, when chewed at length (about 25 times) will grow slightly sweeter in taste and is evidence of the enzymes doing their job. Specific enzymes have specific targets. For instance, proteases break down proteins, while lipases are responsible for splitting up fat. Everyone hear of lactose intolerance? Well that’s when the enzyme lactase, which naturally decreases with age, is no longer present in the quantity needed to properly digest milk. It’s safe to say that the more variety of foods that we eat, the more types of enzymes are required for digestion.

Not only does an overload of ingredients make for a whole lot more work, but it’s also asking our digestive juices to work together. Like many of us know all too well, we don’t always work harmoniously with our co-workers. The same goes for these enzymes, some work better in groups than others. There is an entire subject of food combining that has studied these partnerships that we’ll dive into soon. For now, our first step is to keep things simple and clean.

When we eat clean meals we demand less of our bodies and have more energy to focus on other more enjoyable activities as opposed to digestion. It also makes it a lot easier to make healthful decisions about our food. Preparing clean meals can help eliminate digestive distress, the post lunch slump and even those dreaded food comas. You’ll grow to taste food for it’s real flavor and you may even drop a few pounds.