Now that swimsuit season is upon us, the Internet and magazines are abuzz with diet plans, workout routines, and other ways to help slim down and jump into last season’s bathing suit. There are so many conflicting opinions on how to lose weight the fastest and which workout will torch more calories. But one thing most of us can agree on is that cleaning up one’s diet and paying more attention to nutrition and calorie intake will help you feel better and be more healthy. Whether you want to lose weight or simply make meal time a bit more of a clean, healthy experience, check out these tips for cleaning up your diet:

1. Be An Organic Snob

We advocate to buy your produce as organic and locally-grown as possible. Organic produce may be more expensive than conventional produce, but wouldn’t you feel so much better about eating your fruits and vegetables knowing that they are 100 percent free of chemicals and pesticides? Be an organic snob and budget for spending a little more on produce that’s good, clean, and delicious, not treated with pesticides. At the very least, purchase the dirty dozen produce in organic form since they are the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. In the long run, it’s more worth it to buy organic foods when our health is concerned, so pass on the cheaper bananas in snobbish favor of the more expensive, organic kind.

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2. Go Raw

Raw vegans generally do not eat food that is heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit or 48 degrees Celsius. Since overheating foods can strip them of vitamins and nutrients, making an effort to eat more raw foods will ensure you’re getting more of the nutritional content of your food. Microwaving is just plain awful, so never let your food undergo that heat process. But even boiling too much can kill nutrients as well, so be mindful of the extent to which you’re heating your food. Check out these 5 ways to get started with raw food.

3. Say ‘No’ to GMOs

Another great way to clean up your diet is to ban genetically modified ingredients from your household. There are plenty of facts about GMOs to scare you. For example, after the introduction of GMOs to our crops, chronic illnesses, food allergies, and disorders like reproductive and digestive ones have increased over time.

4. Give Up Meat

If you’re reading this One Green Planet article, there’s a good chance that you’ve already taken the plunge and promised to stop eating animals. For those that still eat meat, please consider giving it up or at least cutting back on your consumption. Aside from animal welfare issues and the devastating environmental impact of the meat industry, giving up meat can be a great way to clean up your diet and live a much healthier life. Consider this: A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that for “each 2-oz. serving of processed meat, including hot dogs, bacon, salami and other cold cuts, per day accounted for a 51% increase in diabetes risk” in its participants. Consuming meat can also lead to heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and general foodborne illnesses.

5. Vow to Eat the Rainbow

Counting colors is a tip for those who find it hard to eat their veggies and tend to fill up on carbs instead. When you look at a bowl of vegetables next to a steak, the seemingly obvious choice as to which is more filling is the steak. However, if you eat more than just a few carrot sticks or a side salad, you can definitely fill up on plants. For a week or so, challenge yourself to eat every color of the rainbow every day for fruits and vegetables. This will force you to eat a hefty amount of produce, and you may be surprised by how filling a salad may be when you use more than lettuce, tomato, and onion slathered in dressing. By eating a rainbow salad complete with lentils or tofu pieces for protein, you’re giving your body good, clean food – such good food that you probably won’t be craving the unclean foods you’re trying to cut back on. Check out our awesome salad recipes. You can also use all of that colorful produce for veggie burgers.

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Image source: Obesity and the First Law of the Jungle

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