Are you curious about clean eating, but the thought of overhauling your current diet is totally overwhelming? Don’t even know where to start? By using these small steps, you can make an impactful difference in both your health and that of your family.

1. Axe Aspartame – As well as any other artificial sweetener, for that matter. This includes Aceslulfame-K, Sucralose, and Saccharin. All of these laboratory-derived chemicals have been linked to a multitude of health risks including cancer, immune system problems, kidney and liver impairment, as well as many others. The kicker? They also attribute to weight GAIN. The artificial sweetener that you are ingesting in order to keep your weight low is attributing to your weight gain. Switch to natural, low-sugar substitutes such as pure stevia leaf extract or other natural options like honey or maple syrup.

2. Duck the Dyes – Artificial colors can be just as damaging to the human body, especially the little ones. Studies have linked artificial coloring to cancer and hyperactivity in children. Read the product label. If there is added coloring such as “Yellow 5” or “Red 40”, it is best that you put it right back on the shelf that you picked it up from.

3. Cut Processed Carbs – Stick to natural sources of carbohydrates such as fruits, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa. Avoid processed grains such as baked goods, pasta, and refined sugars. When you do want to get your sandwich or Italian jive on, choose sprouted, whole-grain breads, and brown rice/quinoa blend pastas. Avoiding processed grains and sugars can help stave off your risk for diabetes and obesity.

4. Avoid Advertising – Is your pantry, fridge, and freezer full of advertisements and marketing ploys? A good rule of thumb is, if it has a commercial, it is most likely not good for you. McDonald’s Corp. spends nearly a billion dollars in advertising and marketing their products each year – catch my drift? Stick to whole, fresh foods that you prepare at home and avoid processed, packaged items with an advertised brand name.

5. Meatless Mondays – Expertise has been released as of late that by eating one meatless meal per week, you will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint. So why not? Even if you and your family are staunch omnivores, one night away from meat won’t even be noticed. It will give you the perfect opportunity to explore alternate protein sources such as legumes, beans, and cheeses.

6. Add Some Agua – Drink more water! The United States is a chronically dehydrated country – research states that over 40% of men and women aged 20 to 50 do not meet their daily water intake needs. How much is enough? A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide it by two. This should be the number of ounces that you are aiming for daily in order to stay hydrated and support healthy bodily functions.

7. Start Slow – Eating clean is a lifestyle change, not a diet. It is a way to overhaul your health and the health of your family, not just lose weight. It can and will take time to educate yourself and make the changes necessary to be successful on your journey to health and happiness.

Ashley Misko

Ashley is a wife, mother of two, and works as both a Senior Program Manager at a non-profit assisting those with developmental disabilities and as a Health and Fitness Coach. Since becoming a mom, she is committed to helping other women and mothers live a healthier lifestyle and help their families to do the same. Join Ashley in her Fight against the Frump at