Thrive Forward is all about progress, it’s not about perfection. Do as much or as little as you like. As an athlete, I always want to improve. That’s what keeps me going, is getting better. I’m never going to be perfect, and I don’t really think anyone is. But getting better feels good, and that’s what Thrive Forward can help you do, is get better. It’s not about cutting things out of your diet that maybe aren’t so good. It’s about adding new things in. Before you know it, they’re going to crowd out the bad stuff anyway. We’re not going to say, “Right and wrong,” or even so much “Good and Bad.” It’s just about progress. The whole thing is about improvement whether you’re at a very low level or a high level, I think Thrive Forward will help make you better. In the context of Thrive Forward, four significant factors will help you identify and understand the concept of clean. 1. Plant based. 2. Whole vs Processed. 3. Free of artificial ingredients. 4. Organic and non-GMO where possible. Why plant based nutrition? Well, there’s a few reasons. One, plant based foods are the most nutrient dense. That means they have the most amount of nutrition and the least amount of calories. #2, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and anti-oxidants. That’s essential for good health. #3, most of them are alkaline forming, and that’s huge. That helps reduce inflamation, it’s good for bone health, it’s good for your immune system, and it’s good for your overall health. When you get those three together, that is good nutrition. So why whole foods over process foods? The basic rule of thumb – the more that you do to food, the less that’s actually in it, nutritionally speaking. So the white rice here basically just has starch. There’s really no fiber, no protein, no fat. The brown rice here, on the other hand, does have some of those other nutrients in it, and that’s good. It also has vitamins and minerals in it that the white rice doesn’t. So we’ve all heard of artificial ingredients in food. So what does artificial actually mean? Well, it’s really anything that was concocted in a lab at a molecular level designed to add color, flavor, texture, improve shelf life, anything like that. As a general guide, if it sounds like a chemical and not a food, it probably is a chemical and it’s probably not a good idea to eat. FDA approves a lot of things that aren’t necessarily healthy. It just means that they’re not going to kill you immediately, but that’s different from health. If it’s not completely chemical, it’s likely that it’s a derivative of corn or soy. That can be a problem, because those are both common allergens. Organic food is important. But it doesn’t have to be certified organic. As long as it’s grown without herbicides and pesticides, that’s the key. Certification isn’t necessary. I’ve been to farmers markets where I’ve seen someone go up to the farmer and say, “Is this certified organic?” and the farmer will say, “No, it’s not, but it’s grown without herbicides and pesticides 30 miles from here.” “I picked it this morning.” In my opinion, that is the farmer you buy from. For all we know, that person who is there could go then to a big box store and buy something that was certified organic from China that was picked three months ago. So it’s not necessarily “Organic good, non-organic bad.” I think what’s really important is to buy from these small farms, and then what happens is that they get bigger. Then as they get bigger, then they can actually afford certification. Which means, then they create more demand, and then we have more options as well for good, certified organic food. To expand on what you’ve just learned about how to start eating clean, check out the supplemental materials, including recipes on this page.