It isn't easy being clean. If diet gurus know it, average Americans certainly do, including graphic designer Franchesca Ramsey who recently documented her attempt to adopt a healthier lifestyle in an infographic titled, "Clean Up Your Diet In 5 Weeks."

Ramsey (also known for her hilarious meme "Sh** White Girls Say... To Black Girls") says her journey to cleaner eating sprung from her struggles with a sensitive stomach and a video she saw with a similar healthy living goal.

While Ramsey's efforts are steeped in personal experience (and gain), her tips are well founded in research.

Last week, HuffPost Healthy Living reported on ten alternative names for added sugar, including the kind often found in seemingly good-for-you snacks. Fructose and fruit juice concentrate, for example, contribute as much to excess weight (and the country's growing obesity epidemic) as notoriously sugary corn syrup does, experts say.

In a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics earlier this year, researchers found that simply recognizing fast-food brands, such as McDonald's golden arches and KFC's logo, doubles a child's likelihood of becoming obese.

And for adults who lean toward unhealthy options as a cost-cutting scheme, an Agriculture Department study suggested back in May that eating junk won't necessarily save you more money than buying healthy food.

That's more proof than a little that even modest changes go a long way.

Check out Ramsey's five-week plan and tell us: What's the hardest part of "eating clean" for you?

INFOGRAPHIC:
cleandietinfographic

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7 September Superfoods
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  • Apples

    <strong>Why we love them:</strong> Fall's staple fruit is loaded with fiber, which can help keep you full longer, says Altman. Plus, apples have also been linked to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/29/healthy-food-healthiest-list_n_1636409.html#slide=1162133" target="_hplink">lower cholesterol and risk of obesity</a>, and contain a solid amount of immunity-boosting <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/health-benefits-of-apples_b_966110.html#s364108&title=Nutrition_Straight_Up" target="_hplink">vitamin C</a>. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Eat 'em raw, especially during September, when local farms and orchards are open for picking. Just make sure to leave the skin on (that's where the fiber is). "Combine it with a protein, like 10 almonds or some organic peanut butter, for a more balanced snack," says Deborah Klein, R.D., author of "The 200 Superfoods That Will Save Your Life." Or, when the weather starts to cool, make an easy baked apple, says Altman, by sprinkling a little cinnamon and apple juice concentrate over your apple and popping it in the oven (or even the microwave!). <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidberkowitz/5132552573/" target="_hplink">David Berkowitz</a></em>

  • Red Bell Peppers

    <strong>Why we love them:</strong> Peppers in general, but the red variety in particular, pack a surprising amount of vitamin C -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/27/vitamin-c-foods_n_1457397.html#slide=911076" target="_hplink">more than an orange!</a> -- plus a hearty dose of potassium, says Altman. The crunchy veggie also contains skin-soothing vitamin A. Plus, their naturally sweet flavor may help curb your sweet tooth, says Klein, keeping you out of the cookie jar. <em>How to enjoy:</em> Try roasting bell peppers on the grill at your end-of-summer barbecues or blending them with chickpeas and tahini for a <a href="http://www.redbookmag.com/recipes-home/blogs/cooking/superfood-red-peppers" target="_hplink">nutrient-rich, homemade hummus</a>. Or use them in place of crackers or chips when eating dips, says Altman, for a healthier crunch. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/aukirk/7805441932/" target="_hplink">Au Kirk</a></em>

  • Pears

    <strong>Why we love them:</strong> Like apples, pears are <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2074/2" target="_hplink">rich in fiber and vitamin C</a>, and peaking in their harvest as <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307323_5,00.html" target="_hplink">summer comes to a close</a>. The juiciest ones especially can keep you hydrated and stop you from overeating, since all that water can help you feel full. <em>How to enjoy:</em> Like apples, you'll get the most bang for your buck if you <a href="http://www.fitsugar.com/Health-Benefits-Pears-5144004" target="_hplink">eat pears with the skin on</a>. Altman also suggests poaching them, and Klein adds them to smoothies. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mmmavocado/4223665477/" target="_hplink">mmmavocado</a></em>

  • Tomatoes

    <strong>Why we love them:</strong> There are just a few short weeks left of tomato season, and we can't get enough of the low-calorie, vitamin-C-rich fruit. Tomatoes also contain <a href="http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/DietandNutrition/lycopene" target="_hplink">lycopene</a>, which has been shown to help fight some cancers. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Cooking helps activate the lycopene, so get your fill of tomato paste or sauce in September (as long as it's not a brand that's too high in sugar or sodium). Enjoy them raw on sandwiches and in salads, too, or in dishes where a tomato can really enhance the flavor, says Altman, like an egg-white omelet. Salsa, with its metabolism-boosting heat, may be an even better choice, says Klein. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/geishaboy500/3026014294/" target="_hplink">geishaboy500</a></em>

  • Grapefruit

    <strong>Why we love it:</strong> This citrus fruit is available nearly year-round, but the <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307323_3,00.html" target="_hplink">grapefruit season kicks off in September</a>, Health.com reports, particularly in Florida, according to this <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/seasonalingredientmap" target="_hplink">interactive map</a>. Just half a fruit contains more than 75 percent of your <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1907/2" target="_hplink">recommended daily intake of vitamin C</a>, and research suggests eating that half before a meal <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16579728" target="_hplink">could help you lose weight</a>. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Slice a ripe one in half as part of breakfast or try this <a href="http://www.yumsugar.com/Chic-Gratin-Dessert-160899" target="_hplink">tasty-looking dessert recipe</a>. Peeled and segmented, grapefruit can make a tangy addition to a salad. Or squeeze, and drink the juice or swirl it into a cocktail. (A note of caution: <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0206d.shtml" target="_hplink">People taking certain medications shouldn't have grapefruit juice</a>.) <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/2079023560/" target="_hplink">Muffet</a></em>

  • Cucumbers

    <strong>Why we love them:</strong> Super low in calories, cucumbers are also one of the most hydrating foods, <a href="http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2010/06/23/in-season-cucumbers/" target="_hplink">at 96 percent water</a>. They are also a good source of <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2439/2" target="_hplink">magnesium and potassium</a>, both of which are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/16/food-for-bones_n_1784377.html" target="_hplink">important for healthy bone development</a>. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> While you can always enjoy raw cucumbers, <a href="http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2011/08/farmers_market_pickling_cucumb.php" target="_hplink">pickling season happens to be at its best around Labor Day</a>, when summer's crop of cukes have firmed up a bit, according to LA Weekly. Making your own is easier than you think! Cukes also make for a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chilled-cucumber-soup-recipe/index.html" target="_hplink">refreshing chilled soup</a>, or chop them with tomatoes, onion, red peppers and mix with some lemon juice for an easy Mediterranean salad, says Altman. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/karenandbrademerson/4927704196/" target="_hplink">karenandbrademerson</a></em>

  • Blueberries

    <strong>Why we love them:</strong> All berries have a host of health benefits, but blueberries, a "superfruit," says Klein, in particular, are a September star. They're low in calories and rich in antioxidants that have been linked to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/29/healthy-food-healthiest-list_n_1636409.html#slide=1162147" target="_hplink">lowering cholesterol, diabetes risk and slowing cognitive decline</a>. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Blend some up for a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/purple-berry-smoothie_n_1057060.html" target="_hplink">refreshing summer smoothie</a>, stir them into whole-grain breakfast cereal or try them in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/baby-back-ribs-recipe_n_1772934.html" target="_hplink">marinade or glaze for meat</a>. Altman suggests adding them to oatmeal or Greek yogurt or even in salads. Klein freezes some in a baggy, and pops them right from the freezer for an icy treat. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/shallowend24401/2902865508/" target="_hplink">shallowend</a></em>

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