What is Clean Eating?
I’ve used the term, “Eating Clean” for a long time. I didn’t even realize how common it had become until I saw the Clean Eating Magazine, which delighted me! Clean Eating means eating a diet that is made of Natural and Unprocessed Foods, free of added sugars, refined grains and other additives. When you eat a “Clean” diet the focus will be on fruits, vegetables, means and healthy fats in their most natural and unprocessed form That used to be pretty easy. Just cut out the refined carbs (sugar and flour) and processed food and get back to basics eating REAL food, as close to the way mother nature made it as possible. Well, as our commercial food supply has evolved things have gotten a little more complicated. How so yu may ask?
Now, in order to get the “cleanest” most nutritious foods, the way mother nature intended us to have them, in addition to sugar & sweeteners (that go by a lot of different names—read my article on Sneaky Sugars in My Pantry), and refined wheat and wheat products (and wheat has become way over hybridized), there is GMO food, a ton of pesticides and much of our meat is raised and produced in a manner that doesn’t support or honor the life of the animal and we end up consuming the result of animals being raised in CAFO’s (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) which have been fed on GMO corn and popped full of hormones and antibiotics that are passed on to us in their meat or dairy products. Over the last 3 decades more and more people are becoming allergic, intolerant or sensitive to many of these mass produced crops. More and more of our population is becoming sensitive, intolerant or allergic to these over-hybridized, GMO crops, most of which by the way are subsidized by our government, which makes them CHEAP to produce. So … what t do? I’m going to lead you through some information and some steps that you can follow.
Instead of eating pizza, pasta, bread, cereals and fried foods, a clean diet will consist of meals like steamed broccoli and grilled chicken, omelets, steak, baked potato and salads with dressings made with healthy fats. In essence, it’s going back to how we used to eat before there were grocery stores packed full of processed foods, ready to serve microwavable meals, and fast food restaurants on every corner.
The idea behind eating clean is to get back to consuming fresh, unprocessed foods that are nutrient dense. In my mind, this includes avoiding foods with GMO products, added sweeteners, and foods that have been irradiated so they don’t spoil while they get shipped from other parts of the world to our local grocer. It may be impossible to eat local or organic foods exclusively, but the more you can, the healthier and more nutritious your food will be. The main reason for choosing to stick to a clean eating diet is to support your optimal health. As an aside, eating in this way also supports our local growers and farmers who grow crops and raise animals in a healthier environment, and in the end this supports having a healthier planet.
How “clean” you make your diet is up to you. You have a lot of choices here. To some, eating clean may mean that they only consume completely unprocessed foods. Others may reduce or eliminate all food products with refined grains and added sugars and sweeteners. I’ve got a new definition and option for you. Pick 30 days, and eliminate all grains, legumes, dairy products & sweeteners. Yep, this will pretty much eliminate all processed foods, and most refined carbohydrates. In addition, it will eliminate most foods that are causing symptoms due to an intolerance or sensitivity that you may not even realize you have. This will eliminate not only all sweeteners, but corn & corn products, wheat & wheat products, soybeans, peanuts, vegetable oils. You may already be asking, “So what will be left that I can eat?” Just wait and see. There are so many really delicious food options to explore, and since I tried doing this I’ve discovered that I’m eating a more varied and delicious assortment of healthy foods. I’m naturally eating more protein, healthier fats and a bigger diversity of fruits and vegetables than before. You’ll be filling your plate with plenty of raw or cooked vegetables, including potatoes or winter squash, delicious meats and rounding it out with healthy fats and a little fruit.
You may think it’s hard to find healthy snacks or meal replacements for when you are on-the-go, so I’m going to share with you some delicious options that I’ve found to keep in my Emergency Food Stash (EFS). My favorite meal replacement bars are now Rx Bars, with all REAL food; I’ve found some protein bars and sticks with REAL meat (EPIC Bars and Chomps Sticks, for an example), small packages of olives (for fats), and of course dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Most of these options even are organic, non-GMO, or come from Grass Fed Animals! When it comes to drinks, water and herbal teas are the best. I like to infuse my water with fruit. My favorite infusion is to add one slice each of lemon and orange to a 28 oz mason jar of water. Black coffee is another good choice (only it does not count towards your daily water intake since it is a diuretic), and I’ve found a couple of good non-dairy creamers. My favorite is a product called NutPods.
It might take a few days to adjust, and you may even experience some symptoms as your body rids itself of all the added sugars and processed food products. Pretty soon though, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of eating delicious real food.
In addition to some of the resources I’m giving you in this article, I’m going to give you some ideas that may help you when you start to miss your favorite processed foods. You may think that packing a lunch is hard when making a sandwich isn’t an option. And how are you going to go without bread or your favorite pasta dish? Here are some quick and easy ideas to get you started.
Clean Eating, especially if you’ve decided to eliminate all grains for 30 days, will eliminate all pasta (or at least pasta as you know it 😉 )