What is clean eating? Clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle, based on the foods you choose and its preparation. Eating clean can improve your health AND make it easier to achieve your weight loss and fitness goals.
Please read the following tips on how to adopt the clean eating lifestyle.
Choose Local Or Organic Whole Foods
Depending upon your dietary preference, focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and local or organic meat. Select produce that is local and seasonal. For produce with the most and least contaminated pesticides see list below:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap Peas
- Hot Peppers
- Collard Greens
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
Choose local meats and for ocean friendly seafood go to seachoice.org. Search through their database for a list of the best choice to items to avoid. A printable pamphlet is also available.
See also Clean Eating Grocery List.
Avoid Processed And Refined Foods
Avoid junk foods, fast foods, white products such as sugar, flour, pasta and bread. Stay clear of any foods containing preservatives, toxic binders, color additives, fat replacers and emulsifiers.
See list below of the top 10 food additives to avoid:
- Artificial sweeteners
- High fructose corn syrup
- Trans fat
- Food dyes
- Sodium sulfite
- Sodium nitrate
- BHA and BHG
- Sulfur dioxide
- Potassium bromate
Avoid products that list the following 18 words:
- Enriched – it means that vitamins and minerals have been stripped
- Bleached – bleaching removes most of the nutrients which leaves empty calories
- Flavored – manufacturers use sugar, salt, oil and unrecognizable ingredients to enhance the flavor of foods
- Carrageenan – its a fat replacing additive that creates an harmful substance during processing
- Low Fat/No Fat – when fat is removed synthetic emulsifiers and thickeners are added to make food taste better
- Sugar Free – means synthetic and artificial ingredients are added instead
- Soy – only consume Non GMO soy products due to estrogen influence
- Sugar – look for organic cane sugar. If the product list “sugar” its made from sugar beets which is GMO corn
- Aspartame, Acesulfame k, Sucralose, Sorbitol, and Malitol– use stevia instead
- Phenylalanine or Phenylketonurics – often found in beverages, diet sodas, sugar free gums, and other sugar free products. They are neurotoxins and they kill brain cells.
- Xanthan Gum – its processed using petrochemicals
- Olestra – indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked
See also 48 Reasons To Avoid Processed Foods.
Number of Ingredients Doesn’t Matter
There is a common misconception that clean eating involves only five to six ingredients. It doesn’t matter how many ingredients are used in an item or a recipe. It’s all about the type of foods and ingredients that are used. This is why you really need to learn how to read food labels for healthy eating, and understand what all those little numbers mean.
Look at Individual Food Items
On the back of the packet or jar, you will see a list of ingredients. It’s important to consider each one of these items individually. If each item is something you can buy on its own, such as tomatoes and garlic, then the item is suitable for clean eating.
Watch out for scientific-sounding items and anything with a letter and number. These aren’t items you could even buy on their own in the store, so they’re not suitable for the clean eating diet.
Ignore the Percentages
When reading labels for clean eating, you’ll see percentages next to the total amount of saturated fats, carbohydrates etc. Unless you’re following a specific medical diet, such as one to control diabetes, you don’t need to worry about these percentages. Higher or lower numbers do not mean clean or not clean. They simply tell you the amount of certain foods groups you’re getting from the item.
The percentage of vitamin C, iron and other items can be useful for a healthy diet, but not for clean eating.
Now you know how to read food labels for healthy eating. It can become tedious, which is why making your own homemade meals from fresh items is often preferred and recommended.
Don’t Count Calories
It’s not necessary to count calories when consuming whole foods just focus on portion sizes.
Eat 3 to 6 Times A Day
Eat 3 meals or 3 meals with up to 3 snacks per day. Keep your meals balanced, so you have energy and your calories burn off efficiently all day long.
Drink at least 2 liters of water a day. Preferably consume water from a glass container to avoid chemicals.
Consume Healthy Fats
Strive to consume essential fatty acids, or EFAs, on a daily basis. Please see below the best and worst oils to consume:
Best unrefined oils:
- Olive oil
- Grass fed butter
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Peanut oil
- Malaysian palm oil
Worst refined oils:
- Canola oil
- Soybean oil
Look For Clean Packaged Foods
Look out for the best packaged foods in the grocery store. While it is difficult, it’s not impossible. Pasta is still allowed, but you want to focus on 100% wholegrain options instead. Chickpeas, lentils and barley are other great clean items.
Make It Homemade
When it comes to clean eating, avoid processed, store-made foods. Many people look at frozen meals as a convenience, but they are high in sugars and salts. The best thing you can do is make homemade versions. Yes, they take longer but you can batch cook and freeze. These days you need quick meals, pull something homemade out of the freezer and pop it in the oven or microwave.
Pack It To Go
Pack a cooler for work or travel so you always eat clean on the go.
Use Online Menu Planner
Easily save recipes, plan meals for the week or months in advance and generate grocery lists with this cool tool, click here.
What is clean eating? In short, it is consuming natural foods. Some celebrities will stick to raw foods to get all the nutrients, but that isn’t a necessity. The clean eating lifestyle is all about cutting out processed and refined foods and sticking to good old-fashioned homemade varieties.
To adopt or maintain your clean eating habits long term, try this unique method, click here.