If you've never heard the term "clean eating" before, it's natural to be a bit confused by the term. "Clean eating--- what, do I need a bottle of Spic N Span or something?!" To make it simple: clean eating emphasizes choosing foods in their most natural state possible.
- Processed foods (such as white flour and wheat sugar)
- Foods with preservatives
- Foods with artificial ingredients (such as artificial sweeteners)
- Foods with added sugar
- Foods with harmful ingredients (such as food dyes)
- Foods high in bad fats (both saturates and trans fats)
- Soda (including diet soda)
- Whole grains
- Unrefined foods
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh vegetables
- Lean meats
- Eat 5-6 small meals per day
- Eat every 2-3 hours
- Drink 2-3 liters of water per day
- Combine lean protein and complex carbs at each meal
- Include healthy sources of fat in your diet
Why would anyone want to eat clean?
Simply put, to be healthy--- you have to eat healthy. The majority of food sold in grocery stores didn't exist a decade ago. We are consuming things labeled "pasteurized processed cheese food" and "frozen dairy dessert" because these products have been so altered with processing, preservatives, and artificial ingredients that they legally can no longer be called "cheese" and "ice cream." You have to ask yourself--- are we eating food... or food-like products?
In response to this, people are clamoring for clean food options. Why is it that a jar of applesauce labeled "naturally sweet" contains high fructose corn syrup? Why is it that a can of diced tomatoes contains added sugar? Why is it that a carton of orange juice contains over a dozen ingredients, with actual orange juice being so low on the ingredient list? Many people are tired of this, plain and simple! So has risen the movement: EAT REAL FOOD!
Many people believe that "clean eating" is a diet. Is it? Well, yes and no. Clean eating, first and foremost, is a lifestyle choice. No, it isn't a temporary diet to lose weight. Will you lose weight while eating clean? Yes, more than likely you will. When you eat clean, your focus shifts towards making better food choices for yourself. Ultimately, many people will see weight loss as a result of making better food choices for themselves. Again, to be healthy, you have to eat healthy too! But--- eating clean is not the only way to lose weight, you can lose weight without eating clean, and exercise is essential to weight loss as well.
What are the health benefits to eating clean?
- Weight loss
- Fewer diseases from vitamin deficiencies
- More energy
- Better hair, skin, and nails
- Stronger immune system
- Decrease stress, anxiety, and depression
- Longer life
Do I need to eat organic?
Organic, in general, is preferred. However, truth be told, buying organic can be expensive. If you cannot afford to buy all organic items, try (at the very least) to buy foods that are highly susceptible to harmful chemicals organic. Meaning, fruits with a tough outer peel such as oranges or lemons can be bought non-organic, but softer fruits such as peaches or strawberries should, ideally, be purchased organic. Since there is no tough outer peel to protect these from harmful chemicals, you'll be ingesting more of those harmful chemicals should you choose to purchase these types of produce non-organic.
Is it expensive to eat clean?
Yes, it is more expensive to eat clean, but not so much that it isn't worth it. My grocery bills have gone up roughly 10% since I began eating 100% clean. Is that really that much? No, not in my opinion. If you think it is--- then, please, consider the long term costs of your health. You may be choosing more inexpensive, yet unhealthier, foods to save money in the short term, but in the grander scheme of things, in the long term you'll end up paying more by compromising your health with these unhealthy foods. Are those doctor bills, prescriptions, and whatnot worth it? Not to mention the benefit of living a longer, happier, healthier life, which--- in my opinion, is priceless!
CERTAINLY NOT! I firmly believe that eating clean does NOT have to mean eating bland, and I think my blog recipes are proof enough of that. You can still eat delicious foods, whether its chocolate stuffed peanut butter pancakes, coconutter no-bake cookies, sesame chicken, or even cake--- yes, cake! Of course, you'll need to do some work to find healthy alternatives and clean substitutions, but, really, your health and your body is worth it! Eating clean doesn't mean subjecting yourself to a lifetime diet of brown rice, plain chicken, and steamed vegetables again and again and again. In fact, most people find that clean dishes are not only healthier--- but also more flavorful, more vibrant, and more delicious!
How can I learn more about eating clean?
If you'd like to learn more about eating clean or if you'd like to try eating clean (but maybe aren't sure where to even begin)--- then I have the perfect solution for you! I regularly run clean eating challenge groups which will set you up with a weekly meal plan full of delicious clean eats, a shopping list of everything you'll need for the week, plus daily support, motivation, encouragement, and advice from me personally! All for FREE! Interested? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to sign up!