To learn more about Clean Eating, go to my Clean Eating page.
So often I get the question: What is clean eating?
Now that is a very good question. And let me tell you a secret: Clean eating is very doable.
First let’s talk about what it is.
What is clean eating?
Clean eating is eating whole, healthy and fresh foods. It’s simple: if it’s grown or something gave birth to it, it’s clean eating. There’s none of those additives, chemicals, preservatives in your food.
So what does this mean? It means that you eat unprocessed foods: fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats and whole grains.
So let’s talk about each of these.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Eat food straight from nature. If you find it on a tree, vine, bush or plant its a go. This does not mean you can’t cook it. You can. Cook those veggies up so it’s a little easier to chew. But avoid canned and processed fruits and veggies… like juice.
When it comes to fruits and veggies you have no idea what chemicals have been used on them. So bring them home and give them a good washing. That way when you’re hungry, or your kids or spouse are hungry, everything has all been pre-washed and are ready to be eaten.
Eat meats that are straight from a butcher. None of those pre-packaged, processed meats. If you want a sandwich, slice up a cooked turkey breast or chicken. Also, grind your own meat if possible. Or have the butcher grind up some turkey breast for you. (You never know what you’ll find in ground meat.)
Eat grains that are whole and not broken down. These would include: brown rice, 100% whole grains, quinoa, millet, or old-fashioned oatmeal. Once the grains have been stripped, you lose all the vital nutrients.
This does not mean you can’t have bread or pasta or oatmeal. Just look for 100% whole grain/wheat variety. And none of that instant oatmeal, that is processed and have been stripped.
Here’s the deal when it comes to dairy. Some people include dairy in the their clean eating, some don’t. Here’s my suggestion: if you’d like to use dairy in your meals, you can, but there’s certain ones that are not acceptable. Look at your yogurt, there’s sugar in it.
Aim for fat free to 1% milk fat cottage cheese, unsweetened plain greek yogurt, fat-free or plain yogurt, cheese, and unsweetened almond, rice, soy and coconut milk.
There are obviously two kinds of fat: healthy and unhealthy. If we’re thinking about whole foods, healthy fats would include: avocados, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, and fish (which is also a meat). Don’t get scared by the word fat. Your body needs it and it will also help you stay fuller longer. So when you sit down to the meal, be very cautious with the types of fat you include in your meal.
Now that’s address another question:
What other guidelines are recommend for clean eating?
As you begin to eat this you will find that it will improve your overall health. But there are some guidelines that are helpful when making it a daily habit. Let’s look at these. (note: these are guidelines, not requirements)
Read those labels
Make sure that if the bread says whole grains, that it’s 100% whole grains. Take a look at the labels and look for white flour. Also, if you can’t pronounce it, it is probably not part of clean eating. Things like: spices, can be very broad. If you have questions, call the company.
Another thought about labels, try to only eat foods that have 3-6 ingredients. The more ingredients, the more processed it is.
Eat 5-6 small meals a day
We’re talking small. We want you to last about 3 hours. Here’s a few pointers about how to put meals together: start with protein, add some fruits and veggies and some healthy fats. And you have a well rounded meal that will help you get through the next 3 hours.
Breakfast is essential
You need to be eating breakfast every morning within an hour of waking up. And I’m not talking about just coffee and toast. I’m talking about a small meal: protein, fruits and/or veggies, possibly a grain, and some healthy fat.
Water is the life of your body. You need it for all your bodily functions to work. Aim for 2 to 3 liters of water a day. Have a water bottle with you all the time and drink from it often.
Eat whole, unprocessed foods 80% of the time, and indulge 20% of the time. This doesn’t have to be a 100% all-or-nothing thing. Just stick with it most of the time.
I think that’s all I’m going to cover today. I don’t want you to feel so overwhelmed. Read through it, digest it, and next week we’ll go into Clean Eating 102 and talk about how to make small steps and apply it into your lives.
Don’t worry, you can do this!