Eating ‘clean’ means consuming food the way that nature delivered it – or as close to it as possible. It is NOT a diet! It is a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation – leading to an improved life…one meal at a time!
Keeping it Simple!
Clean eating is a actually a really simple concept. There is no calorie counting or eating a whack of protein and cutting out important foods such as fruits.
Ultimately, it’s about being mindful of the path your food has taken from its origin to being on your plate. This ultimately means eating what is known as ‘whole foods’ or ‘real foods’.
Whole Foods is Where It’s At!
Eating foods that are not processed (or minimally processed (such as wholefood organic peanut butter – with no sugar or chemicals added), refined and handled, keeping the food as close to their most natural form as possible.
What Does Processed Foods Mean?
Firstly, following this plan – this WOE (Way of Eating) also means things like not getting lured into things like buying ‘ Organic Spaghetti Sauce’ – as ultimately, there will have been processing (and probably loads of sugar and salt and preservatives) in the process. If you wanted to make your own sauce, chances are you would be need to be buying processed tomatoes – we recommend, if possible, looking for tomatoes in a tetra pak box or a tin that his BPA free.
Here’s an easy guide to follow in regards to the definition of processed food. “Processing” includes:
- Any kind of additional ingredients — this means even ingredients such as sugar, slat and fat to add ‘mouthfeel’ and flavour, to preservatives which will keep food from spoiling too quickly, to the vitamins ‘enriching; everything from beverages to breakfast cereal. Watch out for foods that say ‘natural flavouring’ – this tends to mean the chemical MSG (monosodium glutamate) -which is derived from seaweed. Here’s a website that has the ‘sneaky names for MSG’ Yes, you are goingn to need to read your labels
- Foods with components manufactured in a lab. (You probably don’t need clarification on this one, but if the ingredient list has stuff you can’t recognize or pronounce, that’s a pretty solid indication that it’s not natural).
- Changing the form of the natural food — for instance, removing the bran and germ from whole grains to create refined bread, mashing apples into applesauce, or stir-frying veggies.
In that light, processed food includes everything from a hot dog (where do we even begin?) to jarred organic pasta sauce and instant oatmeal. And yes, changing the form of natural food includes cooking as well, so even your steamed broccoli is technically processed, albeit minimally.
Being Label Savvy
As you are most likely aware, our modern day product of foods sometimes (read, most of the time) means that we need to be on our toes in regards to choosing foods that are whole. Even things like rice – choosing rice that is brown rice (unrefined) vs white – where the higher in fibre and nutrients has been stripped.
We are also going to need to avoid foods such as breads (even wholemeal, wholegrain), sweetcorn (very high in sugar), bananas and apples (also high in sugar).
A full list of foods that are in the green (enjoy!), yellow (eat in moderation) and red (avoid) zones are listed below and also available in a PDF format here, so you can print out to access easily.
Eat 5 t0 6 Times a Day
This means 3 meals and 2-3 snacks.
A meal consists of:
-Lean protein (that has not been processed such as deli meats – as they can be full of toxic additives and preservatives)
-Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
-A complex carbohydrate (such as brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato)
The steady intake of food keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently, all day.
Organic (or Not)
We know that organic is important due to the fact that we are trying to reduce our intake of toxic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones and anti-biotics (meat, poultry, dairy, eggs), but we’re also realists!
Organic foods can be a lot more expensive than foods that have been tampered with – and for many of us, our budgets don’t stretch to be able to incorporate this type of food across the board.
Therefore, we recommend following what is known as the Dirty Dozen & the Clean 15. The most to least tampered with foods in regards to fruits and vegetables and the amount of chemicals on (and in) them.