What Does Eating Clean Mean?

What is eating clean? Clean eating  is a major movement, spurred by people from all walks of life who want to feel good about what they're putting in their bodies.

There are many people simply looking to remove the chemicals from their diets and bodies, and therefore eat clean. Their focus is not  on losing weight, but on general health. They avoid processed foods of all kinds, choosing foods that are closest to its natural state. An easy way to decide is to think of  where  the food is  made.  If the answer is a factory, it is not on the clean list.

The primary principle of eating clean is to replace processed foods with fresh, natural foods. To me, this means foods that haven't had anything added to them, and haven't had anything valuable taken away.

Eating foods like lean protein, good-for-you carbs,  fats, fresh fruits, and vegetables  six times a day in the right amounts will give you a balanced diet.  Drink lots of water, exercise regularly and  you’ll turn your sluggish metabolism into a fat-burning machine.

Eat  Lots Of Plants – Eat food that is straight from nature, as close to the way nature made it as possible

Include Meats - Eat meats that are whole, grass-fed and straight from the butcher.

Enjoy Grains - Eat grains that are complete.

Read Labels try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list. Be sure you recognize each and every ingredient.  Remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.

The Eat-Clean principles are:

  • Eat six small meals a day.
  • Start every day eating breakfast (within an hour of getting up.)
  • Eat lean protein and complex carbohydrates at every meal.
  • Have two or three servings of healthy fats every day.
  • Fruits and vegetables provide  fiber, vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes.
  • Control your portions.
  • Drink 2 to 3 liters of water (about 13 8-ounce cups) every day.

The foods to avoid:

  • Overprocessed foods, especially white flour and sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sugary beverages, such as soda and juice
  • Alcohol
  • Foods with chemical additives ( food dyes and sodium nitrite)
  •  preservatives
  • Artificial foods, such as processed cheese slices
  • Saturated fats and trans fats
  • Anti-foods -- calorie-dense foods with no nutritional value

Clean eating is about focusing on quality first, and not letting terms like zero trans-fat, low sodium, or sugar free fool you into thinking that a processed food is healthy.

Eating  organic when possible reduces the consumption of  Dirty Foods. Dirty Foods are foods foods that are easily contaminated by pesticied and fertelizers, due to their thin skins and they way they are grown.

For produce on the “dirty” list, you should definitely go organic.  “The Dirty Dozen” list includes:

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce

All the produce on “The Clean 15” bore little to no traces of pesticides, and is safe to consume in non-organic form. This list includes:

  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions

One aspect of clean eating I really love is replacing packaged foods with homemade versions, from salad dressing to cookies and everything in between. I call it eating retro. Only eat things that your great grandmother would recognize as food.  Homemade cooking is coming back. Families are making their own baby food and growing their own gardens just like their mother’s did. Homemade bread taste so much better than store bought. Part of eating clean is thinking of food as preventative medicine. After all, the phrase "you are what you eat" is true.  So, being thoughtful about your food just makes sense.

Nutrients create the foundation for the structure and function of every cell in your body. Because your body is in a continuous state of maintenance and repair, the health and functioning of your cells is determined by what you've been eating.

Natural foods provide the building blocks that go to work to uphold your muscles, bones, organs, immune system, and hormones. So cleaning up your diet is a lot like building your house  with the highest quality materials.

For these reasons, I am committed to a clean eating lifestyle. It has truly transformed my clients' lives and my own.   Clearer, glowing skin, more energy, better mood, improved  sleep quality and less aches and pains are a few of the many benefits of eating  clean.

Written by Kim Zupnik from Nutrition Warriors ℠