I get this question all the time and it’s one that I can easily answer because I WAS THAT PERSON…you know, the one who had NO IDEA, the one who wondered, “Why I should even care?”
First of all, I can tell you what Clean Eating ISN’T: It’s not a “fad”, it’s not a new trendy “diet”. It doesn’t come prepackaged and you can’t order it online (at least, not when I first wrote this post. LOL. Now online services like Blue Apron, actually let you have your errr, umm, cake and eat it too)!
Clean Eating is a LIFESTYLE.
As a Health and Wellness Coach, as well as a Bikini competitor, I am often asked by Clients and Friends alike, “Well, how strict do I have to be with this clean eating thing?”
I tell them there are as many different ways to “eat clean” as there are people. There are no hard set “rules” because it’s a way of making food choices that is as personal as the individual:
- I choose to eat clean about 80-95% of the time (when am I not? If I eat out, bring home take in, or buy a candy bar).
- Others eat clean only during training for a competition
- Some choose to eat clean 5-6 days a week with one or two cheat days on the weekend
- Or eat clean all week with only one cheat meal per weekend day
In my Coaching practice, I refer to this as Goal oriented eating, or eating according to your goals.
Different approaches yield different results and some are more or less sustainable than others.
When I first decided to change my lifestyle, I was the only person in my family who ate clean. It was a huge struggle and became the motivator for my flagship program, Six Weeks To A Better You® We’re a household of seven…I know what it’s like to be outnumbered!
So, we’ve already established that clean eating is a lifestyle and that there are many different ways to approach it, but how do you know if you’re eating food that is “Clean”?
Clean eating means eating food that is considered “whole” or “as close to its natural state” as possible.
That means NO:
- fake foods
and more foods that are closer to nature.
With all the food options that are available today, how do we know whether our food is “processed”, “artificial”, or “fake”? I mean, the big food companies do a really amazing job of taking something completely un-food-like and making it taste like “something”.
Think about our Great Grandparents. The food that was available to them was “clean”. It didn’t come chemically altered. If it was canned, someone actually “canned” it. Meat came from the butcher, bread was baked in someone’s kitchen, and vegetables came out of the ground that someone worked hard to grow. Pasta was handmade, not packaged; even sweets were made by hand. People didn’t go through drive-thru’s, didn’t have other people make their coffee unless they were visiting with a neighbor, and they didn’t need directions on a box to teach them how to cook what was inside.
Clean eating is simple eating; whole grains, olive oil, nuts and beans/legumes, fresh fruits/vegetables, lean unprocessed meats, tea or water, and for me personally, no alcohol, little dairy, and little or no sweets.
When preparing foods you should:
and you should minimize or omit:
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can think about adjusting your caloric intake if you have weight loss goals, but for now, if you’re looking to make the switch, it’s as easy as changing the way you shop for your food.
Looking for more guidance? Or want to learn the exact process I teach my clients? Then sign up for my 10-day Challenge and learn how to make eating clean part of your healthy lifestyle or check out my FREE 15 page “NuTRISHous” E-book full of Clean Eating Recipes you can prepare for your family!
Some simple rules of thumb as to what constitutes “clean food” are:
- Avoid foods with boxes, bags or tags…if it has a mascot or commercial to explain it, it’s not considered clean.
- Clean foods contain 5 ingredients or less and sugar/sugar substitutes is not one of the top five ingredients.
- Clean foods are considered “whole” and are single ingredient: An apple is an apple. An orange is an orange.
- If it grew from the ground or had a Mom and Dad it’s considered “clean”
Once you realize that “clean eating” doesn’t deprive you of REAL FOOD, but encourages you instead to eat REAL FOOD, you’ve taken the first steps on the road to changing how you approach eating.
here will be some of you who read this and say, “NO WAY” that’s too much work and others who read this and say, “WOW, THAT’S IT?” and still another percentage of you who fall somewhere in the middle. Whatever your choice, that’s okay.
If you’re looking to jump into clean eating with both feet, but feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, sign up for my 10-day Challenge!
I’ll teach you the exact methods I share with my clients who hire me to help them lose weight and transition to a healthier lifestyle!