What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is eating whole foods in their natural state or as close to their natural state as possible.
Clean eating starts with foods that have very little processing and handling. Ideally there is very little processing between the foods origin to your plate. Clean eating is the emphasis of natural and not as dependent as macro nutrient surveillance (counting fats, carbs and protein). Whole natural foods that should be in a clean diet typically have a few natural ingredients and not much more.
What is a Clean Diet Plan?
Eating clean is not a diet, its a lifestyle. The chief aim of the lifestyle is eating natural unprocessed foods void of chemical modification or unnatural processing. Sticking to a clean eating lifestyle will pay off and some who have adopted the plan begin to experience weight loss maybe even as much as 3 lbs a week according to Tosca Reno, author of the book, The Eat Clean Diet series.
In addition to the weight loss you should also see some dramatic changes in the way you look and feel.
Cleaning up your diet and switching to clean eating will entail making better food choices and may take some getting used to. The motivation will be the results you see and in short order when followed. The food we eat is the difference between being shapely, fit, and energetic to being lumpy, lethargic and overweight.
Why do top athletes do to attain great shape and performance? They use food as their fuel. Good quality nutritious food. Nutrition being the key to wellness, health and getting fit. Good nutrition is making wise choices. Food selection is paramount to a clean diet. Avoid the processed packaged convenient foods abundantly available and contributing to globesity.
When grocery shopping, read the food labels and look at the ingredients.
Take a look at some of the ingredients in common food products. Ketchup, a common embellishment to our food, is laden with sugar or sugar concoctions. More than a bunch of calories in a mouthful. The high fructose corn syrup screws with hormonal response. And hormonal response is related to weight gain and similar issues.
- tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes
- distilled vinegar
- high fructose corn syrup
- corn syrup
- onion powder
- and natural flavoring
High Fructose Corn Syrup is sugar. It is chemically altered to get it separated from its glucose bond. It is highly concentrated and delivered directly into the liver, immediately turning on fat production.
There is more sugar in our diets than ever before. According to the Huffington Post article, Why You Should Never Eat High Fructose Corn Syrup. American society has gone from 20 teaspoons of sugar per person per year to 150 lbs of sugar per person per year. That magnitude becomes toxic to the body which in turn has adverse effects such as fatty liver and leading to diabetes. Purging high fructose corn syrup from your diet will be the single best thing you can do for your health according to Dr. Mark Hyman.
Sugars are the enemy and number one to avoid. (offer sugar ebook) Read package labels. You will find all kinds of sugar and sugar substitutes in many food sources.
Download the free ebook – Sweet Poison – Why Sugar is Killing You
Other surprising foods that have high fructose corn syrup, crackers, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, and apple sauce to name a few.
Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Soybean Oil with TBHQ for Freshness, Sugar, Contains Two Percent or Less of Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Soy Lecithin. Contains Wheat and Soy Ingredients.
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce ingredients:
High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Tomato Paste,Modified Food Starch, Contains less than 2% of: Salt,Pineapple Juice, Natural Smoke Flavor, Spices, Caramel, Color, Sodium Benzoate as a Preservative, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Dried Garlic, Sugar, Tamarind Natural Flavor.
Be aware that the food ingredients listed are generally in order of concentration. In Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, HFCS is the first ingredient and has the highest concentration of all the ingredients.
Other Issues with Food Labels
The FDA, the primary governing force for our food supply doesn’t define natural. The food manufacturers do and those manufactures have found they can sell billions more by putting the label natural on it. Consumers have filed many lawsuits and some companies, not all, have removed the loosely used term Natural or All Natural from their labels out of shame or in fear of being sued.
The FDA considers genetically engineered foods to be substantially the same as being produced by natural growing methods, therefor misleading to the consumer. There is no requirements for this label. The food companies take advantage of this misnomer with labels claiming “Non GMO” or “GE-Free”.
There are only a handful of genetically altered foods in the food supply being corn, types of squash, alfalfa, milk, sugar beets, soy and papaya are the main ones. So seeing a NON GMO on cauliflower or broccoli would be misleading.
Organic foods are monitored by the agriculture department and do impose standards. To label organic food producers must grow/raise their products without synthetic ingredients, pesticides, growth hormones or genetic engineering.
The National Organic Standards Board decides processes and ingredients that fall under the Organic label and a label is issued by this body. However, some non organic ingredients are allowed if they are less than 5%. If it’s labeled 100% organic then no non organic ingredients would be allowed in the item.
Some organic foods produced are organic but do not have the issued Organic food label for the simple fact they don’t want the hassle and expense of acquiring the government endorsed label.
Cage Free, Free Range, Free Roaming Chickens and Eggs
According to the agriculture department, “eggs labeled “cage-free” or “from free-roaming hens” are laid by hens that are allowed to roam in a room or open area, which is typically a barn or poultry house.
“Free-range” or “pasture-fed” eggs are produced by hens raised outdoors or with access to outdoors. In addition to the feed provided, these hens may also eat wild plants and insects.”
The concern is the process is hardly monitored. While the egg may be labeled “cage free,” the hen that laid it may have been stuck in a packed hen house. The terms are loosely used. New rules are in discussion.
On January 12, 2016 the USDA withdrew its standard labeling policy for “Grass Fed.” This was minimally monitored with low standards as it was. Livestock which lived in a dirt floor enclosure most of the year or were only fed forage were allowed to claim “Grass Fed.”
Look for an audited third party certifier on the label for a better standard of “Grass Fed.”
Why is eating processed foods so bad?
Because there are numerous health issues created when eating ultra processed foods. Foods that have undergone processing have a higher correlation to cancer, infertility and other issues. The main problem with processed foods is they have been stripped of major nutrients which have been sacrificed for better taste with a goal to maximise sales.
Inherent with processed foods are additives that over stimulate the production of dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter creating the crave for junk foods.
To disguise the processed foods from being touted as unhealthy, manufacturers of these products label them with catchy marketing highlights such as “less fat”, “less sodium”, “no trans fats”, “vitamin enriched”, etc.
Why Eat Clean?
Eating clean gives your body a good chance to eliminate all the toxins derived from the food additives and processing that occurs within the commercial food supply.
When you eat whole natural foods you body gets the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to alleviate the threat of nutrient deficiency. Food acts like medicine maintaining health, preventing and treating disease.
The nutrients in food enables the body’s cells to perform their necessary function. When nutrient intake is not sustained it deprives the cells of its function causing the metabolic processes to slow down or stop.
Food is not the enemy. Food is information for the body. Good information (clean food) makes the body perform better. Focus on foods you should include in your diet, instead of the poisonous goodies you will miss. Keep your mind focused on the good instead of the perceived sacrifice.
Research has show a diet consisting of high quantities of vegetables and fruit bode well for weight management, glowing skin and hair to name a few of many benefits. This is a direct result of eliminating toxins from the body.
Eat clean recommendations:
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast (see breakfast suggestions)
- Eat a complex carb with protein at every meal
- Consume adequate fats every day.
- Drink plenty of water
You’ve heard it before, don’t skip breakfast. Why? Breakfast is the meal that kick starts your metabolism to burn calories for the rest of the day. You’ve got to prime the pump to start that motor. It provides energy and focus.
Breakfast is the nutritional start of your day. Don’t let rushing out the door in the morning be the cause to skipping breakfast. Typically by skipping breakfast you set yourself up to eat some bad snacks or fast food to stave off the eventual hunger after your 8 hours of slumber and last meal.
Carbohydrates and protein work together to give you energy and fuel to grow muscle. Both are needed to stabilise blood sugar and best when eaten together. Vegetables with chicken, meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of carbs and protein to pair together. Go organic consistently and you will notice the biggest differences.
Avoid farm raised fish. They are continuously fed unnatural food pellets containing dye for color and antibiotics to eliminate the threat of rampant disease to the fish within the community.
Adequate fats – are unsaturated fats inclusive of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and should be eaten in moderation. The foods that contain good fats are wild salmon, avocado, olive oil, coconut, dark chocolate, butter, almonds, Greek yogurt.
Water – for men its about 13 cups per day and women 9 cups as suggested by the Mayo Clinic. Drinking 8 glasses a day is a rule of thumb that’s easy to remember and a goal to shoot for at a minimum.
What is clean food and how do you start eating clean?
Eating whole natural foods have been researched extensively and shown to be linked to good health. Keep it simple by sticking to the basics. Eat primarily from 4 food groups.
- Eat fruits and vegetables
- Lean meats, chicken fish
- Whole grains
Clean Food List
- Farm fresh eggs
- dried legumes
- Whole wheat
- steel cut oatmeal
- brown rice
- Unprocessed meat
- wild over farm raised
- pastured over grain fed
- hormone free dairy
Clean Eating Habits to Develop
- Don’t eat refined sugars. Its nothing but empty calories.
- Eat 5-6 meals a day. Keep them small portion control matters.
- Cook your own meals. You’ll know what goes in them and you can adjust for healthier alternatives.
- Keep your meals balanced. Do match protein and carbs together.
- Some packaged foods are ok. The key is small ingredient list and terms you can pronounce.
How to Shop for Clean Food in the Grocery
Meal plan, create a list of foods and ingredients of what you need and know to be clean for starters. This will help to keep you focused. Frozen vegetables are good especially when making smoothies. Being prepared is key to a successful clean eating diet plan.
While you are cruising the isle, keep you mind on defense. You don’t want a chemical invasion sneaking in through the food supply. Be curious about the ingredients in the food. Where did they come from? Be suspicious of the labels. Is it a marketing slogan, “less fat” grabbing your attention. Read the LABELS!!
The key, …the less ingredients the better. The ingredients listed should be recognizable and be on the lookout for additives and coloring.
How to Cook Clean
Avoid high fat deep frying and cooking where foods are stewed in animal or vegetable fats.
The best way to cook foods is cooking where the natural state, vitamins and minerals are not lost during the cooking process. Stir frying (flash cook) and steaming are the best methods.
One easy way to get started with clean eating is to try out Blue Apron. Blue Apron is a food service that delivers the ingredients of meals right to your door.
They are partnered with quality farms offering grass fed, pastured raised beef. No hormones or anti-biotics. The Vegetables and fruits are non- GMO.
They are partnered with over 150 farms and because they have cut out the middle man, the grocer, they are able to deliver fresh higher quality food at a decent cost. The average meal, $8.99.
And that is quality fresh food. With no risk at all take advantage of the offer below and see how you like it.
Read the Washington Post article about Blue Apron working with Farmers, A Pioneer of Humanely Raised Meat Sees the Future and it is Meal Kits.