You’ve probably heard the phrase “eating clean” before. It definitely sounds like something that’s a good idea, and many people are adjusting their eating habits toward a more “clean” approach. But what exactly is clean eating? Is it as simple as eating more healthy foods?
Let’s take a closer look at what clean eating means, what it isn’t, and how you can switch your diet to a cleaner approach.
What is Clean Eating?
According to the Mayo Clinic, clean eating means eating more whole foods — veggies and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats — while limiting processed and packaged foods. It’s important to understand that clean eating isn’t an exact science or a precise diet pattern. It’s a way of approaching your meals that involves trying to eat natural foods while cutting out processed items as much as possible.
The basic tenants of clean eating include:
- Limiting processed foods that include artificial flavors and additives…
- Cutting down on fatty, salty, and sugary foods…
- Avoiding foods that are adjusted from their natural form, like orange juice instead of an actual orange…
- Preparing more meals at home rather than purchasing fast food or pre-prepared meals.
What Clean Eating is NOT
Sometimes, people mistake clean eating for things that it really is not. Clean eating does NOT mean that you eat everything in a raw form… on the contrary, cooking, preserving, and pasteurizing foods (or consuming foods in those forms) is perfectly acceptable as a part of clean eating. And replacing meals entirely and eating a protein shake or juice smoothie instead is not clean eating, either.
How to Eat More Clean
Now that you have a better understanding of what clean eating is, you might be wondering how to start eating cleaner yourself. First, try to find foods at the grocery store that are natural and organic, made without preservatives, additives, or artificial flavors and colors. Do your best to avoid prepackaged foods, salty or sugary items, or foods that have been drastically altered from their original, natural state. And try to limit the fast food and to-go prepared meals, opting instead to cook or prepare the groceries you purchase at home in order to enjoy wholesome, home-cooked food on a daily basis.
Clean Up Your Diet
Ready to make the switch to clean eating? You’ll be glad you did. It’s good for you, your family, and even the environment! Try some clean eating and see how much better it makes you feel.