Clean Eating 101
Updated: Feb 21
What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a way of eating where you make sure as much as possible of what your eating is a "clean" food. This means that it is of natural origin and isn't processed or containing any unnatural additives or preservatives. This ensures that your body is as healthy as it can possibly be in terms of nutrition. Foods such as fresh meat and fish, fresh vegetables, dairy, grains and pulses are all examples of clean foods. Foods such as sweets, pre-prepared shop bought meals, potato chips, vegetable oils and packet sauces are all examples of foods which usually should be avoided by clean eaters. Its up to the individual how clean they want to eat but most people following this diet aim for 80% clean foods and save 20% for when you want a treat or cant avoid processed foods. "Nobody is perfect and you shouldn't strive to be, your only human."
How do you know what foods are clean and what's not?
Clean foods are natural and/or made from natural ingredients. Most packaging from shop bought food will have an ingredients list. You should check ingredients lists to see whether the product contains added preservatives, flavourings or colourings. If you stick with fresh foods like organic vegetables, pulses, meat, fish, dairy, you should be fairly safe, vegan meat alternatives should be checked but clean options are usually available. Its usually safe to assume that if you cant pronounce it, its probably an additive.
Do you need to make everything yourself?
No, you don't have to whip out the bread maker just yet! There are cleaner alternatives to most cupboard staples out there but they hold a heftier price tag. If your open to making things like your own bread, sauces and sweets then I have plenty of easy, cheap recipes so you can make sure your eating as healthy as you possibly can.
What benefits does eating clean have?
The main benefit of eating a clean and unprocessed diet is the massive impact it has on your health. Clean eating emphasizes eating foods that are full of the nutrients you need to keep your brain and body functioning correctly. Within a couple of weeks of cutting out most processed food and focusing on nourishment that my food provided I had more energy than I think I've ever had in my life, I was much happier and the symptoms of my fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disorder I suffer from) were reduced. Another benefit I've found from clean eating is that it encourages you to cook more, to learn more about the food your eating and how to make healthier adaptions, many of which I'll be sharing with you on this website. Now that I am eating so much more veg than I was previously, it has inspired me to plant my own crop of vegetables and get a little closer to self sustainability.
What tips do you have for clean eating?
My top tips for clean eating are: ♥ Bulk up on veggies, learn about them, learn to love them and respect them and all the nourishment they hold. Make sure your having at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, counting each vegetable/fruit only once.
♥ If budget allows, shop fresh, use farmers markets, and generally avoid pre packaged food so that you know the food your buying is as healthy as it can be.
♥ Get creative in the kitchen, don't mourn the foods you cutting from your diet when you can replace them instead, if your missing your condiments, try my sugar free tomato sauce recipe or if you want to try making your own bread, keep an eye out for my Rosemary Bread recipe coming soon.
♥Get in the habit of checking the labels on anything pre packaged that you buy and looking for healthier alternatives.
♥ Staying hydrated is really important. Make sure your having at least 2 litres of water a day. You can add slices of fruit to water in a bottle or jug and leave it in the fridge over night to add some variations in flavour.
♥ Be kind to yourself, allow yourself treats once in a while. If you find it easier, cut out processed foods one at a time. There are some foods that are really hard to cut out, I have a handful of items that I just cant live without or find substitutions for (which I will go into at another time) just be the best that you can be.