The problem you encounter with Clean Eating is tring to create a one-size-fits-all definition, when the truth is that everyone has a different gentic makeup, not to mention nutritional science is constantly making new discoveries. This makes it hard for even the experts to agree on constitutes an ideal diet. Another problem with getting people to understand what clean eating is, is that everyone seems to have a different definition of what “CLEAN” actually constitutes, as a bodybuilders definition is different from the paleo definition, or the vegan definition, and the celebrity doctor definition, ect. But here I will try to clear this up for you.
“Eating Clean” means revamping your diet, and stripping it of nutritionally devoid foods, meaning no processed, artificially flavored, artificially sweetened, artificially colored, fatty, fried, sugary refined unnatural items, and buying WHOLE FOODS.
Clean Eating Is NOT a Diet
A diet is something you do for a short period of time like month or two, so you can lose weight quickly, and then return to your normal eating habits, and gain all the weight back. This up and down weight loss, is why we have coined the term, YO-YO Dieting. This is short-term thinking, and ultimately not what will keep you happy or healthy. Clean Eating isn’t a short-term fix, this is meant to be a lifestyle change. If you want to be successful with eating clean, you MUST redefine your relationship with food, and continuing to improve your eating habits over time.
Clean Eating is NOT Deprivation
Also, diets instruct you to eat less, but with clean eating, you can EAT MORE! Yep, you read that right. When eating things like lean protein like chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, tofu, egg whites, Greek yogurt or Kefir etc., veggies like broccoli, kale, romaine lettuce, green beans etc., whole grains like quinoa, oatmeal, bulgur, brown rice, etc., and good fats like coconut milk & oil, almonds, avocado will keep you fuller, longer.
Clean Eating is NOT Perfection
When practicing clean eating, yes you eat healthy most of the time, but that doesn’t mean 100% strict adherence. If you really want a sweet treat that isn’t part of the clean eating idea, then go for it! That doesn’t mean you fell off the wagon. There’s this strange phenomenon, especially in the bodybuilding world, where people get obsessed with eating clean, that becomes unhealthy, and is truly unnecessary. The key to clean eating is aiming to eat healthy most of the time, while still being flexible.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods, although these items are convenient, you pay for that convenience with your health and waste line, as they are usually high in chemical additives, trans-fats, too much salt and tons of refined sugars. These foods are pretty much already “broken down” before you eat them, so it takes much less time to digest a french fry, then it takes to digest a baked sweet potato. This will cause you to be hungry sooner, and leads to unhealthy cravings. Processed foods usually have loads of sugar, but you should also stay away from item using artificial sweeteners, sodium, and preservatives that makes them quite addicting. Try to ween yourself off of the regular chips, candy, and all other “junk food”. As you do this, your tastes will change, causing you not to want those items anymore, and this effect takes about 2 weeks. However, you can still consume chips, sweets and other snack foods that are made from whole, nutrient dense ingredients. Many are easy to find at your local grocery store, Whole Foods Market, or other health food store. I also provide numerous recipes here on the website, to help provide you with more choices. Tasting WHOLE, real food is so much more satisfying in comparison to eating food hiding behind a blanket of nutritionally invaluable crap. Keep in mind not all processed foods are equal. They span a spectrum ranging from minimally processed items like the bag of spinach you get at the grocery store, to heavily processed foods like the frozen fish sticks or chicken nuggets in the back of the freezer. The closer your foods are to the minimally-processed side, the closer you are to eating clean.
Avoid Most Refined Foods
This means refined white flour, sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, trans-fats etc. If you’re interested in cutting down body fat, of special importance is to cut out refined sugars, which due to their affect on insulin levels and hormone sensitive lipase, aids in fat loss. Also be careful not to drink your calories. Soda is loaded with sugar, diet soda is loaded with artificial sweeteners and watch the fruit juices you pick as they are often loaded with refined sugar, as well as natural sugars. There is far more than what meets the eye as far as additives to food and water go. These added food ingredients are not necessarily listed on the product nutrition chart, especially when it comes to things like GMO.
Avoid GMO Foods As Much As Possible
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants & animals. These experimental combinations created in laboratories involving mixing genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Most other nations do not consider GMOs to be safe, and more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and in all of the countries in the European Union, there are restrictions or bans on production & sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them, and profit from their sale. Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the foods they purchase contain GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice. So when purchasing prepackaged foods, look for the Non-GMO seal.
You can also avoid GMOs by consuming organically certified produce which is required to be GMO-free, or by following and buying from the list of companies below who choose to remain GMO-free! By choosing to support companies who do not use GMOs, you are letting Monsanto know that you will NOT buy their products.