How To Eat Clean Posted on June 20, 2016 by , 0 comments

It’s a little hard to find a solid and consistent definition for what ‘clean eating’ really means. One says it’s basically Paleo, another says that it means eating vegan, and yet another will tell you it’s all about avoiding processed foods. With all of the conflicting dietary ideologies competing for ownership over the phrase ‘clean eating’ how is a person supposed to know how to get started? 

The good news: The phrase, ‘clean eating’ can really be applied to ANY diet ideology. You’re a vegan? Great. If you’re a clean-eating vegan, that means that you avoid vegan junk food and anything you know doesn’t fuel or benefit your body. Or maybe you’re a clean-eating omnivore. This just means that you continue to eat meats, but healthier meats. Basically every time someone tells you they are doing clean eating, it means that they are adhering to a set of dietary guidelines they came up with to fit their own dietary beliefs and/or body needs. Which is a good thing! It means they are tuned in to what they need to function at their best and live a healthier life. 

The bad news: Sometimes it can be hard to come up with a list of foods that a person can and can’t eat while eating clean. However, there are a few universal foods to stay away from, regardless of your chosen diet. 

The universal offenders:

  • Red meat
  • Processed meat
  • Sugar (high-fructose corn syrup, white table sugar, brown sugar)
  • Processed foods
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Trans-fats (especially anything fried)
  • Alcohol (with the notable exception of vodka, gin, and red wine)
  • Soda and fruit juices
  • Excess salt

After that, items that may or may not be considered clean include:

  • Dairy
  • Any and all meats
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Nightshade vegetables
  • Caffeine
  • Eggs
  • Any and all alcoholic beverages
  • Carbonated beverages (even sparkling water)
  • High-sugar fruits
  • Starchy vegetables

Right. The lists can be confusing, but being able to customize your diet based on your needs and desires can be a key to long-term success.

Habits and eating behaviors are also part of clean eating, which anyone can do regardless of their diet. These include

  • Read the labels on everything to avoid added fat, sugar, and salt
  • Cook your own food
  • Don’t drink your calories
  • Eat 5-6 small meals per day
  • Eat whole foods

Take stock of what you know to be true for your body: Can you tolerate gluten? Do you have digestive issues if you eat meat? Do you know if your joints swell up after eating dairy? Take these things you know about yourself, come up with a list of foods you know you shouldn’t eat, and add that list to all of the nasty foods out there that nobody loves, like fried and junk foods. After that it’s a little trial and error and then you should be all set!

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Do you adhere to clean eating? What has worked for you? Tell us in the comments below!