What Is Clean Eating?

Eating clean is as easy as these simple guidelines! Post them on your fridge and give them a glance every so often to refresh your memory.
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Photo: iStockphoto

By The Clean Eating Team

The soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life – one meal at a time.

Eat five to six times a day

Three meals and two to three small snacks. Include a lean protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate with each meal. This keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently all day long.

Choose organic whenever possible

If your budget limits you, make meat, eggs, dairy and the Dirty Dozen your organic priorities. To learn about what makes produce organic, see What is Organic Farming, Really?

Drink at least two liters of water a day

Preferably from a reusable canteen, not plastic; we’re friends of the environment here! Limit your alcohol intake to one glass of antioxidant-rich red wine a day. For tips on tap water testing and purification, see Reconsider Tap Water: The Healthiest Water Options. 

Get label savvy

Clean foods contain just one or two ingredients. Any product with a long ingredient list is human-made and not considered clean.

Avoid processed and refined foods

This includes white flour, sugar, bread and pasta. Enjoy complex carbs such as whole grains instead. Avoid these clean eating foes.

Know thy enemies

Steer clear of anything high in trans fats, anything fried or anything high in sugar. Avoid preservatives, color additives and toxic binders, stabilizers, emulsifiers and fat replacers. Check out this list of the top ten food additives to avoid

Consume healthy fats

Aim to have essential fatty acids, or EFAs, every day. See this list of CE-approved healthy oils.

Learn about portion sizes

Work towards eating within them.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Eat produce that is seasonal and local. It is less taxing on your wallet and our environment.

Shop with a conscience

Consume humanely raised local meats and ocean-friendly seafood. Visit seachoice.org for a printable pamphlet.

Slow down and savor

Never rush through a meal. Food tastes best when savored. Enjoy every bite!

Take it to go

Pack a cooler for work or outings so you always have clean eats on the go.

Make it a family affair

Food is a social glue that should be shared with loved ones. Improve the quality of your family’s life along with your own.

  • swalker725

    I see that a lost of your recipes incorporate cheese, which I love. I’m eating clean, following different guidelines in that we’re not allowed cheese because it’s too high in saturated fat. what is your guideline for “too high in saturated fat?” thanks.

  • http://www.TheOrganizedPantry.org Lauren @TheOrganizedPantry.org

    I really love this list of what clean eating entails. Sometimes people are so familiar with fad diets that they seem puzzled when I use the term “clean eating” to describe my way of eating. This helps me have an idea of some examples to give them of what clean eating actually means! Great job.

  • Kris Johnson

    Actually saturated fat is not an enemy! Your body needs saturated fat, and makes it if you do not consume it. Just as it needs cholesterol for many functions in the body. It’s beneficial to get raw cheese from pasture raised cows – not the low fat processed kind. When you include good fats like butter and coconut oil, that helps to stabilize your blood sugar and helps your body burn fat like it’s supposed to – as long as you don’t go overboard on carbs. Good fats do not make you fat!

  • mark bill

    supplement getting great reviews

    Beyond
    belief points that really sounds arguments. Carry on really amazing work.

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