Clean Eating: What, Why & How

You can’t go anywhere today without hearing or reading about “clean” eating – it’s on the daily news, your favorite talk show, facebook, in every magazine and now on my blog. What does it even mean? Why should you eat clean? It can be confusing to those unfamiliar but the concept in itself isn’t actually that difficult to grasp. It is, however, not always easy to commit to. In today’s blog, I’m going to explain exactly what clean eating is and why you should consider practicing it, along with how I put clean eating into practice. Hopefully, this post will help answer some of the questions I’ve been getting on what I eat and can help spark some ideas for you to try at home!

What is “Clean” Eating?

Clean eating is a way of eating where you choose to eat foods that are as close to nature as possible. To illustrate it as simply as possible, clean eating involves eating organic, non-processed (or minimally processed) food.

What foods are considered “clean”? Think of the foods you already consider healthy: fruits, vegetables, lean meats like chicken and turkey. Those would be considered clean. In addition, brown rice, Ezekiel bread, greek yogurt, nuts, and beans are some other great examples of clean eating foods.

What isn’t considered “clean”? Just as you would expect – things that aren’t typically considered healthy: cookies, cakes, creams, chips, most* cereals, white flours.

While what is considered clean eating or not can vary from each person, I tend to be pretty lenient, it basically comes down to his: does it grow on a farm, or in a factory?

Why Would Anyone Want to Practice Clean Eating?

Well, the obvious reason is because foods involved in clean eating are the healthiest foods you could consume. Do you want good health? To live longer? To lose weight? Eating as clean as possible will give you all of those and then some.

For the average person, only eating foods deemed “clean” would drive someone nuts and leave them constantly unsatisfied. I certainly don’t only eat clean. You don’t have to either! You can be perfectly healthy by eating all the clean foods mentioned above and cookies, chips, etc.

Where clean eating comes to be really important though is when it comes to losing weight or sculpting your body. That’s why you’ll often see cross-fit junkies or models hype up clean eating so much. The difference between “clean” foods and other foods is the way they are metabolized by your body – they can affect your appearance!

For example, two people of similar stature could implement the same workout routine and eat the same amount of calories. The person who eats their calories from clean foods is going to end up much leaner and sculpted than the same person who eats their calories in forms of cookies, breads, etc. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but the vast majority of the time this is the case.

So, for me, the big why is because I:

  1. want to be healthy because I care about my body
  2. want to fight off diseases and live a long life by providing my body with proper nutrients
  3. like to stay fit and lean, eating clean more often than not helps me accomplish this.

Ok, So How Do I Eat Clean? It Seems Really Complicated.

Switching your diet from fast-food or “easy” meals can be challenging at first – but definitely not impossible.

To increase your chances of success, the first thing I would suggest is meal planning and prepping.

  • Decide what you want to eat that week and go to the grocery store and buy everything you need for those meals.
    • This also means that if it’s not on your meal (and snack!) planning list, don’t buy it! You’ll save money and will avoid tempting yourself with things you don’t want to actually eat.
  • Once you have your ingredients, pick a day to prep what you can for the week (or next few days if it needs to be fresh).
    • I usually pick Sunday or Monday to meal prep. For me, this means pre-portioning out some of my foods, chopping vegetables, cooking turkey meatballs or chicken.

Now as to what I actually eat for each meal, it varies, but there are a few staples that I’m guaranteed to eat every week. Just look below :)

Breakfast

  • Yogurt (Greek, or Siggys; 1%) with some nuts or fruit

Clean Eating Breakfast Yogurt

  • Scrambled Eggs seasoned with Hot Sauce, Pepper and a piece of fruit

Clean Eating Breakfast Hot Eggs

  • Overnight Oats (for a recipe, visit this post)
  • Shakeology

 

Clean Eating Shakeology

Snacks

  • Shakeology (especially post workout)
  • Fruit
  • Handful of Nuts
  • Carrots with Hummus
  • Yogurt (I never get sick of it)

Lunch/Dinner

  • Ezekiel bread with 2-3 oz of lean turkey, hummus, spinach and tomato
  • Chicken Breast with brown rice and sauteed spinach, peppers, tomatoes and onions (can add soy sauce)

Clean Eating Rice Stir Fry

  • Turkey Meatballs with 1/2 Sweet Potato and Broccoli
  • Salad with: Chicken, Spinach, Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Corn, Light Dressing

Clean Eating Salad

  • Veggie Burger (chopped) with Sauteed Vegetables

Clean Eating Dinner

  • Baked Fish with Sauteed Veggies

 

Now these are some of my favorites and definitely not inclusive of everything that I eat! I also include foods that aren’t deemed “clean” probably 2-3x a week like candy, ice cream, chips, or alcohol (if you couldn’t tell from the pictures of me holding a drink all over my blog!). True health is all about moderation but for those seeking to lose weight or lean out, minimalizing un-clean foods is the quickest way to see results.

 

Share some ways you like to eat clean below! 

Hayley

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