The What and How of Clean Eating?

There are a lot of fad terms bouncing around all the time in the nutrition space. Right now clean eating is quite popular, but what does it really mean?

Clean eating is just really getting back to basics i.e. getting back to eating foods in their natural state and eliminating processing and processed foods.

For me, living a busy life but wanting to eat well, it’s about reducing the mass produced pre-packaged, highly processed foods. These are the foods that are pretty close to being ready to eat straight out of the packet. They generally contain additives, sugar and preservatives. Think snack foods, pre-made marinades, simmer-sauces, pasta sauces etc.

My goal is to remove additives and preservatives from my diet. Keeping foods in a state where my body can process and digest them in an optimal healthy way and I can gain  more of what my body needs without all the other crap that can actually cause problems over a long period.

How to Eat Clean

Here are some tips you can start implementing, to help you eat clean more often than not.

  1. Eat foods that you prepare yourself so you know what has gone into it.
  2. Start with whole foods that you process (cut, cook, etc) yourself.
  3. Create flavour with herbs and spices – it may take some experimenting and practice to find what you like and what works for your household.
  4. Keep packaged foods to the basics – breads, rice, pastas. If you can, choose the types closest to their natural state, brown rice, wholemeal pastas, wholemeal breads without preservatives (try bakery breads rather than supermarket breads).
  5. Read labels on food packages. The best packaged foods have only a few ingredients and you should recognise them. If they sound like a chemical, they probably are.
  6. With meats, fish and chicken, start with whole fillets. Minced meats and frozen crumbed products can have unknown additives, preservatives and fillers.
  7. Make your own sauces for dishes. Instead of buying bottled sauces/curries/marinades, create your own. Find a recipe. Most recipes are surprisingly easy to do. They will add time to the process, but it’s not over the top and places more control in your hands about what you are eating.
  8. When eating out, choose simper dishes. Choose dishes without lots of sauces and dishes where you can still see and recognise the ingredients. You have no way of knowing how much of any ingredient has gone into those sauces.
  9. A further step is to go organic. If you want o take it a step further, buy organic foods. Doing this further eliminates additives and and other chemicals during the growing and harvesting process. This can be expensive and not easy to source. So it’s good to start without this change.

So clean eating isn’t a new way of eating, if anything it’s getting back to basics. It’s also not a diet, it’s an everyday way of eating and preparing food.

Clean eating is readily accessible. It might require some adjusting to though, and some research to find some recipes to replace some of your go to dishes. Once you cross that hurdle though, it will become just part of your way of life.