What is "clean eating"?

I'm sure you have heard through media and other outlets about a style of eating called "clean eating". But what is it really?

Clean eating is eating whole foods that are natural and unprocessed, unrefined, and not preserved. The standard american diet is by no means clean. While Big Food has made clean eating quite a challenge, people are trying various means to adapt clean eating habits. I have compiled a list of things that you can buy or eat to pursue this habit.  Keep this list in your wallet, or take a snapshot on your phone to have a look at it next time when you go grocery shopping.

Fruits:  Preferably organic and non GMO. All sorts of fresh fruits are clean. Fruits like apples, peaches, grapes and strawberries can be taken in organic form. If you wish to have canned fruits, frozen fruits and dried fruits, they must all be without sugar or preservatives.  In the case of fruit juices, they are clean when they are 100% pure with no artificial flavors or added sugar.

Refer to EWG's 2017 Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen food lists to find out which foods are the most and least impacted by pesticides and other chemicals. 

Vegetables: also organic and non GMO when possible. Vegetables are vital when you are onto clean eating. They contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and most of them are low in calories. So you can have plenty of them in your meals and munch them during hunger attacks. Peppers, potatoes, and celery can be taken in the organic form.If you are buying frozen or canned vegetables, they too are healthy but watch out for the salt and sauce they add to flavor it up.

Whole Grains: when unprocessed, raw, organic and non GMO. All whole grains, such as barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice, farro, millet are clean. When you wish to buy whole-grain products, you can purchase whole-wheat versions of pasta, bread, muffins, pizza dough with no salt and sugar in it. If you crave for popcorns, buy the kernels that contain no additives or butter and can easily be made on the stove. If you want to buy flour, the unbleached, whole wheat, coconut, almond, buckwheat, chickpea, oat and gluten free flour mixes can be your clean choices.

If you are gluten sensitive, allergic or celiac, you want to avoid grains and their flours.

Proteins:  organic, grass-fed, pasture raised, non GMO. When you are looking for proteins, get leaner meat for your meals, including chicken breasts, chicken thigh, and lean ground beef. In clean eating, say no to processed foods such as salami, pepperoni, bologna and hot dogs as they are high in sodium, preservatives and artificial colors. Fish and Shellfish can be another brilliant choice in clean eating. Fish such as Pacific Cod, Wild Salmon, and Tilapia contains hearty healthy omega fats and can be better choices. The egg is super clean and that too with the yolk. 

At the risk of sounding redundant...it's all about source. Where is your food coming from? Factory farmed meat is not clean.

Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are healthy, all sorts of including cashews, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, etc. You can also have plain nut butter, without added sugars, such as almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, and tahini.

Condiments, Spices and Natural Sweeteners:All herbs and spices are clean if they are fresh and bulk packets. Seasoned packets are not clean. Avoid blend of herbs and spices, with added sugars and salts.  We mostly buy ketchup but ketchup isn’t clean. If you can make one at home, might be a cleaner version. Most people reduce salt in their meals thinking it isn’t clean. You can purchase Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt as a cleaner choice. With honey, maple  syrups, the purer the better you can find, raw and locally sourced have great immune benefits.   

The best way to eat clean is to but food that does not require a food label. That's right! Real whole food does not need a label. If it does have a label read it carefully and check for preservatives or anything you can't pro nonce. You might not get everything clean 100% of the time, but you can certainly find most products clean and fresher than preserved and processed to the hilt.

Have more questions? No problem! Comment below, or you can email me at laramay@drlaramay.com. You can also find me on Facebook at Light Body Healing, and on Twitter and Instagram @drlaramay.

If you would like to work with a health coach, go to drlaramay.com/join and sign up for a FREE strategy session.