At it’s core, eating clean is simply about eating real food in its natural state, meaning unprocessed and without additives or preservatives.
That’s it. That is truly all there is to it. Now, of course, you’ll need to learn a little more about that, and about how to go about making clean eating choices – and that’s all covered on this web site, begin by going through the How to Eat Clean guide and it take you by the had and lead you step by step through everything you need to know to start eating clean (and make it simple for you!).
But start by knowing that clean eating is really not complicated. Once you learn the principles, clean eating is easy, its delicious, and it will have you looking better, and feeling better than you have in a long time.
Clean eating is really a lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle with plenty of room for yummy. We’re not talking about nibbling away all day on only lettuce. How does ooey, goey chocoate cake sound? (made with no refined flour, but canned pumpkin instead to keep it clean!)
Clean eating is not a “diet” at its core, but if you need to lose weight, clean eating can most definitely help you do that. I’ll show you specifically how to use the concepts of clean eating to lose weight.
If you want to eat clean to lose weight, you’ll discover how, with certain easy and very basic modifications or “tweaks”, you can use clean eating to melt fat and pounds off your body in a manner that is not just healthy, but quite easy – all while eating a ton of delicious food, without ever feeling hungry.
But clean eating in its most basic form is not about dieting or losing weight – it’s about eating healthy. Without sacrificing delicious flavors.
It’s about eating in a way that allows our bodies to function at peak performance. That’s way more and more health conscious people who are already at their ideal weight are adopting a clean eating lifestyle – they want to feel, be, and look their best; they want to nurture their own good health.
Simply by adopting a more healthy way of eating, many people will naturally lose weight if they are overweight.
If your goal is an aggressive war on weight, then there are additional modifications that can be made to the overall clean eating approach to help the pounds melt off rather easily.
But for now, we’ll keep our focus simply on how to eat clean and why.
Why Eat Clean?
Food is the basis to health. An eating plan consisting of healthy, natural, unprocessed food helps your body stay or become healthy.
Junk food and processed food contribute to unhealthy conditions in your body – from heart disease to cancer, and everything in between.
Whole foods are good for your body, health and overall sense of wellbeing.
“Fake” foods are damaging.
By fake foods, we’re talking about processed or refined foods, and foods that contain chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial ingredients and coloring, added salt and sugars.
The whole objective in eating clean is to try to eat foods in the most natural form possible.
A study by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has offered merely one more piece of a growing body of science that shows that a Western-style diet is a major risk factor for many types of cancer.
Other research has shown that at least two-thirds of all cases of cancer come down to lifestyle choices — tobacco use, an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise.
If that’s not a powerful incentive to eat clean, I don’t know what is.
We are the food we eat. Healthy diet, healthy body. Eat crap, look like crap. Eat garbage, become garbage. Clean eating, clean body.
You are worth so much more than filling your body with junk.
Clean eating will help you:
- Fine tune your metabolism
- Look better
- Feel better
- Lose unwanted pounds
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Have more energy
- Have glowing skin
- Avoid digestive issues
- Stay healthy
- Overall feel better about yourself, knowing you’re taking proper care of your body.
People who adopt a clean eating lifestyle often have a motivation – it might be to lose weight, reduce inflammation in the body, overcome exhaustion or fatigue, or even as a response to a serious disease like cancer.
Parents are often drawn to clean eating to establish healthy eating habits for their children, with hopes that these habits will be life-long.
Our bodies respond well to clean eating because it is the way we were meant to eat – it is simply the healthiest manner of eating.
When you learn how to eat clean you’ll understand not only what foods to eat or avoid, but you’ll also know how to eat foods in the right combinations, in the right amounts, and at the right frequency.
All of this will optimize your metabolism, fill you with energy and a sense of well being, prevent you from feeling hungry, weak, or having cravings, and significantly improve your health overall.
The benefits of eating clean are that you decrease your risk of many types of cancer, lower your blood pressure if it is elevated, balance your blood sugar and decrease your risks of developing diabetes, improve your heart health, achieve better muscle mass, have healthier hair and skin, feel more energy and a sense of well being, maintain a healthy weight (and lose weight if overweight), look 10 years younger — and just generally look and feel amazing.
You won’t be the only one to notice the differences in yourself when you start to eat clean – other people will notice too. Be prepared for compliments!
Check Out the Long List of Benefits of Clean Eating:
- Lower inflammation inflammation
- Weight Loss and Good weight management
- Clearer skin
- Reversing chronic pain
- Better mood
- Balanced Hormones
- Lowered health risks for diabetes, obesity and other health issues
- Lighter PMS and Menopausal symptoms
- Better Ph Balance in the body, helpful for chronic infections or candida overgrowth
- More optimal fertility
- Fights adrenal fatigue and exhaustion
- Combats sleep disorders and insomnia
- Feeling more empowered
- Feeling more energized and inspired in life
- Save time with meal prepping and money on eating out
- Build a stronger body and mind
- Increased self confidence
- Better Self Image and Self esteem
- Improved emotional and mental state
- A more youthful appearance
Clean Eating Vs. Paleo?
A lot of people make the mistake of believing that clean eating and “The Paleo Diet” are the same thing. While there are some concepts that are shared between these two approaches to healthy eating, there are some major differences between them.
Both of these lifestyles are based on eating natural, whole foods.
However, The Paleo Diet limits food to those our ancient ancestors consumed during the Paleolithic era (pre-Industrial Revolution), meaning it prohibits all grains (not just refined ones), legumes, and dairy products, which clean eating does not. The Paleo Diet also allows considerably more fat consumption and red meat (which is associated with heart failure) than a clean eating approach typically recommends.
After having lost some unwanted weight quite easily with clean eating, and maintaining it well, I fell off the clean eating wagon for a while, and went back to stress-eating – even though I knew it was self-sabotage. I was in a mildly self-destructive phase. It was at a very, very difficult time in my life, where I felt like my world was coming undone in almost every direction (and it was). In some respects, perhaps I stopped caring. I lost the motivation to care for myself because critical circumstances in my life were just so difficult. I knew I’d regret it later, but at the time, I hate to admit, I just didn’t care. I was eating pizza and greasy chicken wings for night time snacks, indulging in potato chips because I was depressed, and straying farther and farther away from all the clean eating principles that had served me so well.
Finally I knew I had to reel it back in. I mentioned to my cousin that I was gearing up to return to my clean eating regime. She encouraged me to try The Paleo Diet, which she had successfully lost a substantial amount of weight on (far more than I needed to lose).
I was a little reluctant, because I tend to gain weight easily, and it can be quite difficult for me to shed it when I do. Clean eating had been the only thing that had ever allowed me to lose weight, quite effortlessly at that, in my entire lifetime.
I knew the Paleo Diet had more of a red meat and fat component to it than I was accustomed to, and I knew that when I consumed that type of protein or that level of fat, I gain weight. But she had me very tempted as she recited off some of my favorite foods that you are encouraged to eat liberally on Paleo – like steak and bacon for instance.
I know my body, and I know how it reacts to fat and non-lean meat. I know I’ve always gained weight eating those types of foods; I’ve never lost weight eating that way, that’s for sure. Common sense told me this wasn’t going to work for me, but a part of me hoped there was some type of magic involved in the Paleo Diet that would allow me to lose weight despite what my instincts told me about all that fat and red meat . After all, people do lose weight on Paleo, I persuaded myself – my cousin is a prime example.
Bad move on my part! I gained weight trying Paleo for only a few days!
We all have different metabolisms, and I think that very much plays into whether Paleo can work for a particular individual or not in terms of weight loss. For me to lose weight, I need to stick to lean foods, and Paleo promotes far more fat content than is good for my particular metabolism. And I do believe that’s why the Paleo diet works for some people, but does not work for all. Its largely dependent on an individual’s metabolic type. Clean eating, on the other hand, works for everyone, as long as they implement the principles.
What’s interesting is that some nutritionists, cardiologists, doctors, and other health experts have been very critical of the Paleo Diet, stating that it has far more of a fat and red meat component than would be good for the average person.
“The concern about the Paleo diet is the meat emphasis”, says Stephen Devries, M.D., preventive cardiologist and associate professor of medicine-cardiology at Northwestern University. “Large amounts of red meat should not be encouraged, given associated increased heart-disease and cancer risks.”
So, clean eating and the Paleo Diet share the approach of emphasizing eating a lot of vegetables, with avoidance of refined carbs (much less so in clean eating than in Paleo), added salt and sugars.
But the two lifestyles part ways where Paleo allows the consumption of a lot of red meat and considerable levels of fat, which health experts have told us for a long time now is not conducive to maintaining good health (or weight).
Paleo also forbids all grains – not only wheat but also, oats, corn, rice, and quinoa) and starchy tubers (including phytochemical-rich potatoes and beta-carotene-packed sweet potatoes), whereas clean eating allows healthy whole, unrefined, unprocessed grains – in moderation .
“I can’t think of any nutritional reason why such foods should be prohibited,” says Marion Nestle, M.P.H. Ph.D.,Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. She also points out that most people in the Paleo era didn’t live past age 30…
Dr. Nestle advises that its best to try to incorporate the diet’s best principles, like the focus on whole foods into your life – but stick to lean proteins, not the red meat or fattier cuts of meat that Paleo allows.
Well, that pretty much brings us right back to Clean Eating, doesn’t it?
Be sure to return to my fully comprehensive guide to How to Eat Clean to learn everything you need to know to start eating clean (I make it simple for you!).