Friday, February 11, 2011

What IS clean eating? A refresher course

It was brought to my attention tonight that, after nearly two years of living a (mostly) clean-eating lifestyle, The H is unclear just exactly what "clean eating" means. Can you say "FAIL" on my part? Without further ado, here are what I believe to be the ten most important principles of clean eating, paraphrased from a cut-out section in every issue of Clean Eating Magazine:

1. Eat five to six times a day--each meal or snack should include lean protein + complex carbohydrates.

2. Drink at least two liters of water a day--bust out your pretty and reusable bottles!

3. Choose foods with one or two ingredients--if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it (edamame and quinoa are exceptions). ;)

4. Avoid processed and refined foods--ditch the white flour, sugar, bread, and regular pasta. Use whole grains instead. This is the heart and soul of clean eating for me.

5. Skip the bad guys--avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fats (note: if a food contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, it DOES contain trans fats, regardless of what the per-serving nutrition info says), things that are high in sugar, and anything fried.

6. Shop carefully--try to purchase local and humanely raised meats if possible. Produce that is in season is tastier and usually more affordable.

7. Some fats are good--the body needs essential fatty acids daily.

8. Eat proper portion sizes--pretty self-explanatory.

9. Take your time--slow down and savor your meals.

10. Be prepared--pack a cooler for work and/or outings so you are armed with clean-eating foods even when you're not at home.

In the future, I'll try to be better about describing the "why" behind some of the choices I make, rather than assuming everyone (even those in my household...) understands what I'm doing.

Which aspect of clean eating is most important to you?


  1. I don't call myself a "clean eater" but I do adhere to most of the un-offical rules of the clean eating lifestyle. I relate more to the high-raw vegan lifestyle, but again, I don't like to "call" myself anything. I just like fruits and veggies and lots of them.

    Point 1 is interesting and I'd like to hear the reason behind this. I guess I eat 5-6 times a day with snacks but they definietly don't contain a lean protein + complex carb. What types of things do you snack on that do contain this?

    Who started the clean eating "movement" and how long has this term been in existence? Did it start as a start or a lifestyle change?

    Eat well,

  2. Carolyn, check out the "snacks" tag to the right to see what I munch on. It can be as simple as an apple + almond butter, or an egg + veggies. Tosca Reno is the authority that I look to on the subject of clean eating. She started following it as a lifestyle change, and there are various lengths to which people take it--from paring down to the basics for figure competition to a SAHM who's just trying to fit into her jeans. ;)