Most people have heard of ‘clean eating’ and celebrities including Gisele and Gwyneth Paltrow have attributed looking and feeling amazing to eating a clean diet. But what does it really mean and is it realistic and achievable for most of us?
In a nutshell clean eating involves eating unprocessed foods in their most natural, pure and unadulterated state or as close to that as possible. These same foods will be nutrient dense and better for health, seasonal and better for the environment.
Clean eating is not a diet, it is a long-term approach or philosophy towards food. It encompasses being mindful of what you put in your body and how it makes you feel, but also considering the origins of your food and the pathway it has taken before reaching your plate.
One of the key benefits is that no food groups are banned which, means all your nutritional requirements are being met and you are more likely to feel satisfied. This also means that clean eating it is achievable long-term.
Celebrity followers report glowing skin, weight-loss, having more energy and anti-ageing effects. Research certainly supports that a diet high in plant foods, whole grains and healthy fats does reduce weight and have other health benefits including lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of the big lifestyle diseases.
Eating more whole grains and less sugar reduces the glycaemic index (GI) of the diet and this helps balance blood sugar levels, which in turn gives you more energy, helps control appetite and can even improve your mood and concentration.
In addition, food processing usually reduces the nutrient content of food, as well as adding ‘unwanted extras’ such as sugar, salt, trans fats, artificial sweeteners and other artificial additives. Eating less processed and more whole foods is therefore a simple way to improve the nutritional profile of your diet overall.
Celebrities often go the whole way and avoid dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine and possibly animal products all together.
However, you can still eat a clean diet including some animal foods. The beauty of it is that it’s up to you how far you want to take it. You can adapt clean eating to what works for you and fits into your lifestyle.
Don’t try to be perfect! Eating Clean 70-80% of the time is a sensible and achievable goal to aim for and will give you the benefits while allowing you to lead a normal life.
Sasha, others might disagree with me but I would suggest preparing a bulk load of healthy food a few days in advance. For example, I make a large pilaf on a Monday, add lots of salad, olives, feta etc, and this lasts for a few days in a tuppaware tup. I use it for lunch and snacks. Also, use your freezer to store healthy meals and snacks.
Sorry Sasha, if it was easy half the population would not be fat. Try and work out your own prep routing for the foods you eat, keep to an eating routine that fits with your routine day, don't worry about the times when the logistics of your diet become awkward.
The trouble is clean eating takes more time to prepare and people don't want to sacrifice their leisure time nowadays. How about some articles on how to eat clean with a busy lifestyle?
I find that the best way to 'eat clean' is to look for as little packaging as possible. Non-processed food doesn't need pretty boxes. Added benefit; less rubbish and recycling generated!
if people focused more on clean eating and less on dieting we would all be a lot healthier, and a lot slimmer. For goodness sake, forget the fad diets people, stop falling for the marketing, and eat simple honest food.
like all the best health advice, this is simple common sense. I am slightly sceptical about organic items though, especially things that have come halfway round the planet out of season. Airmiles matter!
Eating clean is the absolute best thing to do for your body and looks. But I have to agree with Frank, it does cost a lot more, so we just do as much as we can afford to.
I love the last paragraph about eating clean 80% of the time. I am great at during the day, but come the evening....all hell breaks loose!!
Clean eating sounds great and it is great - we try to do it at home as often as possible and probably manage about 75% but it's the costs that hold us back - opting for organic meats and fish and even things like coconut oil see the price of the weekly shop go up a lot. We think it's worth it but not sure it's sustainable for everyone,which is a shame as it does really work for making you feel healthier and more energised!