Everyone, and i mean everyone, has their own definition of “clean eating”. Here’s my breakdown. i’m vegan so of course my version won’t have animal products (check nutritionfacts.org for TONS of peer reviewed research on why that’s the healthiest way to live) and i’m NOT a doctor or RD or anything like that so this is my opinion only. Please check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
Basic Principle #1: Eat more fruits & veggies than you think you need to eat. Yes yes.. you eat all the kale. but do you really? if i add up all the fruits & veggies i eat in a typical day it’s definitely not enough. get lots of leafy greens, lots of cruciferous veggies chocked full of cancer fighting sulforaphane, and loads of fruits full of antioxidants and vitamins!
Basic Principle #2: Don’t eat processed foods. If it has an ingredient list don’t eat it unless the ingredients are whole foods like “dates & peanuts” (aka a larabar). the more whole the food the better. our bodies are designed to eat foods in their whole form as they exist in nature… if you start changing that food up and removing parts of it or extracting things from it, your body has a harder time knowing how to handle it or doesn’t have all the tools to properly digest it. do your body a favor & show it some love by eating as whole of foods as possible. hint: oil is NOT a whole food. an olive is.
Basic Principle #3: Get the balance of carbs/proteins/fats that work for you. This trio is commonly referred to as your “macros”- AKA macro nutrients. vs micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. There are some people that subscribe to a high carb diet and shoot for 80% of their calories from carbs… and those that follow a low carb diet and get more of their calories from fat & protein. Do what feels good for you. My best advice is to not obsess over how many grams of whatever you’re getting- if you’re eating a balanced whole food plant based diet you’ll be good to go.
Basic Principle #4: Eat WHOLE foods. When getting your carbs shoot for brown rice or potatoes over flour. That’s not to say you should never eat whole wheat flour but the more “whole” the food, the better.
Basic Principle #5: Drink lots of water. And then drink some more. Lots of times when we think we’re hungry we’re just thirsty or bored. Drink some water. When you first wake up in the morning especially- you just went a lot of hours without any water. You are playing catch up at that point!
Basic Principle #6: Well if you’re staying away from processed things sugar is a given but i’m giving it a special shout out here because it’s just so sneaky. sugar = coconut sugar = cane sugar = cane syrup = agave syrup = … the list goes on and on! I went four months without sugar/cane sugar/high fructose corn syrup etc (i still rocked maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, etc) and it was amazing. I definitely felt a difference when i wasn’t eating sugar. Now i’m not being as strict about it but i’m still trying to keep it away and for me, that works better. when i started eating sugar again i went crazy and ate everything sugary i could get my hands on. moderation, for me, works best. do what works for you!