Simply put, clean eating is eating minimally processed, whole foods. You might have a tough time coming up with some examples at first... you'd probably easily think of things like oranges, bananas, apples, etc. The reality is that there are tons of options including meat, fish, dairy, #fruits, #nuts, seeds, whole grains, #legumes, and more. It doesn't mean only eating one thing at a time, either. There are thousands of recipes that involve cooking many different clean, whole foods together.
Let's break it down a bit with some examples:
Minimally processed meats
Minimally processed fish
Seeds (Flax seeds, chia seeds)
Coconut or Olive Oil
Unrefined grains (oatmeal, sprouted grain bread)
Honey or maple syrup
Processed fruit snacks
High Processed meats (hot dogs, spam)
Fish sticks, chicken tenders, etc.
Nuts cooked in vegetable oils
Canola oil, vegetable oil, margarine
Refined grains (white bread, white pasta)
Added sugar, corn syrups, etc.
Why is eating clean a good choice? There are so many reasons, most of which involve your health now and in the future. Less worrying about fats is a big one. Naturally occurring fats are much better for your body than processed and trans fats you would find in foods that are not clean. Extra virgin oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish are great ways to get your #healthy fats without eating #ProcessedFoods. Clean, whole foods have the vitamins and nutrients that you need. They are lower in sugar - even though fruit has natural sugars it also has a ton of water and fiber.
Clean eating is also food for you mentally. Diets are just designed to fail. You are always depriving yourself, counting #calories, or going hungry. the beautiful thing about eating real, whole foods, is that for the most part, you don't really have to regulate your calories. If you are eating clean foods, eat until your body is satisfied. Your body knows what to do with real foods, unlike processed "foods". You are likely to get full more quickly with real foods also since they are packed with nutrients.
When you hit the grocery store, you'll mostly end up shopping the perimeter. Most of your time should be spent in the produce section, meat and fish counter, and then maybe a few aisles. If you're going to buy anything in a box or package, that is when you'll have to check out the nutrition label and ingredient list.
While reading a nutrition label, there are a few things to check for. First of all, the fewer ingredients, the better. If you're eating clean, you will want to be sure each of the ingredients is, in themselves, whole foods.
A good example would be a quinoa mix that contains quinoa, #herbs, and garlic. Each of those ingredients is whole, so even though it is packaged together, it is still a clean food. If you can't pronounce one or more of the ingredients, that is a pretty good sign that the food is not clean. Look out for preservatives, added sugars, and unhealthy fats.
Beware - you can't just trust the advertising on the box. I was just at Costco and out of curiosity I picked up a box labeled "Clean Bars". That is what the front of the box said, in really large print. However, on the back, there were ingredients listed that are not technically clean and it had 10 grams of added sugar. They can be sneaky and put anything they want in their advertising, but they are required by law to follow the guidelines for kisting ingredients and using an appropriate #nutrition facts label.
Pick a week, and try eating as clean as you can for that week, Make note of how much you eat, and how you feel that week. Were you hungry? How was your energy level? Were you more or less irritable? Good food, and lack thereof, can affect so many aspects of your body and mood. Make sure you're treating your body well.