Google the term “clean eating” and you get about 38,900,000 results. Overwhelming. Even more overwhelming are all the different opinions on what doctors, dietitians and other experts believe clean eating really is.
Broken down to its core, most experts agree that clean eating is not a diet but a way of using food to improve your health. It is not a strict way of counting calories, monitoring fat intake or restricting oneself to certain foods. Rather, it is an overall lifestyle choice. Clean eating is not a new concept but a comprehensive idea of going back to the basics.
There is no one correct way of eating clean.
However, most people see eating whole foods made of one ingredient as the foundation of clean eating. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, grains, and nuts are just some examples.
How much we have to eat of each of these whole foods is debatable and truly depends on your body, overall health and individual dietary restrictions. For example, many people are allergic or sensitive to certain foods or food groups. This includes but is not limited to wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts or soy. Other people have dietary restrictions based on personal preference or religious beliefs. Vegetarians, for example, usually do not eat any meat or fish. Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products at all.
Keep in mind that while no two people and ways of eating are the same, the notion of eating whole foods can be incorporated into all of the different dietary theories. The key is that by choosing simple foods found in nature over processed foods found in a box we automatically eliminate or reduce the amount of chemicals, unhealthy fats, added sugars and sodium we put in our bodies.
Is it necessary to banish everything that is boxed or packaged? No. In my opinion, even if you tried to do that it would not be 100% feasible. It is, however necessary to read the labels. Does a packaged food have a long list of ingredients that you have never heard of or you do not know how to pronounce? Does the packaged food have added sugars, GMOs, artificial flavors, coloring, preservatives etc.? Steer clear as much as possible.