Among all the lifestyles out there like Keto, Paleo and Whole 30, you have probably heard the term Clean Eating being thrown around. But what is clean eating? And how do you get started?
Clean eating is a broad term that encompasses several lifestyles. For example, Paleo and Whole 30 are clean eating diets. Keto can be, depending on how it is being done.
No wonder it is so confusing!
So What is Clean Eating?
Simply put, Clean Eating is eating as close to nature as possible. That means lots of fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. It also means knowing where your food comes from.
Is the farm that raised your chicken humane? Is the beef you are eating grass fed? Let’s take a look at a couple of the major points in eating clean:
1) Fruits and Vegetables
This one is pretty obvious but it is worth discussing. On some diets, certain types of fruits and vegetables are eliminated due to high sugar or starch content. With clean eating, we don’t care about that.
Any fruit or vegetable is considered a part of the diet. Just avoid GMO foods and non-organic, if possible. Both are relatively new to the market and we don’t know what long term impact it will have on our bodies.
However, any fruit and vegetable (even non organic) is better than none!
GMO foods are not allowed to be called organic. If you want to know why Organic should be a priority, read this article about how organic may significantly decrease your risk of getting cancer: EWG News – Organic foods
2) Pasture Raised Protein
We should all be concerned about animal welfare. Today we don’t see where our food comes from so we don’t have to look at the animal that will be a part of our dinner tonight.
That is ok, I couldn’t handle seeing the cow I was going to eat. But we should be aware of how they were raised and ensure that we are supporting farmers that are taking care of their animals.
As an added bonus, pasture raised animals are healthier for us because that is how nature intended them to live. They have lower saturated fats, higher Omega 3’s and pasture raised chickens have 50% more Vitamin A than conventional chicken.
Lately, there have also been numerous recalls on chicken and ground beef. If you are buying from a small farm, chances of contamination are much lower since the farmer is taking proper care of their animals.
Curious about pasture-raised beef? It is literally the best meat you will ever taste (and I hate to use the work literally)! Pound for pound, buying a whole cow is your most economical option but when a cow is 250 pounds, it is a huge upfront cost.
We purchase our pasture raised Chicken and Grass Fed beef from Crowd Cow (affiliate link) where you can buy just what you need. (Click the picture below for more info!), but Costco has recently become a great source as well:
3) Flour and Grains
Again, both are acceptable but there is a caveat. They must be minimally processed and from a whole food. If you have time, you can always make your own flour. For example, oat flour can be made by pulsing oatmeal in your blender. So once you get used to it, it really isn’t a big deal.
However, all-purpose flour and cake flour is out. This makes shopping more difficult because you will start to notice how many ingredients are added to a simple loaf of bread!
Click on the picture below to read more about Clean Eating Approved Flours:
4) Clean Eating Sweeteners
This one is fairly straightforward. There are 3 approved sweeteners. Honey, Maple Syrup and Coconut Sugar. Personally, I don’t bake with coconut sugar because it is still slightly processed, even though it originated with a coconut.
However, it is often used in “healthy” treats at the store. We still have to have fun in life, so I have given in and started purchasing items with coconut sugar!
Clean Eating Results
We have now been enjoying the Clean Eating lifestyle for over 10 years. Without trying, we have lost a significant amount of weight, improved our cholesterol and increased our energy levels. Clean Eating really is one of those lifestyle changes that you can stick to forever.
We have watched other fad diets come and go while we stayed on track with whole foods and clean eating recipes.
The best part about Clean Eating is that it is so forgiving. If you eat something that is not clean, no big deal, just get back on track with the next meal.
With other diets, like Keto, one chocolate kiss can throw you out of ketosis and you are starting all over again.
When the kids have class parties or birthday parties, we let them eat what they want. They still need to enjoy life and one day of sweets won’t hurt them. But the funny thing is that they have gained an appreciation of real foods and they just don’t enjoy store-bought cupcakes, and other foods as much as I did when I was growing up.
Some people have said that we are depriving them of sugary cereals but when they eat it, they tell me that it is too sweet. It makes me a proud mama and I know that if they stay on track, they won’t have to worry about losing weight or keeping their cholesterol in check as they get older.
What We Thought Was Healthy Food
Before I met my husband, he had worked hard to lose weight and stay active. By the time we met in college, he was so obsessed with maintaining his weight that he only ate bread and salad…you think I’m exaggerating but I am not! I still remember the first time he ate a mustard sandwich in front of me!
Well, it was working for him, but at what cost?
After several years of trying different healthy recipes and modifications, we have a healthy rotation of clean eating snacks and clean eating recipes that I consider our go-to.
If you are new to the journey, Welcome! Our Facebook group has a ton of family friendly recipes and ideas, and it is a great place to ask questions and be encouraged on your journey!
If you have been eating clean for years, we are excited that you have found us! Share some of your knowledge and experience in the group too!
Clean Eating is not a Fad Diet
It is easy to say that Clean Eating is a fad diet if you are not familiar with the concepts.
However, have you noticed that at the end of every fad diet, the “experts” start telling us the same thing?
Eat more fruits and Vegetables. Include lean pasture-raised protein and wild caught seafood. Well my friends, that is Clean Eating!
Clean Eating Recipes
Now the fun part! Are you ready to start making some clean eating meals? The recipes below are just some of our favorites but be sure to read through the website to see everything!
Overnight Oats – This healthy breakfast is one of my favorites. These overnight oats can be made up to 2 nights before, so you could double the recipe and have it 2 mornings in a row!
Gluten Free Corndog Muffins – Looking for a healthy snack for kids? Try these gluten free corndog muffins. They fit perfectly in the lunchbox too!
Chocolate Milk Shake - Another fun one that the whole family will love! This Clean Eating Chocolate Milkshake is so easy and delicious!
25 Kid Friendly Clean Eating Dinners – Here are some dinner ideas to get you started! Many of these should make enough to feed your family for 2 days!