Is Clean Eating Possible?
I’m not a believer in fad diets. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Unless you’re going to live like that forever. There will always be a summer BBQ or an invite to a friend’s house. The chances of them offering you the ‘baby food’ diet at dinner are going to be pretty slim! But then what about ‘clean eating?’ Would grabbing something ‘on the go’ be hard because of finding something unprocessed to eat? With all the foodie places on the high street, is clean eating impossible? People do it I guess.
Personally, I’m envious of those who dedicate their time to healthy eating and gruelling workouts. I wish I had time and focus. I do what I can, but not everyday.
‘Fad diets’ don’t work if they are too extreme to stick to. However I have had a dabble in the past. They also work – until I hit the biscuits again. Then more weight goes back on, no matter how many ‘Insanity’ classes I do.
My fad dieting has gone from cutting out all sugar (or I thought I was) to raw juicing. I probably felt great too for doing it. Juicing makes you feel ‘cleansed’ and hydrated. But hungry too! So doing that morning noon and night didn’t work.
What exactly is ‘Clean Eating’?
So, about this clean eating. Again, not news but it does really appeal to me. From doing my research it’s just a simple concept of eating unprocessed food and knowing where it’s come from. It should be a single ingredient or have very few added to it. There are extremes to this though depending on what is defined by clean eating. So some would cut out grains, dairy and caffeine and only eat locally sourced organic food. Others (like me) would make smaller changes, occasionally making compromises. For example, on where everything is purchased as we have to stick to a budget. Coffee is something I like to hang onto too…
You could follow the Paleo diet, which is the ‘hunter-gatherer’ lifestyle. Or stick to organic raw foods with strictly one ingredient. That really is clean eating. But for me, not possible.
Supermarket shopping has been made a whole lot longer!
However, having food that hasn’t been messed about with too much is a bit more doable and is far better for you than burger and fries. The easiest way to know if something has not been over processed is to check the labels for the list of ingredients. The fewer the better and not with refined sugar, chemicals or hydrogenated oils. They need to be ingredients you can understand. Not packed with e numbers and stabilisers or other additives.
Some food will be processed to an extent, such as milk, as it needs to be pasteurised so it’s safe to drink. If you cook vegetables you are also changing their natural raw state But as long as they are not cooked to death (steaming or stir frying is better than boiling all the nutrients out) then they are acceptable for clean eating. Other processed foods such as cheese and natural yogurt can also be eaten on this diet – depending on which version you wish to follow.
Grains are excluded from the Paleo diet as in ‘cave men’ times these crops were not around. However, in clean eating some eat whole grains and whole grain bread. As long as the ingredients are not lengthy. The diet can be adapted as long as the food is kept simple.
List of no no’s on a clean eating diet
- packaged ham or sandwich meat
- chocolate bars
- packaged pizzas
- white bread/refined carbs
- fizzy drinks
In fact the list is endless. But you can eat
- lean meat
- fish (not in a sauce or batter)
- whole grains
- plain nuts
And in fact, from looking deeper into this, the list for clean eating foods is also endless. So hurrah! – something easier to stick to. But how easy is it? It’s all about planning the supermarket shop.
As I have a husband who cannot eat lactose, soy or fructose (yep, his life sucks), I’m well and truly used to checking those labels and cooking from scratch. It’s not new to me and as I’ve been doing this for several years now it’s a way of life. So I guess we need to make sure we’re buying less processed meat. No more bacon sarnies on a white roll smothered in ketchup for m!. Plus more whole foods. I think I could actually kind of do this.
It’s all in the planning
I do like cooking – thankfully. So all the things I love would have to be homemade with clean ingredients. If I prepare in them in advance then there’s less chance of me snacking on something processed and sugary. This is the theory but I can’t say I’d stick to this everyday!
For breakfast I can prepare overnight oats in mason jars with half organic oats, half coconut milk and a few tablespoons of plain yogurt. Then add frozen berries.
These have frozen cherries mixed in then a handful of fresh blueberries on the top. Such a versatile recipe – you can add whatever fruit you want.
I also like to make my energy bites made of raw cacao, dates, nuts and virgin coconut oil. They can sit in the fridge. Great when I need a sugar fix – and the only sugar is from the fruit!
Other snacks would include:
- carrot sticks
- cashew nuts
Small changes are more realistic
Most of us value our health and want to look good. That exhausted feeling could possibly come from a bad diet. So actually seeing that tiredness on my face and feeling that my jeans are a bit tight are good enough reasons. Small things – even if it’s not a strict clean eating plan could make a difference.
It’s been a really long winter – we had snow in March – twice! So salads weren’t really on the menu much. It was more like chicken pie and comforting crumbles. Then three weeks ago we suddenly had summer. No spring, just a really hot few days. I had to dig around in my summer wardrobe which had been packed away and that’s when all is exposed! Being pale and freckly, I will worship the sun as soon as it’s out. But it also means exposing every roll and inch of cellulite which has been hiding away under fluffy jumpers for months! I think that’s enough motivation really!
My Husband is also getting into this!
Changing our shopping habits is possible. Small changes like checking out the meat at the local Farmer’s Market. Cutting out red meat and processed ham. Eating more veg. Not everything will be ‘clean’. But these small steps as they say will make a massive difference to how we feel.