Clean eating. It’s a term that's thrown around a lot. “All you have to do is eat clean and you’ll see results!” Is it Keto? is it Paleo? Does it mean wash my vegetables? What soap should I buy?
We’re cutting to the core of what this now cult term really means, and making it more digestible. In truth, clean eating is really a subjective term. It can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, but at its heart, clean eating really just means consuming foods that are good for your body and as close to their natural form as possible. But even that can be confusing. What’s a whole food? What is unprocessed? What is a “dirty food” then? Let’s tackle those common questions.
What’s a Whole Food?
Whole foods are food at their purest version of themselves. This includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, meat, fish, poultry and grains. They are nutrient rich and don’t have added sugars, dyes or other additives. Foods at their most natural state contain more vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. It can feel like “eating clean” means only eat broccoli for every meal, but in reality if you cook yourself up an egg omelet with some organic veggies and hormone and dye free meat, you ARE eating clean, and your body will thank you for it.
Unprocessed food is often referred to as “real” food. This term can seem ambiguous, and if we’re being honest, a little pretentious. What’s really important to know about unprocessed food or “real food” is it’s nutrient packed food, low in sugar and hormones. These foods are heart and brain healthy, and reduce inflammation, unlike processed foods that can leave you feeling bloated and lethargic. Eating these food can also do great things for the outside of your body as well, including clearer skin.
It doesn’t hurt to mention that unprocessed food keeps our planet healthier too. By reducing the amount of energy and preparation that goes into food, which creates harmful greenhouse gasses, we reduce the footprint on our planet.
What’s a “Dirty” Food?
A “dirty” food is a food that has been highly processed, most likely stripped of most its nutrients and supplemented with sugar, salt, saturated fats and other harmful additives. These types of foods can lead to poor sleep, low levels of energy, weight gain and in extreme cases, diabetes and high blood pressure. It usually tends to be those really tasty foods that leave you resenting yourself and your bloated stomach afterward. Ever consumed a bag of chips only to feel so ill, you swear off chips for the rest of your life…or maybe just for the next week? It’s because you just loaded your body with harmful additives that bring you down. However, we are advocates for moderation, so feel free to indulge in the occasional cookie or chip.
So there you have it. Clean eating is really about giving yourself those naturally nutrient packed foods your body craves. When you treat your body right, things just start to feel right within you. Switching over can sound like a hard adjustment, but you’ll find unprocessed foods can be extremely fresh, flavorful and tasty. Many argue the whole food lifestyle is too expensive. This may be true to an extent, but eating good for you foods leads to fewer doctor visits and health issues, which can save you big $$$ in the long run.
To help you get started eating clean, we’ve provided you with a handy grocery guide.
If you have any questions, talk to one of your professional trainers, or visit our fitness tools page, which includes a clean eating guide, recipes and a nutrition calculator.