Eating Clean – What Does It Mean?

Eat Clean | Pledge to Fitness

We’ve all heard it – “You want to clean up your body?… Clean up your food and Eat Clean!”

But what exactly does that mean? As Psychology Today author Susan McQuillan (M.S.,RDN) very justly asks – is anyone actually eating dirty? As in dirty food?

Well, not necessarily. These days ‘eating clean’ simply means, eating healthy. Which thank goodness! Because having to power wash and then sterilize our food just seems like too much extra work in my opinion. Lucky for us, we have people like Susan who’ve already pointed out some key aspects of clean eating and laid them out nicely for us dirty eaters to understand. Here they are:

Eat whole foods

That means avoiding processed foods and refined foods as much as you can. They usually have fiber and  other nutrients removed, while other ingredients like sugar, salt and preservatives are often added. This, in turn, means buying very few foods that come in boxes, cans, or other types of packaging.

Avoid agricultural chemicals

That means buying organic when you can and buying foods like whole fruits, vegetables and grains, that can be washed before you prepare them.

Choose foods that are nutrient-dense

That means foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, protein and healthy fats. That means all the usual suspects: more whole fruits and veggies, whole grain and high-fiber dishes, legumes, and the healthful fats found in nuts, avocados and seafood.

Eat more plant protein and less meat

Get more protein from beans, lentils, split peas, nuts, and high-protein grains like quinoa, spelt, and oats. A diet that is high in plant protein and low in animal protein is more environmentally sustainable; it’s better for you and better for the planet.t

Buy local foods

Food that travels from nearby farms, bakers and other small providers to your local market usually have a much shorter trip from farm to table, so they may be fresher, retain more nutrients, and taste better than food and food products from bigger commercial farms and factories. The environment also benefits from reduced transportation and fuel use. When you buy local, you also support your own community.

Avoid excessive packaging

Particularly avoid plastic containers, food storage bags, and plastic shopping bags. Bring your own reusable shopping bags to your food market and choose products that are minimally packaged.

So next time you’re thinking about taking a soapy sponge to your cheetos – don’t. Simply reach for an apple or a banana and you’ll be eating as cleanly as Mr.Clean at a Whole Foods. It doesn’t get any cleaner than that.

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