What is Clean Eating?

by Jen on August 2, 2013

What is Clean Eating?


One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “What is clean eating?”

So I figured, why not write a post about it so you can keep it for future reference!

Clean eating has become part of my life in the past two years.  Did you know that you can’t achieve your fitness goals without clean eating?

Before eating clean, I would eat what I thought were “healthy” foods, but were they?  If the label said “low-fat” and “low-calorie” and “no trans-fat”, wasn’t that healthy?

Not necessarily.

Food and nutrition is your ticket to overall health.  If you consume garbage, you will look and feel like garbage.  If you consume clean foods, you will look and feel healthy, have more energy, gain strength, your hair and nails will look better, in fact, your whole body will glow.

If you want to feel and look this way, then let me share with you what clean eating means to me:

Eat 5 – 6 times a day: eat 6 small meals a day spaced at 2-1/2 to 3 hours apart.  This keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently all day long.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast: don’t skip breakfast.  Eating a healthy breakfast each day will actually help you lose weight. My personal favorite is Oatmeal Cookie Cereal.

Drink at least 2 litres of water a day: water should be the drink you reach for before all else. Start your day with a cold glass of water to boost metabolism. I like to keep a big glass of water with a slice of fresh lemon beside me all day.

Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbs at each meal: nutrient-dense foods make all the difference.  By combining lean protein and complex carbs at each meal, you slow down the carb-to-fat conversion in your body, keeping you satisfied between meals.

Eat sufficient healthy fats each day: consuming only “low-fat” or “fat-free” products does not solve anyone’s fat problem.  You need fats to stay slim, but make sure they are the right fats like raw nuts, hummus, avocados, healthy oils, and fish.

Be prepared: always have clean foods ready to take with you when you go out.  This involves preparing your food at home to take with you.  I like to cook some extra chicken breasts when I make dinner, or have fresh vegetables and fruits washed and ready to go.  Boil one big pot of brown rice or quinoa at the beginning of the week.  Put your clean foods in a cooler bag so it stays fresh throughout the day.

Depend on fresh foods: try to eat food that is from nature.  I like the saying, “If it is came from a plant, eat it.  It it was made in a plant, don’t eat it!”

Adhere to proper portion control: if you are eating 6 meals a day, that doesn’t mean you get to eat 6 BIG meals a day.  Instead, you are going to eat smaller amounts of food at each meal.  You’ll still be satisfied, trust me.  Check out this guide for proper portions.

Avoid processed and refined foods: stay away from white sugar, bread, and pasta.  Enjoy complex carbs such as whole grains instead.

Get label savvy: clean foods contain a short ingredients list.  Any product with a long ingredients list is human-made and not considered clean.


Now that you know a little more about clean eating and what it means to me, there are a couple of ways to approach this new lifestyle:

1. Go all-in.  If you decide you would like to start eating clean, then jump in and start following the clean eating principles full force.  This is what I did because it’s just the way I am.  I have to do it that way or I know that I will be too lenient with myself and never get the results I long for.

2. Go slow.  If you decide you would like to start eating clean but want to take it a bit slower, then try eliminating just one or two things at a time from your diet to make the transition easier on yourself.  Then commit to adding more practices when you are ready.

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