The media is awash with celebrities and nutrition experts proclaiming the benefits of eating clean. But is there really such a concept or one clear definition for "clean eating"?
The straight answer is, no. Clean eating is NOT a diet and there is no one strict definition of what it actually is. Each guru espouses some strictures of their own that are not shared by others who claim to be the masters of the technique.
Rather than any kind of restrictive system, it is really more of a lifestyle choice.
In fact it is not even a new idea, as its roots stretch way back into the 1960s counterculture movement and beyond. The whole earth concept of the hippie days also encompassed a return to whole earth eating practices that were already fading way back then.
Grow and farm your own food; share it communally and recover the lost health and wholesome benefits our forebears enjoyed living off the land.
Fast forward a few decades and we see health, fitness or nutrition experts promoting the same ideas in gyms and competitive weight training and body building. Personal trainers and other people interested in their own health have been practicing the concept for many years - without the label.
Now the concept has been packaged up into commercial products that can be sold to an increasingly knowledgable public concerned about the damaging effects of our modern dietary habits.
By even loosely following the concept, many benefits have become obvious. They include weight loss, reversal of many health problems, blood sugar control, shinier hair, clearer skin, increased energy levels, better sleep patterns and a great sense of personal well-being.
So what do you do when you want to "eat clean"?
First of all you need to face the facts about manufactured food products. Foods are processed for a reason and that reason is to preserve them so they can be transported and sold long after their natural ingredients would have simply rotted and become utterly unsalable. If the manufacturers can't sell their end products, they go broke, they don't have a business.
Natural food goes "bad" when it no longer good for you. So manufacturers have to add preservatives, radiation and whatever else they can do to prevent the food from going bad. Then they have to make it look good and taste edible months or even years later. So they add coloring and flavors, sugar and salt.
If you read the label on packaged foods you will see complex chemicals listed; even if you could buy them in a shop, would you serve them up to your family to eat with their meal?
So this is the core of the clean eating concept. You are choosing to avoid all processed foods with their unnatural additives and choosing instead to eat more naturally produced, fresh, whole and unrefined foods.
You will not want to eat anything that has been altered or adulterated in any way. You will then be buying and eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables straight from natural growing methods and preferably free from pesticides and the like.
If you choose to eat meats, spend the time to make sure you know how it was farmed, killed and butchered for your table. Free range and not factoried cruelly, not pumped with growth hormones and antibiotics that you in turn will ingest.
Protein is important for over all good health plus it suppresses appetite and helps your muscles to burn calories without your body going into a fat-storing process.
Many gurus insist on the avoidance of grains but if you choose to eat them, select whole grains that have not had the husks removed along with essential fiber and nutrients.
Another key cornerstone of eating clean is to eat more often through the day but have smaller meals with fewer ingredients. This will stop you from dropping close to starvation feelings that trigger over eating risks. And it helps to keep your blood sugar levels consistent so you have a steady supply of energy whenever you need it.
Many people fear that eating clean will be more costly than their current eating patterns but I don't find this to be true. The one thing that people do find different is that you will need to shop more often so that you can have fresh food whenever you need it. On the up side, you will find a fabulous balance that leads you to eat all that you buy. You will grow to waste nothing.
I recommend that you swing over to eating clean at your own pace so that your body gradually gets used to the change and so that your taste buds can break free of fake chemical enhancements. You will love eating clean and never want to go back.