What is clean eating? Have you heard of it before?
Chances are, you probably have. But what exactly does it mean?
The good news about the clean eating movement is that it’s very different from the common dogmatic diets that come in and out of favor.
It’s not about counting calories or macros, and generally speaking the guidelines are very broad and straight forward.
The mantra of clean eating is to basically Eat Real Food.
Hence, eat food that doesn’t come from a package. Food that your great-grandmother ate. Food that you would find on a farm. Food on the periphery of your market.
What is clean eating and what does it have to do with minimalism? One of the (many) benefits of clean eating is that it can be the ultimate simplification of your diet and food habits. I am a mom who strives to embrace minimalism and clear the physical and mental clutter from my #momlife. Eating real food has been the ultimate way for me to do that!
The Evolution of Food
“Food” has changed dramatically over the past few generations. With the advancement of technology and modern conveniences, much of our food has morphed into food-like substances. Most of the Standard American Diet includes packaged foods with multiple ingredients on the nutrition label.
So I think it’s safe to say that most of us know that this food is not the healthiest for us. But I worry that you may not know the extent to which it could be harming you.
The Problem With Fad Diets
Having had a weight problem for much of my life, I have participated in many different weight loss programs. Many of these weight loss programs help you lose weight but do not promote health.
For example, when I did Weight Watchers, much of my food was 100-calorie type foods so that I could eat as much volume as possible. Many of my calories were empty calories. But I ate ice cream and chocolate chips every day and still lost weight. Almost all my sweetened foods were “sugar free” but sweetened with chemical sugar substitutes.
I did another weight loss program that involved drinking 4 powdered shakes per day plus a meal of lean protein and veggies. I lost a lot of weight. In retrospect, I should have questioned the fact that the shakes had numerous ingredients, the first several of which were sugar/sweetener derivatives.
I have to disclaimer here that there can be a fine line between prioritizing your health and having disordered eating. There is such thing as having an eating disorder that involves complete obsession with healthy food, to the point where it causes detriment to your well being and body image. I encourage you to be aware of the dangers of dogmatic food rules. While I embrace clean eating and eating real food as a method to achieve optimal health, I want to point out that obsession with a food dogma can be completely counter productive to health as well as minimalism.
Processed Food: The Root of Disease
The evidence against eating processed food is overwhelming. Many processed foods are laden with hidden sugar, sweeteners, and unhealthy fats. These can lead to weight gain and unhealthy food cravings.
Additionally, sugar and sweeteners and refined flours can have a detrimental effect on your insulin sensitivity. What this means is that they can cause dramatic shifts of your blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, infertility, and many other chronic diseases.
This is partly why I am so passionate about giving children a healthy start from the very first bite!
I could go on and on about the direct cause and effect that food has upon health, but I will practice some self-restraint for now.
The good news is that clean eating guidelines are simple. If you’re still asking yourself “What is clean eating?” keep reading!
- Eat real, whole food. That means food that is as close to its original form as possible.
- Eat lots of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. Eat organic when you can.
- If you eat grains, choose whole grains such as quinoa, barley, and brown rice.
- Eat limited amounts animal products and when you do, choose pasture-raised, grass-fed, free range options.
- Eat healthy fats including coconut oil, avocado, eggs, fish, clarified/grass-fed butter, and full-fat dairy.
I realize that change can be scary sometimes. But when you adopt simpler eating habits, you will inevitably do great things for your health and the health of your family.
You can potentially change your family tree.
Think eating healthy is too expensive?
I guarantee your budget grocery store (Aldi or Walmart) has amazingly affordable options for organic and healthy food. In fact, I may argue that the prices are better than your traditional grocery store’s non-organic options.
There are also great online options for things you may need to buy in bulk. I love Thrive Market online— their prices rival Amazon and they always have the slightly obscure product I can’t find in the store (i.e. full-fat organic coconut milk in a BPA-free can).
Not sure where you can find healthy ingredients?
Depending on where you live, you hopefully have access to either fresh or frozen produce.
You may be lucky enough to have access to local farms and farm markets for fresh eggs and pastured meats. But if you don’t, allow me to introduce you to the most amazing service ever created for health-conscious omnivores: Butcher Box.
Butcher Box is a subscription service whose entire premise is based on providing grass-fed, pastured, no crap added animal products. You can choose what’s in the box, as well as the variety of animal proteins you get. It’s the next best thing to living next door to a cattle ranch, in my opinion! You can click my affiliate banner below to get FREE BACON FOR LIFE if you sign up by July 8. Do it! The bacon is sugar/nitrate free and delicious!!
But Amanda, what the heck do I cook?
I’m glad you asked. This whole process is supposed to be simple, right? That’s why I’m making it even simpler for you.
Introducing The Ultimate Clean Eating Starter Kit (for the Busy Mama on a Budget!).
It’s totally free and has everything you need to start your clean eating journey. Shopping list, food prep instructions, and a meal plan for the week!
You’ve got this!