What is Clean Eating?

Yesterday I posted about our reasons for living clean. Today I would like to explain what I mean when I say that we are clean eaters.

Eating clean is a diet (definition: food and drink regularly provided or consumed, source) that focuses on eating as close to nature as possible. We strive to consume foods that are unspoiled, sustainably sourced and nutrient dense. The following is how we define clean eating:

  1. Pay attention to proper portion sizes. Pair a protein source with a complex carbohydrate (fruit, veggie and/or starchy carb) at every meal.
    1. Focus on foods that give you the biggest bang for your buck: fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, whole grains, and essential fatty acids (EFAs).
    2. Lean protein sources: organic skinless chicken breast, wild salmon, sustainably sourced tilapia, cod, mahi mahi, tuna, shrimp, organic turkey breast, elk, bison, grass-fed beef, egg whites + farm fresh eggs, organic cottage cheese, organic full fat greek yogurt, organic kefir, organic milk, nondairy milk, organic sprouted tofu, organic tempeh, natural/raw protein powder
    3. Whole grain/Strachy Carbs: oats (groats, steel cut and rolled/old fashioned), buckwheat, quinoa, teff, farro, whole grain barley, whole grain cream of wheat, millet, sweet potatoes, organic gold/red potatoes, organic/non-GMO corn
    4. EFAs: wild salmon, extra virgin olive oil, organic extra virgin coconut oil, coconut butter, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, raw almonds, raw nuts and seeds, grass-fed beef, cultured organic grass-fed butter, nut and seed butter (without added sugar/salt/oil)
  2. Avoid processed and refined foods, which have been stripped of nutrients, created in a laboratory or are potentially rancid.
    1. Examples: white flour (bleached or unbleached), refined sugars (HFCS, white table sugar, etc.), trans fats, fried foods, seed oils, etc.
  3. Drink plenty of water.
    1. I strive to drink at least 3 liters of water per day. To make this easier I carry a water bottle with me at all times.
    2. For extra refreshment I add lemon, cucumber, frozen berries, mint, dill or basil to my water. Delicious!
  4. Read nutrition labels.
    1. Do you recognize all of the listed ingredients or do some of them sound like they were made in a lab? Would your grandmother’s grandmother recognize the ingredients?
    2. Avoid buying anything that has more than 5 ingredients – 1-2 ingredients is best.
    3. Strive to avoid added sugar, salt, refined flour or preservatives.
    4. Choose unsweetened and unsalted items. Add natural sweetener (honey, sucanat or maple syrup) or sea salt at home and over time your taste buds will adapt to using less sweetener and sodium.
    5. Choose organic and non GMO, if possible.
  5. Shop with a conscience. Use your dollars as a means of voting for sustainable farming practices that respect the Earth, plants and animals.
    1. Eat local and in season fruits and vegetables. They are better for the environment, have more nutrients, use less synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and gasoline and will save you money. Visit a local farmer’s market.
    2. Consider how animals are raised and cared for. Purchase animal products were the animals were raised in an environment that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. The resulting products are higher in nutrients and be much better for you.
    3. Choose organic and sustainable whenever possible. Always choose organic when it comes to the dirty dozen. Read this article to find out more about the dirty dozen. Download the EWG dirty dozen printable pocket guide here and the iPhone app here.
    4. For more information on sustainable food watch Food, Inc. and read any of Michael Pollan’s books