Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Clean Eating Defined

As I have been searching for a better way to eat, a better way to live and for the healthiest stuff to consume I keep coming across the term "clean eating." The term has sounded great, but every time I tried to explore it further I kept finding myself in a myriad of "diet plans" or "clean eating menus" and was instantly turned off to the idea. I don't do diets, personally - instead, I seek a better way of life. However, in the end, I am nothing if I am not insatiably curious, so I needed to get to the bottom of this clean eating conundrum for myself!

This weekend I found a magazine actually called Clean Eating. It is, evidently, not a new publication, but it was new to me, so I decided to spend the $5.99 to further satiate my curiosity. It wasn't far into my page turning (page six, in fact) that I came upon exactly what I was looking for: a description of what clean eating actually is.

Clean Eating As Defined by Clean Eating Magazine

There are 13 highlighted points, or habits I think may be more appropriate, to follow if you are looking to embrace a lifestyle of clean eating. 
I read this issue cover to cover and have post-it notes sticking out of it all over the place!!
  1. Eat five to six times a day. This means three meals and two to three snacks. Each meal should be comprised of a lean protein, plenty of fruits and vegetables and a complex carbohydrate.
  2. Drink at least two liters of water each day.
  3. Get label savvy. According to the magazine clean food is anything that contains just one or two ingredients.
  4. Avoid processed and refined foods. Their suggestion: avoid white flour, sugar, bread and pasta and enjoy whole grains instead.
  5. Know thy enemies. The bad guys? Foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugar and any fried foods.
  6. Shop with a conscience.  Look for humanely raised and local meats.
  7. Consume healthy fats. The essential fatty acids.
  8. Learn about portion sizes. 
  9. Reduce your carbon footprint. Eat seasonal and local produce.
  10. Drink water with a lemon wedge instead. They advise against drinking more than one glass of red wine per day.
  11. Slow down and savor.
  12. Take it go. In short, prepare your own food for your outings so you can ensure you are staying clean.
  13. Make it a family affair.

Finding the Dust Bunnies in my Diet

While reading through this list, I realized that this is exactly what I have been trying to do! I simply want to eat clean - what a simple idea! So, you may ask, what's the problem? Well, while I've been "cleaning up" on my own, I have been missing the mark on one of the habits listed above. It's like that stubborn corner under my bed where the dust bunnies all go to settle so neatly out of my reach every time I am trying to clean up. The dust bunnies in my diet are those ingredient lists (from #3 above)!

I have been tossing and turning about this for a while, realizing that while I have been eating healthier and friendlier (now that I know of my body's issues with gluten and dairy), I have not yet kicked the processed foods habit - especially since my local farmer's market closed for the winter. Each time I consume a product in a box that is labeled gluten-free, or even reach for some of my dairy-free replacements, I am consuming foods that have a list of ingredients much longer than a mere two ingredients!

I am forever a work in progress and so my consumption plan shall be as well. Back to the drawing board, as they say - it is time for me to clean house!

Your Very Own Cleaning Resources
  •  Check out the Clean Eating magazine website. Not  only do they have a recipe section, but there is also a community to join, meal planners and shopping lists as well as a great How-To section for cooking tips!
  • Also, check out The Gracious Pantry, a blog with "clean eating recipes for everyday living." Tiffany has some amazing recipes on this site as well as her own run-down of what clean eating is, how to get started and loads of other helpful content whether you are just getting started or looking for some new ideas.

Are you a "clean eater"?
What dust bunnies do you have hiding in your diet?

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