Clean eating is a way of eating healthy. EAT REAL FOOD. Reduce or eliminate processed or refined foods. EAT AT HOME. The easiest way to ensure you are eating clean is to prepare your food yourself. Pack lunches + snacks for the week at home (see “meal prep”). When you do have a chance to enjoy a meal out, look for dishes where the ingredients are ingredients. Our test….does it come from the earth? If not, it is processed. We are not clean eaters all of the time – it’s just not reasonable for most people. When we do eat processed foods, we look for those brands which are minimally processed (see “brands we love”).
We’ve all heard the rule that it takes 3 weeks to break a habit, 6 weeks to form a new habit + 3 months for the new habit to become part of your permanent lifestyle. Eating clean has many health benefits and is easier than you may think. It’s also easier to track calories in clean foods – less ingredients.
For many, clean eating is difficult because of their love for bread. Humans have loved bread since the beginning of time (to give you an idea, around 10,000 years ago in Egypt it is believed the first grinding stone was invented and the first grain was crushed; source: encyclopedia.com). Opt for breads that are freshly prepared at the bakery. You can ask the bakery counter to pre-slice fresh loaves and save in the freezer in a air-tight freezer bag (lightly toast in a toaster to defrost). Many restaurants now bake their own bread or get bread delivered fresh from a bakery – ask. Look for fresh bread baked with only a few ingredients.
Although our recipes are mostly clean, there are times when we use a product as a time saver. These products that we choose are carefully selected and have ingredients on the package that we recognize + many are certified organic by the FDA. Whenever possible, we use certified organic ingredients to eliminate the amount of additives and preservatives we consume. Again, we are not striving for perfection but balance.
Our suggestion is to quit highly processed food “cold turkey”. Go into your pantry and fridge and throw away or donate non-perishable unopened goods. Start with a blank canvas and begin adding items to your stock that have ingredients you recognize (see “pantry items”). We understand this isn’t reasonable on everything, especially if you have kids – there are certain snacks that our kids would highly protest us discarding. The goal is to eliminate the processed foods YOU would want to snack on and reduce the amount your kids are able to, teaching them about eating clean and why it is important.
Highly processed foods are the ones we tend to binge on – no one hides in a closet eating raw cauliflower. Remove your temptations and set yourself up for success.