Benefits Of The Clean Eating Lifestyle
- The Basics of Clean Eating
- How Clean Eating Cooking is Different
- Tips for Transitioning to a Clean Eating Diet
- How to Eat Out With Clean Eating
- Clean Eating as a Vegetarian
The Basics of Clean Eating
Before looking at meal ideas and other tips for a clean eating lifestyle, you should hone in on what exactly this type of diet is going to do for you.
The following information goes over clean eating, what is allowed and not allowed, and basically how it works.
The Simple Rules of Clean Eating
A good place to start with clean eating is to learn about the simple and basic rules involved with this lifestyle.
In general, you are focusing more on healthy, whole, and fresh foods. Instead of counting calories or cutting your carbs, you are simply trying to cook more, using fresh ingredients, and avoiding highly processed foods.
This means grating your own cheese, no longer using canned fruits and veggies, and only having eggs or dairy that is from free-range or grass-fed animals.
With a clean eating lifestyle, you should be cooking most meals on your own and reducing your saturated fats and trans fats.
You also want to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake as much as possible.
Go For Fresh Produce
With clean eating, produce is going to be a big part of your diet. You can also have some carbohydrates and plenty of protein, but fruits and veggies are a good portion of your meals, particularly with lunch and dinner.
You want to have fresh produce as much as possible.
This means even trying to reduce how often you turn to frozen veggies, and get them in the produce section and slice them up yourself.
To save money and have a larger selection, try finding local farmer’s markets.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods is a major no-no on the clean eating diet.
You want to use as many natural and fresh ingredients as you can.
If it comes in a package, consider whether there is a more natural version of that ingredient.
Shredded cheese comes in a block of cheese you grate yourself, for example. Plus, you should only have dairy when it is from a grass-fed cow.
Chopped onions come in full onions you can buy and chop yourself. These are good examples to start with.
Start Cooking More
As you can see, cooking is a major component to eating clean. It would be very difficult to do if you were not cooking on a regular basis.
You don’t need to be a natural chef, but you should be able to follow a simple recipe.
If you don’t have a lot of time to prep and cook, invest in some appliances that help the process go faster, such as a food processor for chopping, and a slow cooker to cook your meals during the day while you are at work or school.
How Clean Eating Cooking is Different
When it comes to the clean eating lifestyle, you are trying to reduce processed foods, cook more often, and have as many fresh ingredients as you possibly can.
This means cooking is a little different, not just in the fact that more cooking is from scratch, but that you are also changing the ingredients you are using.
Keep some of these cooking guidelines in mind.
Cooking Requires More Planning
The first thing you need to remember is that because you are cooking more, specifically from scratch, you need to plan a little bit better.
While not all meals are going to take a lot of time to cook, you may be surprised by the extra groceries, ingredients needed for meals, and the prep work added on.
For example, instead of buying a bag of shredded cheese, you want to buy blocks of cheese and shred it yourself.
This isn’t difficult to do, but it does require a little extra time. Make sure you are really planning ahead of time.
You Cook Everything From Scratch
As mentioned already, most of your meals will be cooked from scratch.
Even though some convenience foods aren’t too bad as far as fat and calories, they are processed and loaded with salt, which is not approved in the clean eating lifestyle.
It is a better idea that you try to make everything from scratch.
There are some exceptions, like buying pre-sliced veggies from the produce section, but this sometimes adds to your grocery bill.
It is better to do absolutely everything yourself so that you know it is fresh and you are saving money.
Stop buying pancake mix, and make them from scratch, for example.
Making Meals Ahead of Time Becomes Crucial
In addition to planning more for your clean eating lifestyle, you might also want to begin making some of your meals ahead of time.
When you live a busy lifestyle, this really does help to avoid picking up fast food on the way home, skipping meals, or grabbing unhealthy snacks from the vending machine.
Try to give yourself one day a week when you have time to grocery shop and meal plan, possible preparing some meals ahead of time for the refrigerator or freezer.
Buying in Bulk Helps to Save Money
If you need to save a little money on your grocery bill when switching to clean eating, try to buy in bulk when you can.
There is more upfront to spend, but you save money in the long run.
Things like meat, rice and grains, beans, and some spices or seasonings can be purchased in larger quantities.
Tips for Transitioning to a Clean Eating Diet
If you are brand new to the clean eating diet, the following tips will help.
They help you properly plan for a clean eating lifestyle and figure out how to properly transition into the lifestyle full time.
Track Your Current Diet
Before you begin to transition to a clean eating diet, it can be really helpful to take stock of what you currently eat.
This helps because you know what foods you currently eat that are allowed on the clean eating diet, but also in what areas you struggle with the most.
If you find that eating cheese is in about every meal, that should be the last to go.
You might be better off with a more gradual transition, switching just one meal or snack a day at a time until eventually you eat all meals cleanly and reduce your cheese unless it comes from grass-fed cows.
If you already eat a good amount of foods allows in the clean eating lifestyle, you can probably transition to it a bit faster.
Begin Gathering Recipes
Once you know what you can and can’t eat on a clean eating diet, you should start compiling recipes.
Check online sites like Pinterest for ideas, buy cookbooks to keep at home, or get digital copies for your tablet and smartphone.
You can also just check recipe sites and pay close attention to their titles and tags, as that will let you know if it is approved by a clean eating diet or not.
Another good place for finding clean eating recipes is by checking out blogs specifically dedicated to clean eating.
Also keep in mind that while there are some differences, keto and Paleo diets are pretty close, so check out blogs for those diets as well.
Start Replacing White Refined Carbs
This is a good way to begin making the transition to a clean eating lifestyle, since it is only a small change but makes a drastic difference.
With clean eating, you can have some complex carbs, but you want to try and reduce your refined carbs as much as possible.
To do this, begin by replacing all white bread, white rice, and white flour with whole wheat versions.
For bread, go with a sprouted or whole grain bread, choose brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice, and to reduce white flour, choose whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta.
How to Eat Out With Clean Eating
The good thing about clean eating is that it isn’t difficult to eat out with this particular diet.
It is actually very simple to do, no matter what restaurant you go to, as long as you know keep to the basic clean eating rules.
Here are some tips to follow when you want to eat out and stick to your clean eating lifestyle.
Make Your Choices Simple
When you are eating out, don’t make it complicated and choose one of the newest skillet meals or something that requires analyzing every single piece of the meal puzzle.
Instead, just go simple, especially when you are new to the clean eating diet.
This might mean simply ordering from the healthy part of the menu, like getting grilled chicken with steamed vegetables, the pan-seared salmon with brown rice, or just a salad.
These are simple, easy meals you know most likely include ingredients you can have while on the clean eating diet.
Look For Steak or Seafood Restaurants
As far as the type of restaurant goes, steak and seafood should be at the top of your list.
While it is true you can find clean eating-approved meals just about anywhere, it is simpler when you don’t need to do a lot of substitutions or change half of what the meal is supposed to be.
Going to a steak and/or seafood restaurant is easy to order.
Steak restaurants already have steak as the main component for most of their dishes, and it is probably high-quality steak as opposed to ordering steak from a café or diner.
With seafood restaurants, go for anything grilled or that is not breaded and fried, and you should be okay.
Be Smart About Fast Food
There are going to be some times when you need to choose food from a fast food restaurant.
This is definitely not ideal, but it also doesn’t have to make or break the diet.
Try to get a side salad if you can, but think about the type of dressing you choose, or use no dressing at all.
With other menu items, do away with the bun or bread, and try to get a grilled chicken sandwich ‘protein style’.
Most fast food restaurants will give you the grilled chicken sandwich with all the veggies, but no bun. Many of them wrap it in a big lettuce leaf.
When in Doubt, Choose a Salad
There are going to be times when you just can’t make a decision, based on the type of restaurant it is.
In this case, just try to order a salad with steak, seafood, or grilled chicken.
Don’t use the dressing and get cheese on the side so you can skip it, then ask for oil and vinegar instead of dressing.
Clean Eating as a Vegetarian
If you are a vegetarian, you might be looking for a way to eat healthier, but also avoid meat and possibly dairy products as well.
Luckily, a clean eating diet is one of the easiest to follow and still maintain a meatless lifestyle.
Here are some tips for eating clean as a vegetarian.
Add Plenty of Healthy Fats
As you know from your current vegetarian lifestyle, you need to make sure you get protein and fat from food sources not related to meat and seafood.
Luckily, there are still lots of healthy fats that provide good nutrients without anything that isn’t allowed on the clean eating diet.
Keep eating plenty of healthy fats like nuts and seeds, flaxseed, avocadoes, olive oil, and canola oil. These oils are better to use instead of butter.
Even if you allow yourself dairy on your vegetarian diet, you should avoid dairy on a clean eating diet unless it is from grass-fed cows.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Veggies
Naturally, the majority of what you are going to eat on a clean eating diet is fruits and veggies.
Try to really pile them on, not skimping at all. You don’t need to worry as much about your macros with clean eating, as long as you know to recognize your body’s hunger signals and stop eating when you are full.
Most of your meals should consist of lots of fresh produce, preferably not frozen and never canned.
Start picking up produce at health food stored or farmer’s markets for more variety and to save money.
Go For the Complex Carbs
Carbohydrates are okay to have with a clean eating vegetarian diet, but you want to avoid your refined carbs.
These tend to be overly processed and include foods like white pasta, white rice, and white bread.
If you want to have rice, grains, or pasta, at least go for the complex carb version, including whole grain or sprouted versions.
There is also brown rice pasta, which is even better for you than traditional whole wheat pasta.
These also happen to be good sources of fiber and some protein as well, which is always important to have with a vegetarian diet.
Add in plenty of quinoa and oats as well.
Avoid Processed ‘Veggie’ Foods
The clean eating diet is about eating as many clean, fresh, and whole foods as you can.
An easy way to know what to eat or not eat is look at how it is packaged. If someone is in a package, it probably is processed in some way.
So if you were to eat hummus, making it yourself is far less processed than buying a tub of it at your local health food store.
However, if the tub is sold behind the deli counter, they might make it right in the store and package it themselves, which doesn’t require processing.