Updated: Mar 11, 2019
CLEAN EATING is a highly beneficial nutritional mindset that can change your life, your mood, and the way you view the foods you eat.
CLEAN EATING is a conscious effort to eliminate/avoid foods that are not conducive to optimising your health. It is an attitude towards nutrition, developed over time, through conscious food choice and nutritional awareness.
CLEAN EATING will eradicate 'fake' foods from your diet; processed foods, refined foods, manufactured crap, and anything artificial.
CLEAN eating is the assumed standard; the lower threshold of nutritional awareness if you like, and should be applied 24/7, 365 days a year.
WHAT IS CLEAN EATING?
CLEAN eating is not a diet, it's a lifestyle choice.
It's a conscious shift in nutritional awareness and knowledge that will change the way you eat, how you feel, what you buy, and ultimately determine how effective your training will be.
CLEAN eating involves taking a step away from any unnatural or processed foodstuffs currently in your life, and working towards consuming the freshest, most natural and unrefined foodstuffs you can!
Modern day eating has become heavily saturated with the folly's of the food industry; and more and more foods contain additives, preservatives, or go through a process of 'refining' before reaching the shelf.
Naturally food companies don't really give a shit what you eat, they just want you to buy it again and again. Their mantra is; as long as it makes money (cheap to manufacture, generates a profit, tastes OK); preserves (can be kept for aeon's in a little metal tin); and most importantly, saves you the effort of preparing your food (you know, like we have been for hundreds of thousands of years...) then it's ok...
Clean eating brings about a conscious awareness of that process, and factors it in when choosing any foodstuffs.
Let's clear a few things up; eating CLEAN does not mean washing your food of pesticide's and impurities...
And it's definitely not an exact science. There is no authoritarian guide, no WHSmith endorsed cookbook, and no awarding body to say whether a foodstuff is or isn't clean. Just you and your rational thinking brain, armed with some simple nutritional knowledge and an eye for unwanted additives.
And I stress it's not an exact science!
Very rarely is it as simple as a foodstuff being 'Clean or not'. Often its a relatively whole food with one or two cheeky additives thrown in to get it on the shelves.
This is where things become highly subjective....
For example; If your current daily nutrition consists of; Greggs, Tescos crusty sandwich aisle lunch, and some sugary factory made bollocks masquerading as breakfast, then literally ANYTHING could be considered as a step towards CLEAN eating. Hell you could start ingesting Toilet Duck and I'd argue you'd still be getting more nutrients.
But if you're already part way down our nutritional journey then 'cleaning up' might be a little harder to do.
For some it's the removal of obvious junk, for others it's a little more subtle.
But no matter who you are or what you are eating, WE CAN ALL STRIVE TO EAT CLEAN AND SOMEHOW IMPROVE OUR CURRENT NUTRITION BY REDUCING OUR INTAKE OF REFINED, MANUFACTURED/PROCESSED FOODSTUFFS. And that applies to all of us. Even me.
4 STEPS I CAN TAKE TO START EATING CLEAN
STEP 1(a); REMOVE DIRTY FOODS.
Dirty foods are the polar opposite of our clean eating intention; instead of reducing chemical additives they literally fill your belly with them!
These items are giving you nothing, and taking everything. GET IT OUT OF YOUR LIFE!
Dirty foods are empty calories with little to no nutritional benefit (except from feeling full up). They not only prevent you from getting healthier and achieving your goals, they literally make things worse and might make you feel like shit in the process....
Alcohol (legally acceptable poison)
Fizzy Drinks (legally acceptable poison for kids)
Fast Food (Takeaway's, McD's, Pub Food)
Convenience Food (Micro Meals or anything easy to cook)
Junk Food (Chocolate, Crisps, Biscuits, I don't need to go on...)
Step 1(b); REMOVE THE SLIGHTLY LESS DIRTY FOODS
If you're already free from the obvious sins such as takeaways and junk food, then take a closer look to see if there are any subtler offenders in your current diet.
While not strictly awful for you, these products often cause an unhealthy reaction in the gut and can contain several surprise additives. Processed Meats are usually the remnants of animal flesh (eyelids and arseholes). Energy Bars frequently contain additives, preservatives, and weird new sugars. Dairy products can (but not always) be effected by how well the cow was looked after in the first place (and most people are somewhat intolerant to Lactose). And finally Gluten seems to have an irritable effect on our gut health, mood, and energy. Not always, but it's becoming more frequent as the scientific research grows.
STEP 2; FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURING HISTORY OF YOUR FOOD
When eating your food, have you ever stopped to wander 'What the f**k did they do to make this?'
Let's take some Chicken. Two bits of Chicken to be precise.
Chicken 1 is from the local butchers. It's a big breast shaped Chicken breast, pretty much in it's original state.
Chicken 2 comes from our favourite Bird Flu distributing and scandal courting food manufacturers, Bernard Matthews. Chicken 2 is a small flat disc of reformed chicken that looks, feels, and smells like something your nan's been sat on for a while.
Chicken 1 was subject to the usual Chicken to table processes; Kill it, Pluck it, Cut it, Sell it.
Chicken 2 was subject to ALL the above, plus a seemingly never-ending set of additional processes to make it cheaper, longer lasting, easier to put between slices of bread, and most importantly-MORE CONVENIENT TO SELL!
So to answer our earlier question, 'What the f**k did they do to make this?!'
Answer: Chicken 2 has been mutilated to a fine pulp until it bears no resemblance to it's original form. Once unrecognisable, it's then industrially mashed up, loaded with chemicals and preservatives, boosted with sugar's and salts (to cover the foul taste of said chemicals), reformed into yet another indefinable substance, and then kindly shaped into a thin oval disc by some angry factory worker called Shaun who probably spat in it before packaging it away neatly in shiny plastic.
And THAT is why we consider the manufacturing process(es) behind what we eat.
STEP 3; START LOOKING AT LABELS
Thankfully in 2017 food companies are legally obliged to detail pretty much everything that goes into our food (this wasn't always the case).
Written on the back (in order of abundance) is a list of ingredients telling you exactly what goes in. GET TO GRIPS WITH IT, and arm yourself with the weapons you need to avoid dirty, and eat CLEAN!
If the list is long and dominates the space on the packet then it's probably full of shit. Whole foods don't contain many ingredient's. Less ingredients usually means a cleaner product.
If it contains a word you don't recognise then it's probably full of shit (unless you didn't pay attention in school and basic words like 'product' elude you...). Anything with an 'ose' at the end is a sugar (glucose, maltrose, dextrose), anything with an 'ine' is a stimulant (caffeine, nicotine, taurine), and anything that looks like two words ruthlessly smashed together (oligo-fructose, carboxymethycellulose, potassium-benzoate) is some kind of new-age hybrid ingredient that i'd stay the hell away from.
If it doesn't have a label, then it's probably NOT shit (or simply not food.....you could be holding a newspaper...) You rarely see a label on fresh Broccoli that say's 'ingredients: Broccoli'. That's because it's a clean, unrefined, unprocessed foodstuff and therefore you should eat it immediately.
Step 4; SEE WHAT ELSE YOU CAN CLEAN UP.
There's always a way to eat 'Cleaner' (unless you're Gwyneth Paltrow). Even a good diet can be cleaned up somehow!
Subtler changes include switching from regular apples to Organic, using fresh ingredients instead of tinned, or even switching to growing your own veg so you can really eliminate the manufacturing process!
A FINAL THOUGHT ON COST
Finances can be barrier to CLEAN eating, but as discussed there's always a way to eat cleaner no matter what your situation.
Ultimately, it's a question of priorities, and I place my health as priority number one.
Yes, CLEAN, fresh ingredients usually cost more money, but so does private healthcare when your body is riddled with disease from eating shit all your life, so you weigh it up.
Eating CLEAN is a lifestyle choice not a diet
It is not an exact science or an exhaustive list
There are numerous ways for ANYONE to clean up their diet
CLEAN eating is the standard. Nutritional par. All further diets can and will work off the back of this approach.
CLEAN eating is the first step in building a diet that works for you, and the minimum standard required to ensure success when changing your body.
END OF. Now go and Eat CLEAN!!