I have zero doubt in my mind that literally anyone who might stumble upon this article will have heard the phrases “clean eating” or “eat clean” at some point.
I also have zero doubt that the majority of you have no clue what it means to “eat clean” and why it is important to your health to do so.
And don’t worry, I’m not judging you and nobody should!
Part of being a good personal trainer and nutrition coach is understanding why people have a hard time finding success in their fitness goals-one of the big reasons, in my opinion, is that the fitness industry is full of generic and non-descript information, words and phrases. “Eating Clean” is one of those phrases…
So let me help you out with a digestible definition of “Clean Eating”, and then some further details about which lifestyle habits you may change to improve your quality of life with clean eating.
Definition: To “Eat Clean” is to eat foods that are deemed “nutritionally clean” in an attempt to improve the health by cleaning the body, and keeping it clean.
So, the “clean” in “Clean Eating” is relative both to the quality of the food itself and the effect it has on your body, it’s health and fitness.
Now let’s go a little more into what it means when a food is “nutritionally clean” because this can truly be taken to varying intensities, depending on your nutritional needs and ability to maintain a super clean diet without disrupting your lifestyle.
Here’s a list of guidelines a Clean Eating Diet would have, with the first 5 being mandatory qualities of clean eating and everything thereafter being “progressions”:
- Your diet has little to no inclusions of foods that are publicly considered to be toxic such as alcohol, refined sugars, disease-causing fats, food dyes, preservatives, flavor enhancers, etc.
- Your diet is sufficient in water intake, both through filtered, unflavored water and through ample amounts of fresh produce.
- Your diet is moderate/ low in intake of animal product, and it is always lean.
- Your diet is high in fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
- Your carbohydrate intake is largely comprised of whole grains and legumes which offer additional nutrients such as fiber and B Vitamins.
- You optimize your hydration by drinking water of a set PH at specific times of the day.
- Any animal product in your diet is hormone and filler free. This means no saline, growth hormone, antibiotics, etc.
- You regularly implement probiotic foods into your day to encourage gut health (check out our Eating for Gut Health Blog to get more information on optimizing gut microbiome balance).
- You are eating more raw fruits and vegetables than cooked to maximize the fiber and nutrient consumption.
- Your carbs only come from organic and non-genetically modified (GMO) whole grains and legumes.
- All of your produce (fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.) is organic, non-GMO and pesticide free.
- You eat an entirely plant-based diet, free of animal product and high in fresh fruits and vegetables.
- You implement organized fasting and digestive cleanses on a regular basis. *We recommend to get professional help when starting fasting or dietary cleanses to make sure you are nutritionally sound. Check out our complimentary 7 Day Dietary Cleanse Program as an example of what a healthy cleanse can look like.
Again, after the first 5, everything are progressions or ways to eat even cleaner to enhance the detoxifying qualities in your nutrition habits.
The gist of Clean Eating is to eat clean, non-toxic foods that help your body cleanse and recover from build-up of past toxins.
The more you use your diet to help detox the body (and make sure you’re not bringing in new toxins in your food) the healthier your body and even your lifestyle will feel.
Regular clean eating will help you with managing moods, inflammation, digestive issues and even chronic diseases!
The extent to which you take that is entirely up to you, your goals and the needs of your body. It doesn’t have to be anything wild or drastic-it
can simply start with the removal of toxic foods from your diet, or implementing
a temporary cleanse (Check out our Spring Cleaning: All About Fasting and Cleanses Blog for more information on this).
So, let’s get started! What can you do to start
eating clean today??
This piece was written by Elexis Smolak CPT, CNC, founder of Adapted Fitness and Master Trainer. Learn more or schedule a virtual coffee at AdaptedToYou.com