Negaunee, Michigan – October 12, 2018 – I don’t think I’ve ever faced a more difficult struggle than trying to eat “clean.” It. Is. Agonizing. Not because I don’t like it; I actually enjoy eating clean and feel fantastic when I do. It’s just so hard! This new diet is a part of my “40 Days to Personal Revolution” workshop I’m taking part in – read about that HERE and HERE.
Eating “clean” means to switch up your diet by eating mostly whole foods in their most natural state and avoiding processed foods as much as possible. “Whole foods” are defined as plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined before being consumed. Examples: whole grains, fruits, vegetables. Regarding meat, there’s controversy, as some say yes it is a “whole food” and some say no. I’m saying yes.
Mayo Clinic defines clean eating as “just a way of eating and living that lends itself to improving one’s health and well-being.”
These are the “Key Principles” Mayo Clinic defines as a part of adopting a “Clean Lifestyle.”
- Eat more real foods. Eat more whole foods (as defined above) and fewer processed or refined foods. Convenience food is OK, as long as what’s in the can or package is the real thing with few other ingredients.
- Eat for nourishment. Eat regular, balanced meals and healthy snacks that are nourishing and not too rushed. Eat at home more often and prepare food in healthy ways. Pack food to eat away from home when on the road, at work or at activities. When you do eat out, choose wisely.
- Eat more plant-based foods. Eat more plant-based proteins like beans, lentils and peas, and high-protein whole grains, like quinoa, barley and buckwheat.
- Clean up your act. Adopt a cleaner lifestyle by getting plenty of physical activity during the day, getting enough sleep at night and managing stress in healthy ways. Connect with people you enjoy — talk, laugh, share a meal, go for a walk, or play a game.
I like Mayo Clinic’s description, as it’s simple and easy to follow as far as “rules” for clean eating go. It’s still difficult, because SO many foods we eat are processed! It’s sickening, actually. I went grocery shopping the other day, and filled up my cart with things I normally buy. Before I checked out, I went through everything I had in my cart to see what is processed and what isn’t. There’s the obvious foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, that are for sure clean. But there were definite surprises in my cart that I had no idea were so heavily processed, like cheddar cheese, bagged spinach, a can of peanuts, and yogurt!
I was recently given some advice from one of my fellow yogis: when you shop, stick to the outer perimeter of the store to avoid the heavily processed items. You’ll still encounter some processed foods even while following this rule, but you can at least leave the “really bad” ones behind!
Other advice: the “Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen.” This is two lists that are used as guides for what you should buy organic, and what you don’t have to if you can’t afford all organic produce. Everyone knows organic is better for you, but not everyone can afford all organic, as it tends to be much more expensive. These lists help combat that so you can ingest the least amount of chemicals as possible. View the lists HERE.
What really makes it hard to stick to a clean diet, though, is family. Yeah. They are the biggest challenge for me, because we tend to eat together. We do tend to make a couple of separate meals a few times a week, but this doesn’t mean I can make a clean meal for my family.
My husband and 7-year-old son are SO picky, it’s unbelievable. I have tried over and over again to get them to eat better, to no avail. I have tried making smoothies in the morning, but I’m up at 4AM, so I can’t exactly run the blender in the morning! I plan on trying some make-ahead smoothie recipes I found online to see if I can do it that way, though. We’ll see!
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