I could write volumes on the seemingly simple concept of clean eating. Clients are constantly asking me about diet; what they should eat and how much and when and how and why. The not-so-secret “secret” about clean eating is this: it is simple, but it is not easy.
What I mean by that is that clean eating – the concept of eliminating processed foods in favor of home-prepared whole foods – is not complicated. If it comes from the ground (i.e. all fruits and vegetables), eat it. If it is a lean protein (fish, egg whites, poultry, some cuts of beef and pork), eat it. If it is an unprocessed whole grain (steel cut oats, teff, quinoa, bulgur, kemut, etc.), eat it. If it is a nut or legume in its natural (read: unsalted/unsweetened/unspiced) form, eat it. If it is a naturally occurring oil (olive, grapeseed, coconut, hempseed, walnut, etc.), use it.
On the flip side, if it has a label or a box, avoid it (unless it falls into the above categories). If it contains white sugar or white flour, eliminate it. If it has unrecognizable ingredients or a laundry list of chemicals, it’s not food. Got it?
The reason I bring this up is because you don’t really need a “diet” if you eat real food. Yes, you’ll have to cook it. No, you can’t load up on the (oversalted, overprocessed) stuff at the Whole Foods hot bar and convince yourself you’re eating clean. Yes, it can take some forethought and (gasp!) meal prep over the weekend. But in the end, it’s the simplest way to actually shift the concept of a diet from something you read in some fad-trend book to something you simply…live.
This weekend, try and go through your fridge and cabinets and identify what is actually food and what is chemical junk masquerading as food (and I’m sorry, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, but a lot of your products – think cereals, canned soups, frozen meals, etc. – fall into the latter category!). Make some hard decisions and donate what you can. Fill your home with fresh food (for me it’s better than fresh flowers) and watch your energy levels go up and your weight go down.
What’s your favorite clean eating recipe? Where do you usually grocery shop?