What Clean Eating Means: Here Are Some Ideas to Get You Started

What Clean Eating Means

So, what does it mean when someone says they are “clean eating?” Honestly, it’s different for everyone. What’s normal for one, may not be for another. Before I continue, you should know that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on or purchase one of the product links I’ll receive some compensation that will support my addiction to all things coffee.    What’s healthy for one may be a disaster for another.  These are some diets or styles of eating that are often considered clean eating styles.

Kiwis, Lemons, and Oranges What clean eating means. EmbracingAging.us

Clean eating can include fresh fruit for quick energy  Feel free to pin this image.

Some fruits and vegetables aren’t compatible with some medications.

The following is a list of clean eating styles

Then there are the foods you may NOT have due to religious views, allergies, or diet restrictions

  •  sweeteners
  •  sugar
  •  pork
  •  red meat
  •  processed foods
  •  shellfish

I’m sure you get the idea. There may be a combination of diet restrictions that constitutes clean eating for different people for different reasons.  Someone with type two diabetes is going to eat very differently than someone who is not diabetic.

Food and drug interactions

Let’s not forget how medications can also play a very prominent role in clean eating.  Someone on blood thinners is not going to be eating food that promotes clotting (foods high in vitamin k)
Grapefruit is very problematic for all different kinds of medications, always check with your pharmacist or doctor to see if there are any foods that would be best avoided when beginning a new medication.

About the time I turned 47, I learned that I have a sensitivity to dairy and gluten.   Could I say I was very strict about avoiding these foods?   Perfect, I’m not.  PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a condition that improves when avoiding dairy and simple carbs. (I wish I could say there was a cure but there isn’t one)  This is just a sample of how eating clean for me is probably different for you.

Fitness styles affect the type of foods you may need

Furthermore, there is so much to consider for different body types and styles of fitness that the science that goes into figuring out what each individual needs on their journey is enough to make one’s head spin.

Different types of athletes will eat different ways according to their protein, calorie and fat demands.  A bodybuilder isn’t going to eat the same way like a lean cyclist. A long-distance runner may not eat the same way as a female who goes to the gym 4-5 days a week trying to obtain an hourglass figure.

Wheat field, trees, and blue sky. EmbracingAging.us

Pay attention to how you feel after eating gluten. Headaches, joint pain, and gastric upset can be caused by gluten consumption.

Next time, if you hear the phrase “clean eating”, just know that you have to determine what’s going to work best for your body’s chemistry. You have to accommodate your body’s demands. Taking into consideration:

  1. Style of fitness
  2. Desired outcome
  3. Food allergies and sensitivities
  4. Medical conditions
  5. Medications
Wooden bowl and spoon with Kidney beans. EmbracingAging.us

Beans are a superfood and can add years to your life.

You Have to Practice Clean Eating According to Your Bodies Specific Needs.

So if I handed you a child-size shoe, and I said, “Here, this is a lovely shoe. It’s brand new in this lovely shade of blue. Wear this shoe and you’ll love it.” If you are a 6’2″ tall man with a size 11 foot, that lovely child-size shoe in blue, no matter how perfect it is, will not work for you.  Everyone has to define for themselves what clean eating means for them.

Web MD has this to say about clean eating The basic idea of clean eating is to choose foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. So instead of boxed, bagged, or packaged foods, choose fresh, whole ones. Think whole turkey instead of frozen turkey meatballs or raw grapes instead of gummy snacks made with fruit juice. Bonus: When you avoid highly processed foods, like chips, cookies, and ready-to-eat meals, you skip their loads of calories, sugar, salt, and saturated fat.

Beverages

When it comes to drinks, I agree with what Web MD has to say:  Instead of sugar-heavy soft drinks and juices, sip low-calorie beverages, such as water and herbal tea. Water can curb your hunger and help you feel full, but it can also fend off fatigue and give you more energy. Miss flavored drinks? Try infusing your water with a slice of citrus or sprig of mint.

Artificial Ingredients

Artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, and other manmade ingredients don’t have a place in a clean-eating diet. At the grocery store, read food labels and avoid items with the fake stuff.

Going Organic?

Some believe eating organic food is the best approach to clean eating.  This excerpt from Web MD says:  Organic farmers use natural pesticides and avoid man-made ones, so some people say organic produce is the best way to eat clean. It’s up to you to decide how important it is to your diet. You can also shop at your local farmer’s market to find out what kinds of pesticides the vendors use. Another tip: Pesticides usually wind up on the outsides of fruits and veggies, so you can choose non-organic foods with skins you don’t eat, like avocados, corn, and onions.

Basket of fresh vegetables. EmbracingAging.us

Eating food that’s fresh, vibrant and alive can make you feel the same way.

Medical News Today states:

Some people on a clean diet may refuse to eat foods that have been treated with hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides, while another person may choose not to eat foods packaged in boxes or jars.

Magazines and books on clean eating often promise that a clean diet will help a person enjoy many health benefits. These can include heightened energy, glowing skin, and weight loss.

What Clean Eating Means Here are Ideas to Get You Started - EmbracingAging.com

What Clean Eating Means.  Feel free to pin this image.

However, according to an article in the British Medical Journal, many of the claims regarding clean eating are a “loose interpretation of facts.” While clean eating can help a person feel physically better, so can less-restrictive dietary approaches.

Not all additives are bad

Just because foods have additives does not mean they are unhealthful.

Some people on a clean eating diet may refuse to eat any foods that contain additives because they believe the food is not in its purest, natural state. However, there are some beneficial food additives.

Examples include vitamin D that can be added to milk to enhance bones or iron to orange juice. While these foods may not be pure in the literal sense, they can help a person achieve their daily nutritional needs.

However, some additives are not beneficial and could be described as dirty. An example is trans fats, which are added to foods to extend their shelf life. Trans fats are thought to increase a person’s cholesterol levels significantly, which can result in problems with heart health.

This is an example where making cleaner choices and avoiding trans fats can be beneficial.

If you would like to read more about the myths and facts of clean eating, visit Medical News Today.

What does clean eating mean to you?  I would love to know your thoughts on this fascinating subject.  Feel free to share this article if I was able to give you food for thought. (pun intended)

I’m Karen with Embracing Aging,

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