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What Is Clean Eating?

clean eating
However you choose to eat — vegetarian, flexitarian, pescaterian — if you want to stick to a truly healthy diet, you gotta keep it clean!
Eating clean isn’t as tough as one might think, and the payoff is big, big, big! For starters, clean eating helps you have more energy, better health and improved digestion. Eating the way nature intended will not only help you look good and feel good, but it will also help you to maintain your ideal weight. And you don’t have to give up any food groups or make everything from scratch.
But what does “clean eating” mean in the real world?
Clean eating is just a trendy catchphrase for eating foods as close to their natural state as possible. You might have to read a few labels, choose a different brand or sacrifice a minor convenience, but once you get the gist, it’s easy.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an example.
Say you’ve got a craving for spaghetti. The cleanest option for the pasta would be zoodles, but whole grain pasta is perfectly acceptable since it is minimally processed. (For something to be called whole grain it must contain all of the nutrition found in the entire kernel; even if that kernel has been crushed, cracked, rolled or cooked, the nutrients are still intact.)
Homemade tomato sauce made with fresh herbs and locally grown ingredients is ideal. But, if that option makes you chuckle, you can use canned organic tomatoes (which actually contain more lycopene then fresh) and adjust the salt content of your recipe; if both of those scenarios leave you rolling on the floor in a fit of laughter, it’s fine to pick up a jar of ready-made sauce as long as you read the label and look for an option without any unnecessary sugar, artificial flavorings and chemical additives.
If you are adding meat or fish to your sauce choose hormone-free, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken or a low-mercury fish.
And don’t forget the cheese! Buy the good stuff that is made from milk, sea salt and enzymes. Pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents and artificial color; if the product requires no refrigeration, it isn’t cheese at all.
There’s clean, and then there’s squeaky clean. Shop organic for produce on the Dirty Dozen list, but save your dollars on the rest. Do your best to buy foods that look like they did on the farm and don’t settle for foods that are flavored like a food you could buy in its original form; you want (and deserve) the best!
How about it, are you ready to clean up your eats? Check this out for a list of ready-made, clean food choices! —Karen

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!

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