With so much talk about clean eating and no real definition, it's hard to know what clean eating is. So here we have put together a clean eating for beginners guide from our viewpoint. To help you get started on a new way of eating.
First off let's make sure you know this is not a diet, it's a way of life, a lifestyle. If you want long term weight loss that's sustainable where you can have treats every now and then. The coffee from Starbucks or chocolate here and there, then this is the diet for you.
One of my Nutrition lectures once told us that if you ate only wholesome natural foods it would be very difficult to overeat. Think about some of the most calorific foods you could get. Pizza, McDonalds, pasties you know, all the foods we know are bad for us but we love. They are all highly processed foods packed full of extra fats or sugars made with refined ingredients. None of which we should really eat when trying to lose weight or stay lean.
This is our idea of clean eating. It's very simple in principle and its this:
Only eat foods that are in their natural wholesome form and not man-made.
Let's break this down and set some ground rules to help you on your way.
What does natural wholesome actually mean?
Natural and wholesome just means as they were made without being modified by man. Plant examples include sweet potatoes, broccoli, whole grains like quinoa and rice and all your fruits in their whole form.
You want to try to avoid the tricky products like cheese, pasta and breads which are not natural whole foods. When selecting meat and fish head for whole cuts and not formed meats or chicken nuggets for example as they've all been through a forming process by "man".
Think, if you can pick it from the ground or tree wash it and eat it, it's good, if you can catch it kill it and eat it then it's also good.
How to eat clean
Eat lots of vegetables
Make them your new best friend, like it or not you need to start eating your vegetables they are a vital component of clean eating. Along with fruit they are packed full of important vitamins and minerals vital for health. If you chose to limit your carbohydrates you'll find you'll need to eat more vegetables to feel fuller. Aim to include a large variety and colours for maximum nutritional gains!
Let's talk fruit
As this is a clean eating guide fruits are okay, there are some people out there that aren't sure about fruits because of their high sugar content but we eat plenty of fruits including bananas and we never gain unwanted fat. If you are looking to lose weight fast it may be a smart choice to avoid the fruits higher in sugar such as bananas and apples. Many modern day fruits have been modified over the years to become sweeter and therefore contain more sugar. Generally speaking berries contain less sugar and less calories as a result but we don't count calories. We just eat clean to get lean :p
Choose high quality protein
If you eat meat choose lean cuts of meat, fish and poultry and avoid anything that is processed. Even foods that say 100% chicken or made with 100% chicken breast, the fact that they have to tell us it contains 100% chicken should send the alarm bells ringing that it's been processed.
You can eat carbohydrates
Eating clean doesn't mean you can't eat carbs, as long as they are in their natural organic state you're all good. This includes your grains and potatoes.
Switch to water
Yes you've got to make that switch to complete the move over to clean eating. There's plenty of added ingredients to sodas, fruit juices and milkshakes that we don't need to be drinking. They are not good for the body and are bad for weight loss. Drink 2-3 litres a day to stay hydrated and focused. On a side note you can use cow and plant milks.
Eat healthy fats
Yes you can eat fat, it's good for you. It can even help to metabolise fat! Again in its natural form like nuts, avocados, eggs and oily fish. the fats you need to limit and avoid is saturated and trans fats.
Foods to avoid
Avoid highly processed foods
Okay so some foods that we call clean have some form of processing, it would be too difficult to avoid them. Products such as milk, your nut butters some yoghurts and even rice is processed to some extent. It's the highly processed foods we want to avoid that have had much of their nutritional value stripped. Foods like pizza, sweets, chocolate bars and sausages for example. These foods tend to be high in trans fats, saturated fats, refined sugars and salt.
Avoid refined foods
Similar to processed foods also avoid refined foods and their related products such as breads, pastas, and sweets. Especially if you're on a fat loss journey.
Say goodbye to alcohol
Alcohol is toxic and harmful to your body, it should be avoided unless of course there's a special occasion. Getting through a long day at work on a Tuesday doesn't count. Try to save alcohol to those special occasions and limit your intake.
Avoid fruit juices and fizzy drinks
Try not to drink your calories unless you've purposely made a clean shake. You can easily top up your daily calorie intake with calorie rich drinks, detrimental to your weight loss goals. Many of these drinks are also full of sweeteners and chemicals.
Some more on clean eating
Eating frequency relates to timings between meals and snacks, the most important thing is that you have consistency and evenly spread meals when possible. Whether you like to have 3 larger meals a day or 5 small meals just try to have them evenly spread through the day so your body can adjust to it.
If you follow these guidelines on clean eating you'll be able to start eating clean from now on. Just think, if it's in their natural wholesome form and not man-made then it should be okay. Stick to it for the next 30 days and let us know how you get on.
We've also put together our 10 CLEAN EATING HACKS FOR FASTER FAT LOSS guide which you can get here.
Want to dive right in and shift some weight in the process?
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