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Clean Eating: The Diet-Free Diet

Listen to “Clean Eating: The Diet-Free Diet“.


Clean eating is a deceptively simple concept. Rather than revolving around the idea of consuming more of some things and less of others, e.g. more protein and fewer calories, clean eating is about being mindful of your food’s journey to your plate.

At its core, clean eating is about eating whole foods, or ‘real’. Whole/real foods are unprocessed, unrefined, and handled so that they are as close to their natural states as possible.

Almost half of the food we eat has been significantly changed from its original state, with the addition of salt, sugar, fat, additives, preservatives or artificial colours.

The things we eat have a significant impact on our health, and ultra-processed foods like candy, soft drinks, pizza and chips do not contain enough of the beneficial nutrients that our bodies require. The more ultra-processed foods we eat, the poorer the overall nutritional quality of our diet.

Clean eating is not a diet. Instead, it is about being mindful of the origins of our food and what happens to it before it reaches our tables.

Clean eating doesn’t require a lot of extra time or money and can be achieved by following these 9 simple tips:

  1. Avoid eating packaged and processed foods whenever possible.
  2. Choose real foods
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  4. Cut back on added sugars
  5. Reduce your red meat intake to 1-2 times per week
  6. Limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats
  7. Cook and eat at home
  8. Stay hydrated
  9. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption

In addition to fresh, unprocessed foods, clean eating involves selecting food that comes from ethically raised animals. Livestock is often raised in crowded, unsanitary factory farms. The animals are typically given antibiotics to prevent infection and injected with hormones like estrogen and testosterone to maximize growth.

Most cattle on industrial farms are fed grains rather than their natural diet of grass. Studies show that grass-fed beef is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and antioxidants than grain-fed beef.

Factory farms also generate massive amounts of waste, prompting environmental concerns. Choosing meat from animals raised humanely on small farms is consistent with clean eating principles.

The remedy for eating clean isn’t deprivation, blandness, or a rigid diet; it’s about incorporating good habits into your lifestyle. Clean eating does not require you to cut out any food groups. It is not low fat, low carb, dairy free or grain free; it is simply about enjoying all foods as close to their natural state as possible, in moderation.

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