Clean eating is a great way to improve your physical and mental health. Eating a clean diet free from processed foods can improve your entire life in many ways.
I can confidently say after completing several clean eating challenges that clean eating can change your life.
Clean eating might sound challenging but as a long time fan of Clean Eating magazine recipes I have found that clean eating isn’t hard and can be delicious.
I’ve gotten a lot of great recipes out of Clean Eating magazine so I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to transition to a clean eating lifestyle. The writers and editors of that magazine constantly amaze me with their recipes!
What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a style of eating where you avoid refined and processed foods and any foods that have artificial ingredients, such as certain preservatives and additives. The goal with clean eating is to eat whole, natural foods.
The basic principles of clean eating are easy to understand and follow. These are the basic clean eating principles:
- Eating a mini-meal every two to three hours (5 to 6 small meals per day total) to keep blood sugar level and prevent hunger
- Combining lean proteins and complex carbs at every meal
- Avoiding all over-processed and refined foods (especially sugar, white rice, and white flour)
- Avoiding saturated and trans fat, instead consuming healthy fats
- Avoiding soda and other sugary juices and drinks
- Avoiding high-calorie, zero nutrient foods (i.e., junk food)
- Eating proper portion sizes
- Drinking at least 8 cups of water every day
Not bad right? Clean eating is actually pretty great so far and it feel like it’s not even a diet. It’s just feeding your body the food it really needs to feel it’s best.
Clean Eating Resources
The best sources I’ve found for following a clean eating diet are these books (I like books but there are tons of websites too just Google it!):
The Eat-Clean Diet: Fast Fat-Loss that lasts Forever!
(the best one in my opinion, eating clean is her thing)
In addition to these books, the magazines Clean Eating and Oxygen are a great source of clean eating recipes each month. A year long subscription to either one is a great way to get new clean eating ideas and recipes each month (plus Oxygen delivers some killer workout ideas too!).
Basically you just follow these clean eating principles that are outlined in the books that give you extra clean eating tips, tricks, and recipes.
Healthy Clean Eating Meal & Snack Ideas
Since I’ve done several healthy eating challenges in the past I’ve shared a few roundups of great clean eating meals and health snack ideas. These can get you started on planning your own healthy clean eating meals.
24 Day Challenge Healthy Recipe Ideas – This post shares some of the best recipes for eating meals on the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge where you eat clean to jumpstart your healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Eating Challenge Snack Ideas – Snacks can be one of the most challenging parts of eating clean. Most snacks are processed beyond recognition so figuring out clean eating snacks can be hard. This list of snack ideas helps you plan out how to get your snacks in while still staying clean.
Clean Eating With Whole30
The ultimate test of clean eating is to do Whole30. It’s clean eating but taken to another level with a longer list of rules you must follow to be compliant.
Here are the rules of Whole30:
- Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. Read your labels because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
- Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking.
- Do not eat grains. This includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, you must read your labels.
- Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts.
- No peanut butter or soy. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
- Do not eat dairy. The only exceptions are ghee and clarified butter, which have the milk solids removed.
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. Check your labels for these sneaky ingredients.
- Do not consume baked goods, junk foods or treats with “approved” ingredients. Recreating or buying sweets, treats and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole30 and will compromise your life-changing results. These are the same foods that got you into health trouble in the first place – and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it is made with coconut flour. (this is where Whole30 differs from many plans of clean eating or Paleo for example).
- Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. Whole30 is about more than weight loss.
I did Whole30 for the first time in 2018 and it was the hardest experience eating wise but the results were amazing!
You can see all my Whole30 posts here:
- I’m Doing Whole30! Whole30 Week 1 Recap
- Whole30 Week 2 Results & Recap | Traveling On Whole30
- Whole30 Week3 Recap | Whole30 Grocery Haul at Trader Joe’s
- I Finished Whole 30!! | Whole 30 Week 4
Whole30 was by far the hardest healthy eating challenge I’ve tried, let alone finished. It’s amazing how good you can feel after you finish eating clean foods for a while!
Whole30 Resources (affiliate links*)
If you are considering doing Whole30, here are a few resources I’ve found that are pretty useful!
- It Starts With Food
- Whole30 Official Website
- Whole30 Can I Have It Page
- Whole30 Book
- Whole30 Slow Cooker Recipes
- The Real Food RDs (my favorite recipe source!)
Here are some of the condiments and foods I’ve found that are useful for making food better while also staying compliant.
- Primal Kitchen Whole30 Mayo
- Primal Kitchen dressings and condiments
- Tessamae’s Ranch Dressing
- Coconut Aminos (soy sauce substitute)
Hopefully these resources help you on your Whole30 journey! It’s hard but worth doing!
Do You Eat Clean?
Clean eating is becoming more common these days as people try to avoid the overly processed foods that have been staples in our culture for years. It’s a refreshing change of pace to eat clean and healthy without all the extra junk that has been part of most of our diets for year.
Do you practice clean eating? Do you want to try clean eating?
Note: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. Thank you for supporting A Merry Life!