If you’re even vaguely interested in healthy eating you’ll already have come across the term ‘clean eating’. I certainly had seen the term flashed around across blogs, Instagram accounts, Pinterest accounts and health magazines.
Much like ‘paleo’, ‘counting macros’ and ‘counting calories’, when I made the decision back in January this year to lose weight and become healthier I thought why bother with clean eating that’s far too constricting and set off on my own plan (the revolutionary trying to cut back, eat better and do some exercise…have you heard about it?). I joke!
However, as I’ve gotten more into healthy eating and continuing to research the topic, I realised I have actually been clean eating! Or at least trying to move towards this approach.
So what is clean eating…?
- Eating whole foods
- Eating fresh foods where possible
- Understanding what your food is made of
- Eliminating processed foods
Pum’s clean eating tips…
- Start by reading the ingredients on your favourite foods…if you don’t know what an ingredient is, find out! That’s one of the main reasons I stick to Meridian nut butters, 100% nuts.
- Stop using jars of sauce…find out how to make your most frequently used sauces, you’ll be surprised both by how much rubbish is included in most long life jars of sauce and how quick, cheap and simple it is to start making your own.
- Eat the whole foods or make your own combination. By this I mean, if you fancy a banana nut muffin, just have the banana and the nuts! Or try making your own clean version with honey instead of sugar. This will definitely fill you up more.
- Cut out the fizzy juice. Just cut it out. Drink water. This one perplexes me. How people think that guzzling diet coke is healthy…seriously?! It’s so bad for you! Ok rant over.
- Go brown or choose whole grains. Brown rice, brown pasta, quinoa, wholewheat couscous…try it!
- Rethink ‘low fat’ options. Often these are higher in sugar or have weird additives to compensate for reducing the fat content. Definitely have a look at the ingredients if you tend to veer towards products marketed as ‘lighter’ as they could just be worse for you. Cereals are one food type that really got me this year. I thought I was being healthy eating Special K, Oats So Simple or All Bran – NOPE! All of these had added sugar and other ingredients. So I swapped to 100% oats, oat bran, buckwheat or shredded wheat and made it more interesting myself by adding toppings (fruit, nuts, honey, an endless list really…).
- Choose lean meats or try to build your dishes around veggies. Roasting a big tray of veg is a meal in itself, trust me.
- Add spice. I now always add different herbs and spices to my cooking. I used to not bother at all thinking it was just a hassle, but it’s amazing for completely changing a meal just by using a different spice. Minced beef can be changed from a bolognese to a curry to a chilli to a ragu just by varying the herbs/spices used e.g. basil, oregano, cumin, chilli powder or dried mint.
- Protein shakes (I don’t have them often but I like to keep my protein powder in stock so that if I forget to prepare lunch I can have this after a lunchtime gym class).
- Almond milk (I use shop-bought which does have different additives to make it longer life…I really have been meaning to attempt my own).
- Dark chocolate (I do try to go with the highest percentage cocoa I can find but it will still have other ingredients).
- EATING OUT. I in no way stick to clean eating all the time. When eating at friends’ homes or eating out I don’t stress and enjoy myself…life’s too short for that! I’m definitely more of a clean eater during the week and dirty eater (is that right?!) at the weekend.
I think if you make a few small changes to start eating cleaner, at least during the week, it will soon just become a regular thing that you do. I don’t even think about it now!
Here’s just a few of my recent ‘clean’ meals…
You’ll see clean eating still gives me a really varied diet using different meats, fish, veggies, grains aaaaand I still have cheese, yay (I just try to stick to cottage cheese or a small amount of feta).
If you want to know any more about the dishes above just ask, although they will definitely be very simple and pretty much the ingredients you see are all there is!