What is Clean Eating & Why Should You Care?
I am regularly asked what Clean Eating actually is and why it's such big deal. So, this is my take on clarifying Clean Eating, and hopefully clearing up some misconceptions.
Let's start with setting the record straight on some of the misconceptions so that you can breath a little easier. Clean Eating does not mean:
- you can only eat organic, raw ingredients
- you can't eat meat
- your food bill is going to go through the roof
- you have to make major sacrifices and cut all things you love out of your diet
Clean eating simply means that you do the best that you can to eat fresh ingredients as close to the source and as naturally as possible. That means avoiding pesticides, preservatives, hormones, additives, antibiotics or anything else that has been done to or used on the food to alter it (other than cooking of course). This is important for our body's health and development, these chemicals have so many impacts on our bodies- some that we know about and some we will find out about in the future. Our bodies are not meant to digest preservatives and chemicals or unnatural ingredients. That's why when we do consume them regularly the body stores them as fat, or you can have side effects including allergic reactions.
You don't need to eat all organic foods (find a balance that makes sense for you), but buying organic foods is a great way of eliminating pesticides, fertilizers and other unnecessary additives- especially for all meat, dairy and grains as well as fruits and vegetables that you eat the skin of or the skin is thin and easily penetrable. Yes, you do end up paying a bit more for those ingredients, but ultimately would you rather spend your money at the supermarket or on your medical bills down the road? Eating clean is a long-term investment in you and your family and will improve your overall health. I promise, I have seen the results on myself, friends and family members that have decided to incorporate this into their lifestyles.
What you do want to avoid or at least limit, is processed foods laden with preservatives. You will be shocked to see what it is you are consuming (and putting into your kids' bodies) once you start reading labels. I certainly was. I would guess a large portion of your grocery bill goes towards processed foods, meats, dairies, boxed snacks etc. This is money you can save and put towards fresh ingredients. Seriously, the foam used in yoga mats and pool noodles is found in multiple items found in many of the aisles of the grocery store- is that really something you want to eat? Have you ever stopped to look at label to see what is in a Oreo cookie (see below)? It isn't actually food... do you really need it? Does an Oreo taste good enough to be willing to sacrifice your body? If your kids, or you ;) need a treat, did you know you can bake fresh cookies (with the ingredients you likely have in your pantry already) in only 15 minutes and have them for the week? They will taste better, you will know what you are putting into your bodies, and you will be appreciated at home for it. How about homemade granola bars? If this seems impossible, then stay tuned, I will post easy, family approved options that won't break the bank.
So the next time you go to the supermarket, give yourself a bit of extra time to read and think about what you want to eat. That is the first step in making a change- inform yourself and then next time, take it a step further by making a few changes. This will be an evolution to better, healthier, cleaner, happier you. You deserve it.
Posts on where to shop and navigating the supermarket will follow. Stay tuned!