A lot of people like the thought of clean eating. Some even say they’re going to try. Few follow through with this however, or do for a while before throwing in the towel. Clean eating works best with an overall healthy lifestyle. Looking after mind, body and soul are integral to our overall wellbeing.

The hardest part of adapting to this lifestyle is keeping your commitment. A lot of people start but don’t continue. Everyone will eat clean for certain meals, whether they’re trying to or not. So, giving up after a short period of time isn’t going to be much different from never starting at all.

If you have found yourself thinking more about switching to a clean eating diet, in order to succeed, you really have to identify the reasons why.

  • Some people are increasingly worried about the ginormous words appearing on the labels of our food. We can’t pronounce half of them, how are we supposed to know what they’re doing to our bodies?
  • Other people want to support local farmers and food producers.
  • Others still are affected by the mass farming techniques being used and don’t want to contribute to that. If you are a meat eater, you might be happier with the knowledge that the animals used to make your food weren’t subjected to a miserable life before hand.

There are many reasons. You need to find yours and hold fast to it on the days when it seems hardest. This is always at the beginning. You will adapt to this new diet and way of living quickly and wonder why you hadn’t been doing this your entire life!

Clean Eating means knowing exactly where your food comes from, knowing the balance of food to achieve a certain goal, and knowing how to prepare it in the cleanest way. A lot of people think by just eating healthier they’re eating cleaner, but there are a lot of factors when it comes to adopting a clean eating lifestyle.

This guide will take you through everything you need to know about clean eating. From getting started to living it and preparing yourself so the transition is as easy as possible.

The Ultimate Guide to Clean Eating

Prepare your own food

Perhaps the most important aspect of eating clean is preparing your own food. You just don’t know what people are putting into food or how they’re cooking it. To avoid any doubt, you need to get into the habit of making your own meals.

It’s only in the last couple of decades that we’ve gotten used to being full, or partially prepared meals. For years, we were responsible for preparing all of our food and we got on fine. Relying on others to make our meals or ingredients has enabled the rise of a substitute, or cheap ingredients in order to increase profits.

The only thing you’re saving is time and effort. It’s not money and it certainly isn’t your health. However, with practice, nutritious meals can be made relatively quickly. With even more practice, healthy meals can be prepared for a week in advance!

Eat Smaller Meals More Often

Eating healthy smaller meals 5-6 times a day keeps your working, keeps hunger at bay, and controls your blood sugar levels.

The key here is making sure you don’t eat more than you would when eating 3 meals a day, and making sure you’re having a good balance of food. Eating smaller meals more frequently can make the transition to clean eating a little bit easier.

Many people complain about feeling hungry when they first make the transition to clean eating. By eating more frequently you can satisfy your hunger and avoid the temptation to snack outside of your plan.

Making sure you’re covering all aspects will help you to make the change.

Eat Vegetarian at Least One Day A Week

Not only does this reduce your carbon footprint, it also helps you to get your balance of vitamins and nutrients.

According to Eat Right, consuming a plant-based diet can benefit the environment. Livestock is estimated to contribute to 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), with other estimates ranging from a 10- to 51-percent contribution. Going meatless for just one day a week will reduce GHG.

Meat eaters will hit their protein targets easily, but a lot of other beneficial food types can be forgotten about in the rush to have meat with every meal.

Vary your meals on these days. Unprocessed carbohydrates, like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, and mille can help prevent heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes.

Vegetables are nutrient powerhouses and you can often eat large quantities and still see little effect on your waistline.

There are so many varieties of vegetarian-friendly foods. Make it your mission to try something new each week and you’ll start looking forward to your vegetarian day!

Source Organic Foods

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, MD, founder of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, processed food meets these seven criteria:

  1. mass-produced
  2. consistent batch to batch
  3. consistent country to country
  4. specialized ingredients from specialized companies
  5. nearly all macronutrients are pre-frozen (which means that the fibre is usually removed)
  6. emulsified (fat and water don’t separate)
  7. long shelf or freezer life

Processed food could contain almost anything and we wouldn’t know about it. Often, when a big deal is made about the effects of one ingredient, companies switch it for another lesser known, but equally harmful ingredient.

We shouldn’t have to add unknowns to our food and we shouldn’t have to guess how bad something could potentially be for us. Making an effort to source organic food from ethical sources, reduces the worry of what might be in your food.

Using these ingredients you can be sure in the knowledge that you are in fact eating clean and providing yourself with wholesome, nutritious meals.

Not only are you avoiding the unknowns, but you are also being mindful of avoiding hidden or large quantities of sugars and fats.

The only way you can really know what’s in your food and to make sure you’re eating clean from start to finish, is to start the whole process by sourcing natural and organic ingredients.

The Ultimate Guide to Clean Eating

Know What You Want to Achieve

If you have a weight loss or muscle gain goal in mind, this is a good time to understand how macronutrient ratios work.

Your macronutrient ratio will determine what percentage of fats, carbs and proteins your diet will comprise of to obtain a specific goal.

For example, if you are very slim and are looking to create muscle, along with a healthy exercise program your macronutrient ratio should be: 40-60% carb’s, 25-35% protein, and 15-25% fat.

Conversely, if you are looking to lose weight, then along with your exercise regime, your macronutrient ratio should be: 10-30% carb’s, 40-50% protein, and 30-40% fat.

If you’re happy with your weight and body size then your macronutrient ratio will be designed to maintain this: 30-50% carb’s, 25-35% protein, and 25-30% fat.

Knowing this and making a conscious effort to understand how your food is made up is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Too many people get caught up on calorie counting and move to low-fat products. Not only does this not work but because of the flavourless nature of low fat foods, chemicals and sweeteners are often added to enhance your taste.

Make a Plan

When you find recipes you love, save them. This makes it so much easier and if you make an effort to grow your collection of favourite foods, you won’t feel like you’re eating the same thing over and over again.

Once you’ve become more confident with preparing these meals and you’ve identified your favourite meals, it’s time to consider meal prepping.

Meal prepping is a life saver when it comes to saving time, money and avoiding the temptation of deviating off your clean eating path.

This first requires planning exactly what you’re going to eat morning, midday and evening with healthy snacks in between. Now you need to create your shopping list and pick up all your healthy ingredients as well as freezable and food safe containers for your meals.

Once you have everything, spend a couple of hours making your meals, portioning them out and packing them away to be ready for the week ahead. With practice, the time it takes you to do this will become even shorter.

By buying the ingredients in bulk and only using what you need, you are saving money and avoiding having to throw out any leftover ingredients that might go bad. You also only have to worry about reheating (if you even need to) meals during the rest of the week, no cooking!

Bringing delicious meals into work with you or knowing that you have one waiting at home for you also allows you to avoid the temptation of grabbing an unhealthy meal at lunch or after work.

This isn’t to say that you can never eat out, of course you can, but if you can avoid the temptation to do this all the time then you’re more effectively eating a clean diet.

Recipe Examples

Find clean eating recipes from methods that involve clean cooking. This involves grilling, baking, steaming etc and avoiding things like frying. You also need to be mindful about what you’re cooking your food in. Are you using virgin olive oil or butter? Are you cooking with too much salt etc?

You should think of the entire process as clean, not just the eating part.

To help get you started here are some delicious recipes you can try out from great websites that will really help you on your journey to clean eating:

Breakfast

2-Ingredient Healthy Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies

These delicious and healthy cookies only take 15 minutes to make and clock in at around 60 calories per cookie!

Photo: Ambitious Kitchen

Photo: Ambitious Kitchen

Hearty Lentil and Veggie-Packed Omelette

Photo: Eat Spin Run Repeat

Photo: Eat Spin Run Repeat

This Gorgeous Omelette tastes amazing and is packed with goodness.

Lunch

Shrimp and Avocado Summer Rolls

Photo: My Invisible Crown

Photo: My Invisible Crown

These delicious shrimp rolls are also dairy free and gluten free.

Oven-Fried Salmon Cakes

Photo: Meljouwan

Photo: Meljouwan

Pair these delectable fish cakes with a green salad to keep yourself full until dinner.

Dinner

Maple Balsamic and Herb Chicken

Photo: Eat Yourself Skinny

Photo: Eat Yourself Skinny

This chicken is beyond delicious. Pair with a salad or wild rice for a super tasty and satisfying dish.

Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Mouth Waveringly Good. Taste the mediterranean with this unique recipe.

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