What is Eating Clean?

eating clean

You may have heard of clean eating and wondered “what the heck is it?”

I was first introduced to clean eating last November when I joined my friend back stage during her first figure competition. Since we had a lot of time to kill we got to chatting about all sorts of stuff, including the diet she was on. While a competition diet is extremely strict and not meant for everyday living, we talked about the principles of eating clean.

I learned about Tosca Reno and her Eat Clean Diet books (I purchased one soon after). I started reading more about it and mentioned it to my friends …it turned out a knew a lot of people who were clean eaters!

There are a number of key aspects to eating a clean diet:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Avoid processed and refined foods such as white flour, sugar, bread and pasta. Enjoy complex carbs such as whole grains instead.
  • Eat five or six small meals a daycomplete meal
  • Cook your own meals {get ideas from my recipe page}
  • Eat a balanced meal of protein, carbs and healthy fat
  • 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 {ideas for flavoring water}

Lifestyle Change

The most important thing I found when “going clean” was viewing it as a lifestyle change as opposed to a diet. Unfortunately the word “diet” conjures up negative thoughts and feelings and the impression of a temporary measures. I don’t want eating clean to be temporary. Sure, I don’t eat 100% clean all the time … I like to indulge (in moderation) … But I strive to eat clean, whole foods at least 80% of the time. This is a permanent change in my way of eating and what food I choose to consume.

Two other tips for changing to a clean eating lifestyle:

meal prep1. Prep your food

I used to dislike cooking (to be honest, it’s still not my favorite thing to do), but once I started eating clean I realized how important food prep was. Not having clean food ready and on hand meant I would reach for the easy, junky stuff.

I take a few hours on the weekend to chop veggies and cook up staples like my Chicken Muffins, Broccoli Egg Muffins, and Protein Mini Muffins.

2. Bring food with you

eat clean meal planningThis follows the tip above. If you have food prepped then you will have it ready to take with you to work or if you’re out for a few hours.

Coolers such as the IsoBag make it easy to bring everything you need for 3 meals. I’m showing this as an example, but something less fancy will do the trick just as well.

Now it’s your turn! Share your favorite eat clean recipe… or if you are new to clean eating, what are the top 3 principles from the list above that you’ll try to bring into your lifestyle this week?

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Lydia Di Francesco is the Founder of Fit & Healthy 365 and Creator of the 15 Minute Workout Club, an online workout membership site. As a Certified Personal Trainer, Lydia educates clients and the public that healthy living doesn’t need to be complicated. She promotes simple, fun, exercise, self-care, and creating a healthy mindset with a long-term approach to wellness.

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