Healthy eating is continually revisited, revamped and retooled. One of the more popular trends in dietary management is “clean eating” — born out of the healthy food craze of the 1960s and raised in the exercise gyms. The U.S. Food Drug Association does not regulate the word “clean” when it comes to food, so there is no specific sanctioned definition. The premise of eating clean is removing processed foods, added sugars and salts; reducing fats and focusing on good fats; and limiting carbohydrates to whole-grain slow digesting carbohydrates. According to Tosca Reno, nutrition consultant and author of “Clean Eating” and other books on this topic, eating clean is a lifestyle and a sound approach to eating well. Find out what to eat when eating clean.
Plants. A mainstay of the eating clean diet is focusing on whole foods that have not been processed, such as vegetables and fruits. If you wish to follow a program of eating clean, you cannot have too many fresh fruits and vegetables. The key to preparing the fresh produce is to keep it as close to whole (or unchanged) as possible. Eating food with the least amount of cooking or tampering, or changing it too much from its original form, is key to the clean eating lifestyle.
Lean protein. Clean eating emphasizes consuming healthy combinations of protein, along with complex carbohydrates and good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). Every meal should be a combination of foods for best energy, muscle building and long-lasting satiety. Focus on healthy proteins such as fish, turkey, chicken and lean meats. If a protein source is not convenient, many clean eaters use protein powder to supplement their diet.
Whole grain. Whole-grain oats and other types of grain are typical forms of carbohydrates in the clean eating diet. Whole grains still retain their tough bran layer. This layer of bran is hard for the body to digest, making it a complex carb that provides long-lasting fuel and not a burst of energy and a crash — as with simple carbohydrates like white flour and sugar.
Water. Clean eaters don’t drink their calories. A basic premise of clean eating includes drinking pure water with few exceptions. Sometimes coffee or tea is also a part of the clean eating diet. Sodas, processed juices and juice drinks are avoided. These are empty calories full of chemicals and sugars.