Clean eating is one of those phrases that is being thrown about a lot at the moment, but what does it actually mean?
Well, basically, it is as simple as it sounds. There is no hidden agenda with clean eating, it just is what it is. It is the concept of eating mindfully and thinking about the foods we are eating from it’s origins to our plates. It is about eating whole foods or those that have been not processed (or processed as little as possible).
The closer they are to their natural state, the better. It sounds relatively simple right? But it can be a bit of a minefield, in that food production involves processes, even when we think we are eating whole foods. Porridge is a great example of something that we feel is good for us, but it has been processed to a point.
We also need to use a little bit of common sense here. If we make a kale smoothie (or porridge), despite the fact that it is processed (by you), it is still a cleaner food choice than a milkshake or crisps. Processed foods are linked to obesity and this is well documented, so it makes sense to avoid them as much as possible when thinking about health and fitness.
What are the benefits of clean eating?
Firstly, many studies have found that eating a plant based diet (fruit and vegetables) can really reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And we know how important a healthy heart is. Secondly, clean foods provide vital nutrients to help maintain healthy organs, which are essential for fitness.
Eating clean doesn't put restrictions on how much you can eat, but done sensibly, it can help you lose weight. More than that, it can actually help boost your immune system and build muscle more efficiently.
By simply moving away from processed foods and additives and eating clean, can be noticed quite quickly in terms of you can see improved brain function, better sleep and better workouts. All because your body has the correct nutrients to do so.
When you go shopping it can be easy to get lured into the bargains and fattier foods. Go in with a list and stick to it. If you can, buy fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Frozen is a good option too, but be aware of added sugar and salt. Always go for foods that look like they are in their most natural state.
Go for it!
Step away from the crisps and sugars. Make changes to your diet for a healthier inside, as well as outside. Your skin will improve as much as your gym routine. Eggs, for example, are a great clean food. And calorie for calorie the are an excellent source of protein, which we all know is essential for building muscle. Fish is another one, it is full of omega 3s (salmon is a good example), and can help slow the breakdown of muscle.
It is that simple. You spend hours training and working out to look and feel good on the outside, so make it easier on your body and consider clean eating where possible. Life is a balancing act, be flexible with your food choices and have a treat now and then.