What is Clean Eating?
Over the last few years, no one has been stranger to the rise of health food movements, diets, cleanses, detoxes and the like, all of which promise a fitter, better you. As varied as they may (appear to) be, the underlying premise of each approach ultimately centres on a ‘clean eating’ food philosophy.
If the words ‘clean eating’ sounds familiar, they probably are. Tossed in with other health food fad terms, they are common but to date, a loosely defined set of words. So what exactly is clean eating and what does it entail?
At its core, clean eating involves consuming the most natural and purest form of ingredients possible. In other words, this means more whole foods and less refined, artificial or processed ingredients. Think: fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, wholegrains, seeds, dairy and nuts. It isn’t about calorie restriction and also doesn’t require any extra work or fancy gadgets when it comes to daily food preparation.
But how do you know how ‘clean’ you’re eating? Food labels are the giveaway here, as they tend to be more prevalent on processed foods because they contain more than one ingredient. Minimally processed foods will only have a few ingredients on their label, if they do have one at all. Some processed ingredients to look out for and avoid include trans fats, preservatives, stabilisers, sweeteners and food dyes. A useful tip is to stick to the perimeters of the supermarket when shopping, and when cooking, focus on maintaining the integrity of the ingredients.
Since artificial ingredients are eliminated from one’s diet, it means salt and sugar levels also are reduced. This can be a drastic change for some, but take it as an opportunity to experiment with herbs and spices to enhance flavor and increase satisfaction. In every meal, it is also helpful to include a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fats. This will keep you fuller for longer.
As for what we can expect from restaurants and food companies, many are beginning to realize consumers’ concerns and bringing out new product and menu offerings to align with demand. Expect to see the rise of fresher, ready-to-eat meals and changes in your food’s appearance (dyes are no more).
In essence, clean eating has always existed – natural and fresh ingredients have been readily available to everyone for very, very long time. Now, it’s about sorting through the noise and quite simply, getting back to basics.