It’s not a bad idea to scrub some of your food a little bit cleaner. Especially when it comes to certain stores, trust me, you want to clean your food. However, that’s not what
clean eating is about. Clean eating is about focusing on whole foods as opposed to processed foods and eating healthy. You are to focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In some small towns, this can naturally be harder. Your access to fresh foods is getting easier. For example, I recently saw that Bountiful Baskets is actually hitting a number of smaller areas such as Moab, Utah. Yes, Moab is a bit better known. The point though is that Moab is within driving distance of other smaller areas such as Monticello and Blanding (2 towns you may not have ever even heard of).
The idea is to make it easier for the body, avoid bad chemicals, and avoid too much processed sugar. Actually, avoid any processed sugar when it comes right down to it. It’s meant to provide vitamins without raising blood pressure, increasing sodium intake, or otherwise interfering with the natural functions of the body. The question is, should you really do it?
clean eating is a relatively new term, but the concept (the idea) actually originates in the 1960’s. It obsesses over the idea of processed foods, and it spans from processed fast food to certain types of meat, fish, and even fruits and vegetables depending on how severe you go. Some like the idea of free range chicken while others obsess over organic fruits and vegetables.
I can tell you right now that first, free range chicken aren’t really so
free range. There are zero regulations on it beyond what would be put on normal chickens. You could give a chicken 1 extra inch of space in their cage and call it
free range. Then again, you could use the same size of cage. When I contacted the sellers of
free range eggs, I asked about the conditions. I was told their chickens couldn’t go outside due to the
risk of disease. Ya, at least in my head, a happy chicken is one that has space to run around, may go outside from time to time, and still has a house where they can be protected from inclement weather. I guess that’s just me. As far as
organic foods go, research has unlocked the fact that the nutritional benefits or organic fruits and vegetables really aren’t greater or better than what you can find in most grocery stores.
rules of clean eating can vary widely. It is important for this diet NOT to be about losing or gaining weight, just eating healthier. Weight changes may or may not follow depending on the person. Some serious clean eaters choose to skip out on anything that has been processed at all. So even those fruit and nut bars you might find in your local Costco or health store are a no go. For some, cooking is a big no-no, because it takes the nutrients out. These are the clean eaters who are into raw dieting as well. For those who are super strict, they will not typically eat meats, dairy, grains, and other more
Other plans can be more lenient and just avoid more obvious things. For example, some will eat whole grain breads and other things as long as they aren’t basically fast food and don’t have obvious chemicals.
So why does this matter?
The benefits of a whole food/clean eating type diet are abundant. Research has shown that eating more fruits and vegetables can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, improve heart health, help you to lose weight in some cases, and even reduce the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. If you are consuming whole grains and legumes, this has also been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes. In general, many have turned to low carb diets to avoid or treat type 2 diabetes. However, more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will put you in a better spot to start off with, especially when combined with a regular exercise program.
Adding these foods is essential to clean eating, but just as essential is cutting out extra salt, sugar, etc. Research has shown that reduced dietary salt intake can delay or prevent hypertension or decrease the chances of cardiovascular related health issues. Likewise, reducing the intake of sugary drinks like soda can help you to lose weight, reduce fat, and be healthier overall.
Is this the real thing?
All of the indications say that this is healthy. All indications point to the idea that clean eating is the way to go. It might not be necessary for everyone to go in the direction of clean eating. In fact, some might do better with other types of diets. However, clean eating doesn’t seem to have any obvious or large downsides or even risks. Unless you are allergic to most vegetables or something like that, chances are this might be a good way to go. It varies from person to person on how strict you could or should realistically go.
Clean eating is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle, and it actually provides a lot of flexibility to a lot of people. The key is to work within what you feel is reasonable. As with any change in lifestyle/diet, of course you may want to consult your doctor if you have any overwhelming health issues or concerns. Likewise, to stick with the lifestyle, it might be good for some to have a cheat day or a cheat meal from time to time. At the other side of things, you could work up to it, going a couple days on, a couple days off, and slowly working your way to greater regularity. Start by introducing more homemade smoothies, veggie mixes, etc.
This said, I’ve started my own somewhat clean eating move, and I’ve started with a program called Bountiful Baskets at about the same time. It goes through a number of states with A & B weeks. It currently includes Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Once a week, you can get a basket, 50% fruits, 50% vegetables. They recently put chicken into one basket, and then there was a slight uproar as many participants are actually vegetarians. However, at this point, they do have various add ons such as various types of bread available, you can buy multiple baskets, etc depending on the week.
The outcome does vary. One week, it included pumpkins, and I honestly had no idea what to do with that. However, this week, it was a bit more normal. I got 3 cucumbers, a head of romaine lettuce, 2 bags of carrots, about 16oz of cranberries, a stock of celery, about 6 potatoes, 3 large sweet potatoes, a stock of bananas, a bag of grapes, 7 apples, 5 onions, and a cantaloupe. The onions are the ones I’m having the hardest time figuring out what to do with, but for $17, I’ll live with a few extra onions mixed in with the rest of what I’ve gotten.