You might have heard people talking about ‘clean eating’ but what does it actually mean? Well, there’s different levels of clean eating.
For example, you could go hardcore and do a Whole30 which cuts out all sugar, dairy, legumes and grains or you can do a slightly more lifestyle-friendly version, which is what I’m doing.
The rules are very simple. If it came out of a packet and has been processed far beyond its natural state, don’t eat it. So that means trying to steer clear of:
Bread (especially white or over-processed types)
Cakes/biscuits and anything sweet or dessert like
Most dairy (minus a bit of feta or greek yogurt here and there)
‘But what is there left?’ I hear you cry. Plenty is the easy answer. You can eat all vegetables (although try to stay away from canned veg and beans as they often have stabilisers and other chemicals in them), meat, fish, brown/basmati rice, sweet potatoes, fruit, dark chocolate (with 3 ingredients or less), nuts etc.
A typical day of clean eating:
Breakfast – green smoothie (½ banana, handful of berries, 10 pieces of cucumber, a big handful of spinach or kale, 1 stick of celery, juice of ½ lemon, 2 tsp flaxseed, 1 tsp chia seeds)
Morning snack – a few almonds or macadamia nuts
Lunch – baked chicken breast with spices, baked sweet potato, steamed green vegetables, raw spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, ½ avocado, drizzle of olive oil
Afternoon snack – 100g greek yogurt with a chopped apple or berries
Dinner – 2 egg omelette with mushrooms, pepper, spinach and a side salad (spinach, cucumber, spring onion, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice)
Evening snack – 1 square of 90% dark chocolate
When I’m focusing on eating ‘clean’ foods 80-90% of the time, I feel less bloated, my energy levels throughout the day stay much more constant rather than peaks and troughs and I feel stronger and more focused in the gym. It’s also really good for building lean muscle without increasing body fat whilst doing the right sorts of workouts.
I eat out at least once a week with friends and the key to sticking to your clean way of life is to pick things off the menu that are as unprocessed as possible, preferably without sauces which are often loaded with salt or sugar. If you do want to indulge yourself then go for it but try to limit it to once a week if possible.
Let me know how you get on!