Eat Clean

Since “Eat Clean” is in the title of my blog, I figured it would be prudent to share with you what it means and why I make eating clean a priority for my family.

Ripe TomatoesBefore I start, let me say this: I LOVE cooking. I find enjoyment in experimenting with new foods and recipes.  This has made the transition from processed foods to a more wholesome diet easier for me. And, as I’ve said before and will say again, we all truly do the best we can to get through each day.  I get totally get that. I understand eating on-the-go is convenient.  And saves time.  I’ve done it too many times to count.  But when we do so, we compromise knowing exactly what we are putting into our bodies.

Exposés of the food industry like Food, Inc., Fast Food Nation, In Defense of Food, and Eating Animals have drawn greater attention to the gross lack of regulation of what goes into the foods we eat and the power of major food and biochemical companies to make us believe packaged and bio-engineered foods are indeed healthy. The information has forced me to change the way I look at food in general.

The latest Subway news brought on by Food Babe (love her!) is the most recent example of a “health food” gone bad.  The restaurant has been endorsed by the American Heart Association, Michelle Obama, and the legendary Jared Fogle. But its bread includes the additive azodicarbonamide that has also been used in the manufacturing of yoga mats and shoe rubber. And while Subway is removing the substance, many other food companies still use it in their products. The Environmental Working Group did a recent analysis following this news and found the chemical in nearly 500 foods including major brands like Pillsbury, Sara Lee, Shoprite, Safeway, Smucker’s, Fleischman’s, Jimmy Dean, Kroger, Little Debbie, Tyson, and Wonder.

So, how can you make food healthier for your family?  In my opinion, proper planning is the best way to ensure the food you provide is clean. Eating at home is always best as long as you are limiting or best, eliminating processed foods from your house.

What Does it Mean to Eat Clean?
I try to live by a short set of rules when purchasing food:

  1. Fresh, whole foods are always best (frozen vegetables with no added ingredients are also great).
  2. Know the source of your food.  Buy local and organic whenever possible.  And certified humane when purchasing eggs and meat.  I also check for Non-GMO Verified labeling and always choose those products over non-labeled products.
  3. Purchase foods with 5 ingredients or less. Be able to recognize every ingredient.
  4. Avoid high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, food coloring/dyes, and artificial sweeteners (this includes diet soda and sugar-free sports drinks).
  5. Avoid white, processed foods: bread, flour, rice, pasta, cereal, and table sugar.

Basically, if there’s a mysterious ingredient you can’t pronounce, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. That’s really it!  Lisa Leake at 100 Days of Real Food provides a plethora of information on eating real, wholesome foods.  I encourage you to visit her website and sign up for the 10-Day Pledge if you haven’t already done so.

Happy, Clean Eating!