What we eat can have a major impact on how we feel, how we look, and how we function overall. While there are a lot of different diets out there, clean eating is not only about what’s on the menu, but rather it’s a lifestyle that involves making conscious food choices about what you put into your body to support your overall health and wellbeing.
What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a way of eating centered around the principle of consuming healthy foods that are as close as possible to their natural state, with minimal processing. This ensures that what you’re consuming is rich in nutrients so you can get the maximum health benefits from the foods you eat.  This way of eating is consistent with popular “plant-based” diets, which focus on eating fresh, whole foods from plants and avoiding highly refined and processed foods.
Eating in this way can be good for both your physical and mental health. It can help with weight loss, increase energy levels, possibly ward off depression and even help you get a better night’s sleep. A clean diet can also contribute to longevity  and help fight against certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses. 
Making the Change to Clean Eating
Clean eating doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re making positive food choices to adopt a “clean diet,” the best way to do so is to incorporate lots of fresh and whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and lean proteins are all staples of a clean diet. The key is to avoid highly refined and processed foods, as well as those made with additives, preservatives and refined sweeteners.
As with any diet, you don’t need to make the lifestyle change all at once. Making better choices step-by-step with each meal is a great way to start.
Choosing Clean Foods
When you go grocery shopping on a clean diet, you’ll be spending a good deal of time in the produce section. Think in terms of loading up your basket with fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds and whole grains and legumes rather than packaged, canned or frozen “prepared” products.
In addition, selecting organic and locally grown foods is a good way to help reduce pesticides and other additives. For healthy snacks, think “simple.” Your snack choice is a great way to include health nutrients into your body. Skip boxed cookies and munch on fresh or dried fruits and nuts, for example. Make your own dips, such as homemade hummus or guacamole, and crunch on vegetable crudités as the “new norm” for healthy and tasty snacking. After eating “clean” for even a few days, you’ll find that any cravings you had for sweets or salty treats will subside.
On any diet and with any particular way of eating, be sure to drink plenty of water too! Include organic teas and coffee without added sweeteners and leave out sweetened (including artificially sweetened) beverages entirely.
Check the Nutrition Labels
When you’re focused on eating clean, it is important to know what ingredients are in your foods.
If the food you are reaching for isn’t a “whole” food that doesn’t have a label, always read ingredients lists first. Packaged foods that seem healthy (such as granola bars and “healthy chips”) often have additives that might be questionable.  The best way to know what you’re consuming is to prepare healthy cooked meals at home. Finding new recipes to try out is a great way to go about clean eating.
Eat Foods Grown in Good Quality Soil
The quality of the soil where food is produced can also have a big impact on your health. Eating food that is grown in superior soil without chemicals is an important part of clean eating. Fruits and vegetables that are free from pesticides and preservatives and are grown from non-GMO and natural seeds can help ensure you’re consuming the cleanest food possible.
Eating fresh foods from sustainable farms is easier than ever. If you don’t have much time for grocery shopping or don’t have a local organic market, meal delivery plans specializing in clean eating are a great option that can help to get you started eating clean, fill in some diet gaps and make clean eating easy and convenient for your lifestyle.
The bottom line: by simply adding more fresh, whole foods to your daily diet and embracing “cooking from scratch,” you will both be eating “cleaner” and reap many long-lasting health benefits!
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 Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD, April 11, 2020. What is clean eating? Mayo Clinic: Healthy Lifestyle. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/clean-eating/faq-20336262
 Joel Fuhrman, MD. January 17, 2020. The 10 Best Foods for Longevity. VeryWell Health: Healthy Aging. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/best-foods-for-longevity-4005852
 Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN. No date. 8 Reasons to Clean Up Your Diet (Besides Weight Loss). Shape.com. Retrieved from https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/8-reasons-clean-your-diet-besides-weight-loss
 Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE. April 8, 2019. 11 Simple Ways to Start Clean Eating Today. Healthline.com. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-ways-to-eat-clean