Eating Clean: A Lifestyle Not a Diet

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert. The opinions in this (and every) post are based on my own experience and circumstance. Please consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle.

I have many philosophies for how I want to live my life but in the end they all boil down to one thing:

 I want to live my best life as my best self.

On the surface many might think that I am on track-perhaps in many ways I am-yet I have always had the nagging feeling that I could be doing better. That there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing, or at the very least, that doesn't quite fit yet

As a firm believer that you get out of life what you willing to put in it I have also begun to seriously apply that to food as well: You can only expect your body to give what it gets.

In other words, you are what you eat, which you've heard here before. Except that along with filling the ol' proverbial tank with spinach and whole grains I also load it up with sugar and refined flour and empty simple carbs.

Bottom line: This project gets a "Need Improvement"

Enter Eating Clean, otherwise known as the way I plan to improve my life from the inside out.

Let me explain....

What is Eating Clean?

Simply put, I define eating clean as eating those foods that modern day humans are meant to eat... naturally. Sure there are arguments that our cave dwelling ancestors ate a certain way and that we such mimic that style but in all honesty I am a firm believer that evolution has matured our nutritional needs as well.

That being said our bodies perform in the most optimal way when given foods that are as close to the earth as possible. Skip the processing and the preservatives because frankly its probably killing you anyway.

Dramatic? Yes, but with good reason. Eating habits are literally a matter of life or death. I choose life.

You can also find a great definition of eating clean here. Then again, I think the sheer nature of the habit allows for everyone to define it for them self and use that definition to apply it to there own lifestyle which is a really great thing.

What Can't You Eat When "Eating Clean"?

Honestly, I don't see this as a restrictive "can" and "can't" kind of deal. There are many things that you should refrain from because they simply aren't beneficial and/or are detrimental to your well being.

As a part of my interpretation I plan to avoid:

refined sugars
refined white flour, pasta and rice
saturated fats
artificial sweeteners

What Will You Eat Then?

That's a much longer list but I'll give it a try:

Eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice, lean poultry, fish, low fat dairy, legumes, seeds and nuts, quinoa, tofu

That's a lot and I am betting I missed a few things. Needless to say, I won't be going hungry.

Where Did You Learn About This Diet?

First, let me clarify that I am hesitant to call it a diet. Instead I choose to view it as a lifestyle or eating habits. The idea of diets have negative connotations and in many cases are viewed as unsustainable. This is meant to be the way I am able to eat now and for always.

I learned about the principles of eating clean through various sources including The Gracious Pantry website and Tosca Reno's The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged. I have also been fortunate to meet very educated people who are well informed on this topic and have and will continue to provide me with guidance along the way.

If Its Not a Diet Then I Guess You Don't Plan to Lose Weight?

I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope to lose weight or that I didn't expect to. The truth of the matter is I have weight to lose. The intention of the change is not solely based on weight loss though. It's meant to overhaul my health and wellness. The weight loss will come naturally once I am able to adopt better eating habits over a period of time.

Aren't You Starving?

Actually I feel the opposite of starving. Since I kick started this a few days ago I am comfortably full and satisfied after meals without feeling stuffed or bloated. The idea is to eat often (five or six mini meals a day) to keep your blood sugar and appetite stable. I also find that when I start to fell a little hungry its time for another meal anyway.

Wait, You Eat More Often and Hope to Lose Weight?

Yes. The food I will be eating is wholesome and nutrient dense as opposed to full of empty calories and fat. My portions are reasonable and my body will keep functioning at optimal levels, meaning not freaking out and storing fat in fear of famine (which happens when I am too restrictive) or as a reaction to a sugar induced insulin spike (which seems to happen the rest of the time).

Does That Mean You'll Never Eat Another Cupcake?

Hell no! The point of this is to be sustainable and I know that if I set such extreme boundaries I would inevitably break the rules and binge on donuts after a week. So I will eat cupcakes again, just once and a while. When the situation really calls for a cupcake.

Can You Tell Me More?

Yes, but another time. First I want to actually live it before I begin fanatically spreading the word-at least more then I already have. But let me say this; I am really excited about this. For the first time I feel passionate about a "diet plan" and not because I hope to ft into a dress or shed 10lbs but because I truly believe this way of eating is the ticket for me to be healthier and happier in so many ways. It just makes sense to me and I am stoked to see the results as they become more and more evident.

I plan to keep you posted so stay tuned.....

PS: The photos I included are just a few examples of the amazing "clean" eats I have enjoyed over the past three days. Yum right??!

So tell me, have you ever heard of "eating clean"? What do you think? What's one thing you would hate to give up?



  1. Ooh, seeing a photo of the salad, really makes me crave it!

    When I think of eating clean, I think of what makes my body function at its best and makes me feel great. I think that's sort of different for everyone, but it always a combination of the foods you listed above. For myself, eating clean does not include a lot of dairy or carbs as they tend to make me feel blah, but everything else on the list you have above is fair game.

    I always hated diets where you had to give up fruit. I could not live without my fruit!

  2. Those "clean" meals sure look good! I definitely need to make more an effort to eat more like this...it's so much better for you!

  3. I love good, clean eating. The best side effect? Feeling energized! Real foods fuel you better than anything processed ever could. :)

  4. Oh, I've thought about doing this so many times. My addiction to crappy foods always stops me. But I feel SO MUCH BETTER when we eat this way. Now you've got me thinking about it all over again.

  5. I love this! It makes so much sense that you should give your body wholesome food instead of processed yucky food! I'm going to start eating clean with you!

  6. I've been trying to clean up my act in a very similar way! (and actually, so far I have lost some weight). I'm one of those type B personalities who needs a little bit of boundaries. I've cut down on refined sugar, processed food and simple carbs. Sure I have cravings for these things, but the longer I stay away, the cravings come less and less. Fruit tastes so much sweeter! And I can honestly say I have not been hungry.

  7. I think the title of your post really explains the concept of "clean eating": a lifestyle, not a diet. It's a way to enjoy the foods that are out there in nature, to enjoy what is available without refining or manufacturing.

    Years ago, I used to stock up on diet everything: juices, "cakes", breads, etc... Then I realized how much more I liked eating food that, yes, maybe had a few more calories, but was made from real ingredients.

  8. Yeah! Food is my passion and it's always so exciting to see people jump on board real food!! <3

  9. I love this!! I started eating clean almost 2 years ago. I didn't get serious about it until I ran 2 marathons and didn't lose ONE POUND. I lost 27 lbs this year so far! Here's my post about my 25lb milestone. http://foodfaithfitness.blogspot.com/2011/08/25-pounds.html

  10. Interesting and. It important information is really beneficial for us. Thanks