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0 Comments | Jan 27, 2011

What is clean eating?

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Clean eating.

We’ve heard the phrase before, and we all think we know what it means.  But the truth is, it means something different to each of us, depending on the nutritional paradigm to which we subscribe.  Most of us are old enough to have been conscious through the “carbo loading” 80’s, Atkins’ lost 90’s, and the “fat free” first decade of the 21st century, which means that most of us are pretty confused about what really constitutes “clean eating.”

The new definition of clean eating.

Here it is, in a nutshell:  eat meat and vegetables, seeds and nuts, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.

Some amplification might be in order, so here goes.

  • Don’t eat processed crap.  If it has a food label, it probably isn’t food.  Do your shopping on the outskirts of the grocery store (if you must shop at a grocery store – a farmer’s market is infinitely better).  Buy fresh food.  With very few exceptions, if it comes in a box, you should avoid it.
  • Don’t eat bread.  It’s processed.  If you must eat bread, do so in very sparing quantities.  I know, that flies in the face of the old USDA food pyramid.  But just because people thought it, doesn’t mean it’s true.  After all, we used to think the sun orbited the earth, and before that, we thought the earth was flat.
  • Don’t eat sugar.  The abundance of sugar, and it’s evil twin High Fructose Corn Syrup (boo!), is the most plausible explanation for the obesity epidemic I’ve yet encountered.  I know that’s a tall order.  But I didn’t say that clean eating would be easy at first (it won’t).  Trust me though.  It’s easy after the first month.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.  Biochemically, it’s just like sugar, with two exceptions:  first, it’s more toxic and carcinogenic. Second, it’s metabolized in the brain as well as the rest of the body, which accounts for the intoxication.  Take it from a sober alcoholic:  if the thought of abstaining from alcohol brings difficulty and resistance in your mind, you’re well on your way to having a problem anyway.  Best to knock it off now.
  • Go organic, if possible.  Fresh is terrific, organic is better.  Why?  Because the chemicals, genetic engineering, and artificial growth hormones inherent to modern agribusiness aren’t good for you, no matter what Monsanto and the other chemical giants would have us believe.  That’s not paranoia, it’s biochemistry.  Unfortunately, it’s also politics, so you don’t hear much about it in mainstream media.
  • Order a salad the next time you’re at the drive through.  Don’t worry about the dressing – contrary to popular belief, most fats are perfectly fine, in the quantities you’re likely to consume them.

Is clean eating difficult?

A little bit.  You’ll spend more for your food.  You’ll need to exercise willpower for a while.

But your entire life will be better.

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