What is Clean Eating?
What is clean eating? It’s just a modern way to define healthy eating
The definition of clean eating varies depending on the source. Some define food as being ‘clean’ if it is unprocessed, organic and of the highest possible quality. Here at The Green Apple Club, we refer to clean food as being simply unprocessed. Organic produce is the ideal choice of food in our diet, but in our current economy, this ideal is not achievable on many people’s budgets.
What is unprocessed food?
Unprocessed food is food as you would find it in nature if you were to pick it straight from a tree, or dig it up from the ground. Fruit and vegetables from the fresh produce aisle in your supermarket or grocer are perfect examples of whole, unprocessed produce, all of which are suitable for a clean eating diet.
Unprocessed meat refers to whole joints of meat that have not been treated with any preservatives, sugar or additives. Legs of lamb, joints of pork and beef steaks are all good examples of unprocessed meat.
Sausages, gammon and bacon from supermarkets are all examples of meat that is processed with preservatives, usually nitrites, and have often had additional ingredients such as sulphites and wheat flour added to them. These foods are not suitable for a clean eating diet. You may be able to find unprocessed (preservative-free) sausages and ham from a reputable butcher or farm shop, but you will pay extra for this luxury.
What is minimally processed food?
At The Green Apple Club we encourage the occasional consumption of minimally processed foods such as brown rice, wholegrain pasta and preservative-free wholegrain bread. These foods have undergone a processing procedure in order to produce the final product, however the nutritional wholegrain element of the food has been retained.
White rice, white pasta and white bread have been extensively processed and refined to remove the bran and the germ. This processing gives a finer texture and prolongs the foods shelf-life, but it removes much of the nutritional value and fibre from the product. Wholegrains are complex carbohydrates; they release energy slowly, as well as being nutritious and filling. The consumption of wholegrains has been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer1.
We recommend including wholegrains in your clean eating diet because they are a healthy and budget friendly way of bulking out meals.
Processed food consumption is related to obesity
Our grandparents ate very differently to the way that we eat now. As our lives have become busier and our free time has decreased, convenience foods have become readily available. The spiralling obesity crisis is no longer thought to be the result of us eating too much fat in our diets, rather it can be linked to the abundance of sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed vegetable oils that are present in this convenience food2.
Processed food and other health problems?
It is increasingly recognised that what we eat directly impacts on a whole range of health conditions. Poor diet can cause certain types of cancer and experts assert that as many as 1 in 10 cancers could be prevented by making healthy food choices3. Unhealthy diet can also cause or exacerbate conditions such as migraine, rosacea, IBS, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Whole food is the answer
If poor diet and reliance on processed, convenience foods has contributed to our expanding waistlines and the increase in health conditions such as diabetes and migraine, a clean eating diet full of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fresh meat, with no refined carbohydrates or sugar can significantly improve our health.
One of the many advantages of eating an unprocessed diet is that it is easy! You don’t need to count calories, follow a points system, pop expensive vitamin pills or meal replacement shakes. By eating plentiful, balanced meals with naturally occurring fat, protein and carbohydrate, you can improve your health and lose weight (if that is your goal) without feeling hungry. We can show you how to cut refined, processed food from your diet for a whole month. What’s more, we’ll show you how to plan your meals, shop and prepare to save you time and money at the same time.
About the author:
Sonia Nicholas is a Biomedical Scientist and Freelance Clinical Science Writer & Editor. She has been working in the field of clinical science for fifteen years.
Sonia believes that everyone can improve their health by eating a clean diet – a claim that scientific research increasingly supports. Sonia also believes that healthy, clean eating is accessible to all and doesn’t have to be an expensive lifestyle choice.
All of the information on The Green Apple Club website is in line with current, recommended Government guidelines on nutrition. All of the articles on the website are evidence based and fully scientifically referenced.
Article tags: clean eating, healthy eating, food for good health