I started my journey into all things holistic after a series of vegan detoxes, YouTube videos and hours upon hours of research. Once I found out the truth about the western diet, there was no stopping me, there was absolutely NO WAY I could go back to eating processed foods laden with sugar, pesticides, preservatives and God knows what else.
So what is clean eating exactly??
Well, depends on who you’re asking.
Clean eating in my opinion, is a diet that consists of eating foods in their most natural state, without heavy processing or the addition of preservatives, chemicals or pesticides. So this would mean eating a diet that consists of fresh organic food like fruit, vegetables & meat; foods that don’t come in packages (albeit not all packaged foods are bad for you, you should always check the ingredients for any added nasties). In other words, eat what your grandmama used to eat.
I’m not gonna lie though, clean eating has become the total hipster thing to do right now, along with having a satchel, a bike and black ripped jeans; and hey, if that’s your thing that’s fine by me, but I’m trying to make a point here as it’s more than just a fashion trend. I think it’s really important that you make informed, intentional decisions about what you put into your body, coz guess what? When the next trend becomes something ridiculous like, oh I dunno say living on juice - wait, that already was a thing, and it just made everyone hangry - are you gonna jump on that ship, even though it means you’re destroying your body?
You only get one shot with this body that you live in, so treat it like a temple.
Ultimately, you should really give your body what is nutritious and also listen to what your body wants. Just coz Becky with the good hair is vegan doesn’t mean you have to be as well. Do it if it works for you.
Also, think about why you want to do this. Do you want to look and feel great? Do you want to have more energy to look after your little ones or meet your demanding work schedule? Do you want to live a long life free from illness so that you can enjoy your loved ones? These motivating factors are much more likely to keep you going in the long haul, because they matter more than what’s trending at the moment.
Are processed foods really that bad?
I bet you knew that already, but you probably don’t know how bad. Alejandro Junger from the Hunger For Change Film put it perfectly, “The problem is we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food like products.”
Allow me to explain. Processed foods usually contain a lot of sugar usually hidden in the form of HFCS or high fructose corn syrup, especially in low fat foods to substitute for the lack of taste. They are also usually GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and contain pesticides and chemicals that you can’t pronounce. Here’s how these food like substances affect your body:
Sugar to sum it up, is highly addictive, toxic and fatal. You won’t hear this from the mainstream corporations, and that’s because the sugar and low fat industries are big business. High sugar consumption damages your liver, causes weight gain, increases your risk of disease and is directly linked to heart disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypertension and dementia (yep, you heard right, DEMENTIA).
GM (Genetically Modified) foods are foods that have had their genes interfered with. This tinkering at microscopic levels means that genetic engineering yields unexpected results and can create new toxins and allergens. What’s crazy about it all is that no long term testing has been carried out. Animal feeding tests have shown concerning results. So who knows how this is gonna affect us in the long run?!
Pesticides are used everywhere! Normally used to kill weeds and pests, you will find these toxic chemicals anywhere in the food chain. So even the meat you buy will contain pesticides,as the animal feed would have been contaminated. Pesticides are strongly linked to so many health hazards such as ADHD in children, all sorts of cancers, endocrine disruption which essentially leads to infertility, birth defects and hormonal irregularity to name a few.
Chemical Preservatives are meant to stop bacteria growth and food going off in general but at the risk of your health. Those types of preservatives are linked to asthma, hyperactivity in children, heart damage and cancer.
By transitioning to a clean, wholesome diet with real, fresh, organic food you can save yourself from all the troubles that processed can bring. I know it requires work and commitment, but isn’t your health, in fact isn’t YOUR LIFE worth it???
Here’s what you can do.
It can be overwhelming finding out how the current western diet is in essence death in a pot, but there’s no need to worry or panic, you are still alive after all!
The key is to introduce change slow and steady. Remember, this is not another fad diet, this is a lifelong journey of taking back control of your health, so you are better off pacing yourself or you will most likely become overwhelmed and probably give up.
Here are 3 simple steps that you can implement to get you started:
Eat fresh local produce and avoid packaged foods like ready made meals and junk food to avoid chemical preservatives.
Buy organic food as much as you can to ditch the harmful pesticides usually contained in large supermarket chain foods. You should really aim to always buy organic meat and dairy where possible.
Stop buying GM foods like corn, soy and canola (and all the food products derived from them). Always go for the Non-GMO certified alternatives where you can.
This is by far the hardest step due to the addictive nature of sugar. Cut out all processed sugar from your diet and switch to fresh fruit and natural sugars/sweeteners such as honey or coconut sugar. Just don’t go overboard! Too much sugar, even the organic and natural kind is still sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
Remember, only introduce one change at a time so that you’re more likely to stick to clean eating in the long run.
Have you tried going 'clean' before? How did it work out?