Clean Eating for Busy Moms; FAQ
OK busy moms, let’s talk about CLEAN EATING. Here is the video about the introduction of my new series that I am excited to be bringing you all over the next 30 days! Please watch the video first:
Ok, so, welcome! Let’s start with the basics! As I mentioned in my video, people ask me all the time:
- What is clean eating?
- What is a clean food?
- How do you start to eat clean?
- Is it expensive?
Here are 6 FAQ’s about clean eating for us to start out with today:
“Clean eating” is a phrase that’s suddenly everywhere. But what exactly is it?
If the notion of eating clean sounds a little vague, that’s because there’s not one definition for the practice — reasonable people might disagree on what it means. Additionally, not everything you’ll hear or read about clean eating is backed up by scientific evidence.
Nevertheless, there are a few basic principles about cleaning up your diet that most advocates can agree upon. We spoke to two food experts to learn a little more about the nebulous phrase.
1. What’s “dirty” about our food, anyway?
“Clean” eating is less about literal dirt on the surface of your food, and more about the things you can’t necessarily see. “Primarily, it means to eat the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups, embracing foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy proteins,” says bestselling cookbook author Attila Hildmann, who is credited with popularizing vegetarian eating in his sausage-loving home country of Germany. (His books, “Vegan for Fun” and “Vegan for Fit,” are now available in the U.S.)
“In daily life, (clean eating) means to stay away from junk foods and processed foods,” Hildman said. “When you try to eat clean, you try to give your body the best fuel that’s out there — foods that will keep you healthy and make you slim.”
Clean eating can also mean looking more closely at where your food comes from, said Rachel Knopf Shey, a New York-based registered dietitian nutritionist.
“I think for a lot of people there’s a feeling that this centralized, industrialized food complex has messed with our food and made it a lot less healthy than it has been in the past,” she said.
That could mean buying organic produce to avoid pesticide residue, or avoiding meat that comes from large factory farms in favor of meat that is raised on a healthier diet — without antibiotics or hormones.
“Meat that is not grass-fed and pasture raised, more likely than not, has been raised in filthy surroundings. Buying regionally from a farmer’s market, or from local butchers that’s much cleaner to me,” Shey said.
2. Is clean eating a diet?
Clean eating isn’t necessarily about weight loss, though that can be one of its effects. “Back in 2000, I lost my father due to a heart attack. It really shocked me and made me think about healthy food choices,” Hildmann said. He gave up processed and fast food — and, eventually, meat — in favor of meals rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, and lost over 70 pounds.
“Now it’s something I embrace because I love to do it,” he said. “If you force yourself into healthy habits, it’s not healthy anymore. Eat some cake, eat a steak if you compare that to how you feel when eating a healthier diet, you might stick to (the latter).”
3. Do I have to go on a “cleanse”?
The current craze of eating only raw food or fresh juices for a set period of time doesn’t have to be a part of a “clean” diet – nor is it medically necessary, said Shey. “People feel like their bodies are quote-unquote ‘dirty’ or have these toxins,” she said. “But cleanses aren’t based in scientific data. Really, our organs are what cleanse our bodies.”
People who claim to feel better after a cleanse aren’t necessarily fibbing, though.
“When you eat a lot of processed foods, a lot of pastries and a lot of fried foods, you can feel a lot better when you cut that stuff out,” Shey said. “It’s about eating a lot more vegetables and fruits” – even if they don’t come in clever packaging.
4. Can meat be part of a “clean” diet?
Yes, if you want it to be, Hildmann and Shey say — though they both choose to avoid it. “When I think about eating something that’s clean, I don’t believe in animal products,” says Hildmann, citing the heart-health risks of too much saturated fat that have been documented in research.
“But I don’t have a problem with somebody who eats meat. I embrace the idea that people eat vegan once a week, for instance. Even if you try once a week to eat better, it can have tremendous effects.”
5. So how would I start?
Buying fresh, whole foods at the grocery store or farmer’s market is a good place to start, both our experts agree. When you do buy packaged foods, check out the ingredients list and nutrition label. Is the food high in sodium? Does it contain added sugars, or a long list of other colorings, fillers and preservatives?
A good rule of thumb, according to Hildmann: Foods that have more than five items on their ingredients list are probably not “clean.” For cleaner versions of the convenience foods you like, get back to basics: Instead of buying blueberry yogurt with added sweeteners and less than 5% real blueberries, buy unsweetened yogurt and add your own fresh fruit.
For meat, said Shey, try buying directly from a farmer’s market in your area, or at the grocery store look for grass-fed meat and dairy products raised without hormones or antibiotics.
6. Isn’t this more expensive and time-consuming?
It’s possible you might spend more money on high-quality meat and produce, and more time preparing your meals from scratch than heating up packaged convenience foods.
But, clean eating advocates say, it’s an investment in your future health.
“I think it’s a question of priorities,” said Hildmann. “When I think about the health of American citizens, there are about 600,000 people that die of heart disease every year.
“If you don’t put something healthy inside of your body, maybe that’s more expensive, but in the long run you might pay for it.”
-Article By: Tracy Miller, New York Daily News
In my next series throughout the month, I will touch upon more topics and tips about this, including, some of my favorite recipes, where to shop to eat clean on a budget, meal plans, on-the-go snacks, and more!
Thanks for tuning in, and if you found any of this useful, please “share” with some friends (it only takes about 10 seconds to share below).