‘Clean eating’ is a term that’s pinballing its way around the health and fitness industry pretty frequently at the moment, and it’s certainly a very popular way of living. Whilst thousands of us hashtag our Instagram and Twitter posts with #eatingclean , are we all clear on what it actually means, why it’s important and how we got to this point in needing to assess our food in the first place? Is  it really worth committing to…

Just a Fad?
Some folk like to suggest it’s become a fad similar to most “diets” but it is here where the first obstacle is struck. Us health and fitness types scour at the term ‘diet’ because it denotes all sorts of uncomfortable imagery from well marketed but downright crazy books of the 80’s and 90’s. Nowadays we like to encourage people to eat real food (yes, fake food really has become that much of a problem). Therefore recognisable and easily digested commands such as ‘eat clean’ allow us to get closer to this nutritional goal.

Clean Machine
With so many of us preaching about clean eating, there is almost a pressure to jump on the band wagon and become ‘clean’ too, but it’s a big commitment, and it can make simple things like dining out or grabbing food on the go a little awkward. Pretty soon you can guarantee that meal prep becomes your new number one hobby. Suddenly ‘I can’t come out, I’m going to the gym,’ is replaced by ‘I can’t come out, I’m meal prepping.’ Meal prep is good though, and this forward thinking is key to successful healthy living and reaching your health and fitness goals.

What exactly is clean eating?
Eating clean involves not consuming anything that isn’t of a natural source and close to its original state. Anything like processed meats, cakes, sweets and biscuits, crisps, bread, pasta, ready meals, cereals and fizzy drinks are out. It’s similar to Paleo in this way as it often eradicates many modern foods in one fell swoop… a good start in any nutritional plan. It’s not a secret that many processed foods are pumped with chemicals and additives to increase shelf life and/or make them more moreish. During the processing many of the natural nutrients and vitamins are destroyed and beware of seemingly healthy snacks such as fruit bars, they tend to be high in sugar with minimal nutrients. Alongside this, some more obvious processed foods such as cakes, sweets and pasta are also ‘empty calories’, meaning they fill a hole when you’re hungry, but offer little in the way of nutritional value to the body.

Why Bother?
Whilst it might sound like a lot of effort, eating clean is actually a pretty healthy way of living, and in theory (if you do it properly) at every meal you’ll be fuelling your body with nutritionally rich foods, giving it the energy it needs and everything it requires to repair, restore and grow. In one, clean eating is: Non-processed meats, fish, fruit and vegetables, natural grains such as porridge, wholegrain rice, and quinoa, nuts and seeds… doesn’t that list sound sooo much nicer than the one above?!

As human beings, we were meant to fuel our bodies with the above, and have done for centuries gone by. It’s only over the last 60 odd years that we’ve picked up the bad habit of eating unnatural processed foods and at what cost? These modern day habits are not surprising though, as ultra processed foods that have been genetically modified are packed full of additives that over stimulate the production of dopamine, the feel good hormone that gives us a high, meaning we crave these foods that make us feel good temporarily. What’s more, is genetically modified foods have been linked to cancer and infertility and highly processed foods are stripped of all the nutrients and goodness found in them to start with.

It’s Not so Hard…
So it would appear, clean eating isn’t only a fad, it’s actually a pretty sensible approach to nutrition and lifestyle, and it’s not all that difficult to follow either. It may require some small lifestyle changes, but once you are fuelling your body with so much goodness, you’ll soon notice you feel more energised, sharper and happier.cClean eating also isn’t that tricky to implement into your every day diet, and no you don’t have to use ingredients that are near enough impossible to get hold of, or say no to every dinner date you get invited on, clean eating is great and it’s easy to follow once you get into the swing of things.

Be Mindful…
Just take a little time to think ahead, and yes, you may have to meal prep, but if you are on the go, instead of grabbing a bag of crisps or a sandwich, grab a piece of fruit or veg instead. It’s not rocket science, just mindful eating and making ‘clean’ choices. From now on the microwavable meal doesn’t exist, lunch doesn’t mean a packaged sandwich and you can start feeling like a real (super) human!

words by Lawrence Price from http://www.fafitsake.com/