What exactly does 'clean eating' mean anyway?


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Clean eating seems like a relatively new phrase since we started seeing #cleaneating next to photos of food on Facebook, Instagram and even on neon tank tops at the gym. 

But clean eating as a concept started in the 1960s as a backlash to overly processed foods, and has since made its way to the barbells and biceps of our bros at the gym and foodies alike.

What exactly does that mean though? There’s a different definition for clean eating, depending on who you ask. So we put together a few quick tips for eating clean.


Lifestyle vs. awareness

For some people, clean eating is a strict lifestyle, while for others it’s a way to purge the cupboards of bad foods and bad habits. Check out some of these great clean eating recipes. Want to clean up your diet but not fully commit? Check out where your food falls on the health spectrum.


Avoiding processed foods

Choose natural, whole-grain and unrefined foods, and stay away from those that are processed. This really is about eating more natural foods, free of additives and preservatives. Also, watch out for fats, sodium, sugar and processed foods by reading labels and choosing products that have natural ingredients. This is important because there are some misconceptions that eating clean means doing away with foods like pastas or crackers, which isn’t necessarily true.  Eating clean means getting rid of foods with large amounts of sugar and sodium. If you can identify the ingredients in a product, then you’re still eating clean.


Choosing protein wisely

Every meal should contain some protein, but make sure that the meat comes from grass-fed stock. Otherwise, your meat most likely comes from factory-raised animals that are fed corn and soy and pumped with hormones to fatten them up quickly. Not only is grass-fed meat free of those impurities, but it also tends to taste better.


Eating frequently but with smaller portions

Meals should be small and consumed 5 to 6 times per day. This helps to keep blood-sugar levels balanced and to fight off hunger through portion control.


Avoiding empty-calorie drinks

Stay away from high-calorie drinks. Stick mostly to water and unsweetened teas instead of sugar-dense, empty-calorie specialty coffee drinks or sodas. Again, clean eating is about making the most of your calories by eating natural, unprocessed and low-sugar items.