Clean Eating 101

Definition: “Clean eating is a deceptively simple concept. ... At its simplest, clean eating is about eating whole foods, or "real" foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.”

Ahhhhhhh, such a simple concept yet why is it so hard? That is the million-dollar question! 

Well, unfortunately a majority of the foods that are readily available to us have been processed, refined, handled and are extremely far away from their natural forms. 

My point is not to get into a scientific breakdown of foods or a debate about organic vs. non-organic. Or if GMO’s are a valid concern. There are many different variations of GMO’s and not all of them totally creep me out. The ones I chose to stay away from are the ones that you cannot wash away with your produce wash i.e. Bt crops and Roundup Ready crops. And for the sake of time and my sanity, I find it easier to just stay way from GMO's all together, buy Non-GMO labeled products, because who has the time or energy to research at that level...not this gal! To keep it simple and not completely terrifying/depressing, the fact is, the foods we are consuming now are not the foods we were consuming 50 years ago… hell even 20 years ago. And as a result, our country continues to get sicker and sicker with obesity, heart disease, cancer, auto-immune disorders and food allergy numbers at an all-time high. And we need to get back to the basic. Back to clean, whole foods!!! 

Organic, gluten free, non-GMO labels have gotten a bad rap being tagged as “hipster” or only for the rich and famous. But that is a huge misconception. Organic is basically going back to the basics! Is it more expensive…yes?  But so are medical treatments and prescription drugs that people continue to spend a fortune on every day mean while still consuming the poisonous food that are continuing to make them sick. 

I choose to kick it old school by buying local & in-season whenever possible, buying organic and growing my own foods when it permits like the homesteading wannabe that I am. This way I know they are as close to “clean” as possible. Is it perfect and fool proof? Hell no! But is it better than foods that have been processed 20+ times, ridden with chemicals and changed to the point it doesn’t even genetically resemble what it was intended to be? Yes!! 

I saw a meme on Facebook saying something like, “We have been eating bread for thousands of years and now all of the sudden everyone is gluten intolerant.” [And it had a cute little graphic of a hat wearing, bearded, man bun rocking 20 something-year-old eating gluten-free avocado toast.] Well yes, that is true but why? Could it be because the bread we were eating thousands of years ago had three ingredients and those three ingredients where in their purest form? Our bodies knew exactly what to do with them, how to break them down and how to use them as fuel and nutrients. Look at the ingredients of a loaf of white bread today. I promise, you will not be able to pronounce or identify 78% of the ingredients listed (totally made up percentage, but you get the point). So how do we expect our bodies to know how to break it down and how to use these synthetic chemicals? 

Why non-GMO + organic foods are a big part of clean eating: 

-Nutrient dense (Organic, non-GMO farming uses nourishing soils higher in antioxidants and nutrients)
-No synthetic pesticides
-No antibiotics
-No harmful impact on ecosystems, human and animal health

READ YOUR LABELS! Care about what you are putting in your body. We have very little control over a lot of things in our lives. BUT we do have complete control over what we put in our bodies. And the beautiful thing is, it can control so many other things like our physical appearance and our mental and physical health. So, moral of the story, if you’re a control freak & who isn’t, start controlling the hell out of your food! You will not be sorry!

Whether your goal is weight loss or just over-all health, clean eating will result in BOTH! 

P.S. This is all in a perfect world scenario. Do I occasionally eat out and consume GMO/non-organic foods? Yes. Do I buy products that aren't organic because of budget reasons or availability? Yes. It's all about balance and you do the best with what you have. The most important part is making a conscious effort to eat whole, clean foods and cut out the processed BS. Does it always have to! I just wanted to include this little disclaimer in case anyone freaks out when they see me out eating Mexican food and slamming margaritas. But I can promise you this, the next day and ones to follow will consist of some badass clean, nourishing foods! 

Clean EatingAngela Wingard