Clean eating – two words that have hundreds of interpretations, all somewhat different depending on the individual. For example, many people believe that almond milk is ‘cleaner’ than cow’s milk – despite the fact that it contains emulsifiers, stabilisers and only about 2.1% of almond in a 1-litre pack, while full-fat cow’s milk is natural and wholesome.
Another example is agave, a commercial sweetener. Many people believe that replacing sugar with agave is an exercise in clean eating. Looking at the number of calories per spoon, though, it actually has more calories than sugar. Also, although agave has a low glycemic index (GI), it has high fructose content which can be difficult for your body to digest.
As illustrated by the examples above, clean eating is subject to one’s interpretation and judgement, as opposed to a standardized scientific measurement.
Considering all the arguments, we choose to view clean eating as eating whole foods in their most natural state. For example, instead of drinking store-bought orange juice (cold-pressed or otherwise), you could buy fresh oranges from the market and squeeze them yourself. Another example: instead of pouring bottled dressing onto your salad, why not whisk olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, add a few coriander leaves, and a dash of pepper and salt to create your own dressing.
Even so, some critics say that not all food in their most natural state is ‘clean’. Take eggs for example. You could buy eggs in their most natural state, but chances are they have been mass produced, laid by hens you know nothing about, and may contain traces of antibiotics.
I guess by now you have enough examples to conclude that it is really hard to know what clean eating actually refers to.
The bottom line is this, instead of following a fad diet, eat a well-balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Limit artificial food products. Allow yourself to enjoy a bowl of ice cream or a piece of cake from time to time. Exercise more. And you will find yourself feeling good and living well.
- Breakfast: Coconut quinoa and chia porridge from the BBC Good Food website. This proves that a healthy breakfast can taste so good.
- Lunch: Bulgur and lentil salad from good old Jamie Oliver. The aromas of flat-leaf parsley, mint and dill, freshly chopped and mixed in by you, are truly refreshing.
- Snack: Grain-free coconut shortbread crackers from TheHealthyApple.com. This recipe is created by Amie Valpone, a Manhattan Personal Chef and Culinary Nutritionist.