Clean Eating seems to be travelling around popular media sights pretty fast… recipes are popping up, ideas and tips, sometimes making it look easy sometimes hard. But what’s clean eating really all about? Is it just a trend that will stick around for a little while and then blow over like most health trends? Or will it leave a lasting impression on those who practice it.
What is Clean Eating
Well there’s no hard and fast definition of “clean eating” but it is pretty simple… It’s not about clean food as in wash your veg before consumption (although that is a good idea) but rather whole foods instead of the readily available processed and fast foods. The idea behind Clean Eating is not weight loss or weight gain, in fact it’s not a diet to try for a few months or a year, it’s not a diet at all. Clean Eating is a lifestyle and the idea is to promote health and encourage individuals to become aware of what they are eating (plus the benefits of lowering sugar, sodium, and artificial ingredient intake.)
If it’s not a diet, what is it?
Firstly, what’s not great about being able to be healthy without going on a diet? That word seems to be a big turn off when it comes to health. It’s not a diet? Well no not so much as in restricting oneself to small portions of food or special kinds of food in order to lose weight…not that kind of diet. Clean Eating is actually a lifestyle, and a very popular one too. In fact it’s popularity may lie in it’s lack of super strict rules and it’s ability to encourage healthier eating by allowing people to pick the foods they like and reap healthy rewards.
So why the fuss?
While the term “clean eating” is relatively new the concept is not. It originates from the 1960’s and it’s health-focused condemnation of diets containing high amounts of processed foods. Not all processed foods are equal, keep in mind, and range from minimally processed items like inorganic fruits and veg from the grocery store to the more heavily processed bags of frozen fish and chicken. The closer you are to the minimally processed foods the closer you are to eating clean.
Since Clean Eating is not a strict diet and the “rules” vary widely it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not about losing or gaining but rather simply eating healthier. It varies from serious clean eaters who forego anything processed at all and stick to fresh picked produce from the garden to a more lenient lifestyle focused on eating only whole foods but allowing convenient (and minimally processed) foods including fruit, veg, meat and dairy from the supermarket.
Why it Matters and Is it For You
Think of clean eating as your balance, your happy medium. It’s not a strict diet, you can pretty much eat what you like and skip what you don’t like. No point in forcing yourself to eat spinach if you don’t like it when you can opt for something more agreeable instead. There’s a lot of lee way in eating clean and a lot of benefits. Research shows that eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help in the prevention and control of weight gain, which means a lower risk of chronic diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and stroke to name a few! Yet it’s not just adding more vegetables and grains to your plate! That’s a great way to go but clean eating the right way also means cutting down on added salts and sugars. Remember the balance!
Sounds simple doesn’t it…basically it is. Leave out the fast processed food and focus on whole foods. But there it went…”fast”…out the window. Indeed finding time to prepare healthy meals can be tough, there certainly aren’t many drive thru clean fast food places…and even if there is one on the block who knows if it checks out right? To make it easier some suggest creating weekly or monthly shopping lists and keeping it simple and manageable. Making make-ahead meals helps, preparing a salad in a jar, or cooking double and enjoying the leftovers. Whole fruit and veggie smoothies are fun and can be a meal in a glass. Place the ingredients in a jar the night before and toss them in the blender in the morning for a quick breakfast. Clean eating is a lifestyle, not a diet, so remember in order to make it easier and more fun a weekly break could help it last a lot longer than trying for a long streak.
Cozy Up with These DIY Fall Drinks
Autumn is so exciting! It’s chilly, pretty, and awesome. Warm sweaters, cozy reading socks, and delicious hot autumn drinks. Nothing feels cozier than curling up with a hot cup of your favorite fall drink under a warm throw and not feeling guilty about staying inside because, well, it’s far too chilly out to be out there. So here is a list of our favorite, most delicious fall drinks. Enjoy!
Decadent Nutella Hot Chocolate *Crock Pot
- 6 1/2 cups skim milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 T vanilla
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1 cup Nutella
- 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in the Crock Pot and cook on low for 2 hours. For a less sweet, more milky version, add 1 to 2 cups more skim milk.
Pumpkin Spice Coffee
- Brewed Coffee
- 1 T Pumpkin pie filling
- Pumpkin pie spice to garnish
- Vanilla creamer
Mix pumpkin pie filling and a splash of vanilla creamer to taste with cup of brewed coffee. Add whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice to garnish as desired. Enjoy!
Read Next: 50 Warm and Cozy Fall Dinner Recipes
CARAMEL APPLE CIDER
- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp apple pie spice
- 1/4 cup caramel
- cinnamon stick (optional)
Cook to simmer and serve!
Salted Caramel Mocha
- Mocha latte k-cup kit from Starbucks
- Sea salt
- Caramel Sauce
- Turbinado sugar (for garnish
Add a dash of sea salt and caramel sauce to Starbucks mocha latte k-cup kit. Garnish with whipped cream and turbinado sugar as desired. Enjoy!
Read next: Easy and Delicious Butternut squash Chili
Easy and Delicious Butternut Squash Chili – Clean Eating Recipe
My husband and I recently decided to try eating better by incorporating healthier carbs into our diets and getting rid of excessive amounts of grains, etc. There is currently no bread whatsoever in the kitchen. How weird. Weird but really nice! One of the new meals we’ve tried that really stood out for flavor was this Easy and Delicious Butternut Squash Chili. Check it out below, and leave a comment about how it turned out for you!
Butternut Squash Chili
Serves 8. prep time: 30 min. total time: 1 hour
3 tbsp avocado oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 1/4 tsp sea salt, divided
3/4 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1 small jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (abo 1 medium squash)
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tbsp each ground cumin and dried oregeno
4 tsp chile powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 14-oz BPA-free cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
optional toppings: sliced green onion, shredded cheddar, chopped avocado, fresh cilantro
1. In a large dutch oven on medium, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add onion, carrot, celery and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper: cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in jalepeno and garlic: saute 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil, squash and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper: cook, stirring, 1 minute.
2. Add beef, cumin, oregano, chile powder, paprika, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt; cook, stirring to combine and break up meat until beef is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour in tomatoes and broth. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
3. Garnish with optional toppings of choice. Or let cool then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
other recipes to try:
The Perfect Winter Lunch: Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup
The (colder) winter is here, diets are in and morale is low. The solution: a nice tasty bowl of delicious soup that is both easy to make and a reminder of those exotic holidays spent abroad.
2 tbsp tamarind paste
4 red Thai chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2.5cm/1-inch piece Thai ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp palm sugar or caster (superfine) sugar
8 lime leaves, roughly torn
1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups of chicken stock
350 g/12 oz boneless chicken breast
100 g/3 ½ oz carrots, very thinly sliced
350 g/12 ozsweet potato, diced
100 g/3 ½ oz baby corn cobs, halved
3 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
100 g/3 ½ oz cherry tomatoes, halved
150 g/5 ½ oz flat rice noodles
Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, to garnish
1. Place the tamarind paste, Thai chillies, garlic, Thai ginger, fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves and chicken stock in a large preheated wok and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes.
2. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the chicken. Add the chicken to the wok and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring the mixture well.
3. Reduce the heat and add the carrots, sweet potato and baby corn cobs to the wok. Leave to simmer uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender and the chicken is completely cooked through.
4. Stir in the coriander (cilantro), cherry tomatoes and noodles. Leave the soup to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the noodles are tender. Garnish and serve hot.
Tamarind paste is produced from the seed pod of the tamarind tree. It adds both a brown colour and tang to soups and gravies. If unavailable, dilute molasses (dark muscovado) sugar or treacle with lime juice.
Bon appetite and be sure to let us know how the recipe turned out for you in the comments’ section below.