This topic is one that has many opinions, and for good reason: what we have been taught about food is very outdated, and many new thought leaders are bringing some much needed awareness to this majorly important area of wellness.
This has been my life, as I have been in the restaurant industry totalling close to 25 years!
I have worked with many creatives whose outlet is through cooking and creating masterpieces with food. Creating visually stimulating dishes with complex and layered flavors that seem so unlikely, is an experience I never get sick of...but once I started discovering and learning and growing more curious about the foods that I would consume and its correlation to the illnesses & symptoms I would experience, the light bulb went off in my head, and here we are.
So to get to the root of this, so that we have a clear understanding of what clean eating means, let's start off with a definition:
Clean eating means eating whole, real, non-GMO foods. That's it. Whole, real foods.
Whole, real foods that can be fresh or packaged, and foods you can quickly identify by their name.
The idea of clean eating is to consume foods that are not loaded with toxins, chemicals, or an abundance of preservatives. It's about fueling the body with clean, pure foods from the Earth and consuming those foods to as close to its natural state as possible.
My clean eating journey started well over a decade ago, when I was introduced to Herbalife. From there, I began to explore being a vegetarian, and from THERE, I discovered being paleo, and that lifestyle really clicked with me. It gave me guidelines that made sense, that helped me fuel my body with lots of wholesome foods, and eliminated a lot of the food groups and food products that can lead to serious illness and disease.
I went from eating anything and everything, which include a solid majority of processed and chemically-produced foods, to wholesome and minimally-processed foods...and a lot of symptoms I had struggled with, including major ear infections (that kept me on antibiotics for years), skin lesions, eczema and the beginnings of psoriasis, were not only cleared up but also CURED, for good!
My journey to clean eating didn't happen overnight, and it surely was a learning curve. As I mentioned above, I have been on this clean eating journey for close to a decade now, and seeing how my body responded to changing what I put inside my body for HEALTH REASONS ALONE, I have been a clean eater for close to four years now.
PLEASE NOTE: It is extremely important to me to state that while this lifestyle is what my normal eating habits look like, it is NOT to say that I never enjoy other foods that don't fall into this category.
Dairy, gluten, processed sugars & sweeteners, soy, corn, grains are all things I do not consume normally, but YES, pizza is thoroughly enjoyed about once a month. A seven-layer slice of cake from my most fave bakery is enjoyed on special occasions. I will add a sprinkle of cheese once in awhile that I purchase at my farmer's market. I will absolutely indulge in some hot, fresh bread from a local baker. If I consume foods that I normally do not eat, I try to buy local, because again, they are most likely not using a boatload of artificial, toxic ingredients...THAT is the key, for me at least. All or nothing was my way of life before I gave up drinking, and learning to moderate, especially with food, has given me the tools to eat clean 90% of the time...and the other 10% is enjoyed in moderation, and it is a point I want to make sure is very clear here.
There have been some AMAZING brands and companies that have created food products that align with this principle, that are changing the way consumers look at packaged and processed foods. Packaged foods tend to have a lot of toxic chemicals in them, in order to have a longer shelf life, not only on grocery stores shelves, but in your home/pantry shelves, too. Today, there are a *few* selections we as consumers can choose from and purchase, that have real, whole foods without any of the chemical gunk included. A few of my fave brands to keep an eye out for are:
Siete Foods- packaged mexican condiments, tortillas, dips and chips
Primal Kitchen- revolutionizing the condiment/marinade game to give your cooking some PIZZAZ!
Larabars- on-the-go snack bars made with dates and other wholesome ingredients
Trader Joe's- grocery chain that continues to deliver snacks, dips, and other packed products with all clean ingredients
So now that we've covered what clean eating is, how I moved into a clean eating lifestyle, and gave you a few brands as clean eating options, I'd like to share an entire category of this blog that is dedicated to clean eating- my nourish blog series.
This category of blog posts are all recipes I have used and/or created that bring homemade cooking to life, without the worry of toxins or chemicals in your food. They are high fuel, yummy, delicious and good for you foods to enjoy all year long! And please know- clean eating does NOT mean you skimp out on the flavor...being a food and beverage gal, I pride myself in finding and creating healthy, nourishing and clean recipes that never hold back on flavor, because eating should still be a place of creation, of love, of passion, and of healthy nourishment. To check out the nourish blog series, click here.
I hope you find this blog post helpful and I would love for you to share this on your Pinterest boards, by clicking the image right here!
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