Have you ever been overwhelmed and slightly (or more than slightly) confused when it comes to clean eating? I mean, what is actually clean? You see, humans seem to complicate everything, especially nutrition and healthy living. So in this quick guide, I will be explaining the key principles to clean eating by SIMPLIFYING it all.
Here at Purely Flourish, the mission is to flow with the simplicity and the rhythm of nature; the way God designed it originally in His creation. When we learn to see healthy living with new eyes and a new perspective (which is actually beyond ancient, by the way), it miraculously simplifies it for us.
Living healthy is not meant to be complicated. Isn’t it refreshing and inspiring that our Creator has designed everything so purposefully and perfectly for our own good? All we have to do is become set apart from what the world says healthy living and clean eating is, and to look at His creation as our blueprint for health.
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WHAT DOES CLEAN MEAN?
I like to start out by explaining the definition behind the words ‘clean’ or ‘pure.’ I actually like to go by the word pure because it even sounds cleaner than clean. That’s where I got the name Purely Flourish. Because I truly believe (with science-backed info) that the most pure form of food that is found untouched in nature is where we will find flourishing health.
The word ‘pure’ means to be free from dust, dirt, or contamination. It means to be free from what weakens, or pollutes. It does not contain anything that does not properly belong. It means to be unmodified and unmanipulated, which I will explain later on. I love how the definition literally says “to be free from” because it’s a beautiful picture of how God frees us from the dirt in the world.
PRINCIPLES OF PURE EATING
Organic is the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.Merriam Webster Dictionary
Look for this USDA organic seal on food that you buy. It can be found on produce, packaged foods, and animal products. It is very important to eat organically. Even though we have amazing detox systems in our bodies, bombarding our liver and other organs with toxins on a day to day basis is very damaging. It overloads the liver, creating toxicity, which leads to disease and cancer.
The most important food to purchase organic is going to be any kind of animal product such as meat, dairy, eggs, etc. This is because when we consume animal products, we are eating what they eat. Conventional farming feeds their animal’s genetically modified foods that have been sprayed with chemicals, ON TOP of the growth hormones and antibiotics they are given. This is extremely damaging to every single organ in the body.
Poultry should be organic and pasture-raised. Fish should be wild caught. Red meat should be organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed. Eggs should also be organic and pasture-raised. Cage-free is NOT the same, because cage-free hens are usually still raised indoors crammed together. Make sure to read the egg carton to learn more about how the chickens are raised. Dairy should always be organic. Sticking with these principles will result in 100% better nutrition and doesn’t contain all of those nasty chemicals. I know it sounds like a lot to remember, especially if this is new to you, but you will become a pro with just a few trips around the grocery store. A health food store makes it even easier. It’s very simple once you shift your mindset.
As often as you can, all food should be purchased organic to avoid these damaging substances. Organic can be expensive due to the fact that these companies have to pay fees to become certified organic. Never fear, if you are on a budget, because eating organic doesn’t have to be expensive. Learn how to stick to your grocery budget while eating organic!
Organic products along with being free from contaminants such as chemical fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc — are also free from genetically modified organisms. These living organisms contain genetic material that has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. It is not natural. Do you remember the definition of pure? It means to be UNMODIFIED and UNMANIPULATED. In nature, God created food to be processed perfectly within the body. Food is literal information to the cells and organs. So these GMO foods create poor reactions in the body because the body cannot identify the modification. According to the Center for Food Safety, these are some of the main human health concerns at this time:
- Allergic Reactions
- Antibiotic Resistance
- Nutrition Deficiency
To simplify eating clean, look at nature. What grows in nature? One ingredient foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, animals and animal products. Let these whole foods be the foundation of your lifestyle. If you do buy something in a package with more than one ingredient, don’t trust the marketing gimmick on the front of the package. Natural doesn’t mean anything. Low fat doesn’t mean anything. Gluten-free doesn’t mean anything. Even ‘organic ingredients’ (without the USDA organic seal) doesn’t mean anything! These products can and will be still dangerously toxic.
MINIMAL REAL FOOD INGREDIENTS
Make it a habit to turn the package around and read the ingredients first. Bread should only contain a few ingredients. Ezekiel bread is a good example, or sourdough, which should only have 3-4 ingredients. I’ve seen bread in the store with over 30 ingredients. It’s completely crazy! If you splurge on a bag of potato chips, find a brand that only has 3 ingredients: non-GMO/organic potatoes, sea salt, and a healthy oil such as avocado or coconut oil. The ingredients should be REAL food; not artificial, laboratory manipulated, processed, food-like products.
I hate to say it, but you can’t eat clean at McDonalds. I’ve seen many articles going around on “how to eat clean or Keto or Paleo at fast food” and it just makes me cringe. I mean, I understand that sometimes we’re out late and we forgot to grab our packed meal, so fast food is the only option. But, I want to make it clear that even though you swap the bun for a piece of lettuce or swap the burger for a salad with grilled chicken, THIS IS NOT CLEAN EATING. Fast food is loaded with artificial additives, chemicals, GMO’s, and things like MSG; not to mention has VERY LITTLE nutrition.
Here at Purely Flourish, one of our values is freedom. So if you have to eat McDonalds one day, or even if you splurge, don’t feel guilty. Don’t ‘start over.’ Make it a habit to follow up with lots of hydration, a healthy meal, and some exercise. And just keep going! It’s about balance, and pure eating is our foundation.
FATS AND OILS
The purest form of healthy fat comes in whole food form such as avocados, coconut, olives, nuts, etc. As for oils, stick with cold-pressed, virgin, and unrefined oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. Pasture-raised and organic butter or ghee is also good. Steer clear from vegetable oils, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and any hydrogenated, refined oil. These are highly processed, leading to many health disorders. You can read more about the dangers of canola oil here.
Conventional sugar is our health’s worst nightmare. There is hidden sugar everywhere. Refined sugars, sugar alcohols, they’re all hurting our health. The most pure form of sugar is found in seasonal fruit and honey. Maple syrup is better on occasion. Make sure it is pure maple syrup and only has one ingredient. Traditional sugar in dessert can be substituted for honey or maple syrup. The occasional birthday cake is not found guilty, but if you’re making it at home make sure to buy pure cane sugar. Just remember that cane sugar is still very processed and it is just simply not natural to consume cane sugar every day. The less sugar the better.
For pure simple swap ideas such as condiments and salad dressings, oils, packaged foods, etc. feel free to follow up with this post: Sneaky Clean Eating Food Swaps that Make a Huge Difference in Your Health