What is Clean Eating?
If you’re new to healthy eating, then you might be wondering what is clean eating? Is it a diet or a lifestyle?
The truth is, there isn’t one standard definition of clean eating. Clean eating is actually mean to be flexible and account for your individual needs. But, here is one definition.
Clean eating includes real, whole foods most of the time, choosing organic and sustainable options whenever possible. Clean eating also means selecting foods that meet one’s individual needs.
So, by that definition, clean eating isn’t limited to one particular diet, such as vegan, plant-based, or paleo.
Letting Go of Unnecessary Restriction
Popular culture has taught us that there is one ideal body type and one perfect diet. But, the truth is that every woman’s body is different and beautiful. Additionally, there is not one way to eat healthy.
The bottom line is that you don’t necessarily need to follow food restrictions just because someone else is doing it. If you are working with a functional medicine practitioner, he or she can often do advanced food sensitivity testing to determine what foods you might be sensitive to.
Your healthcare provider will also likely have some input as to what dietary restrictions would be best for you, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and/or sugar-free.
Clean Eating Recipes
That said, many of the recipes on Clean Eating Kitchen are both gluten-free and dairy-free, mostly because those are common food intolerances. I try to offer many different types of options for my recipes, since everyone has differing needs.
Gluten comes from wheat, but there are other grains and food products that contain gluten (read more about the reasons to go gluten-free).
And, just for definition’s sake, dairy includes milk, cheese, yogurt, and any other product made with or from the milk of an animal. Learn more about a dairy-free diet.
Going Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free
For some people like me, it’s important to go both gluten-free and dairy-free. While managing food restrictions can seem overwhelming, it can also help manage symptoms of autoimmune disease, acne, PCOS, hormone issues, bloating, and more.
Be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider to see which diet he or she recommends for you.
Here is an article with tips for getting started with a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. And, you can read more about my clean eating before and after journey.
Eating For Your Individual Needs
The bottom line is that it’s up to you to decide what clean eating means. Feel free to experiment with recipes and ingredients (see the Clean Eating Kitchen full recipe index).
The best way to start is to find a few recipes from this site that look good to you. Start making a weekly meal plan with recipes using real food ingredients. Skip the processed foods and make your food at home. Over time, start trying new ingredients until you are eating a wide variety of clean eating foods.
Absolutely not! But, if you have an autoimmune condition or your doctor has recommended that you avoid gluten or dairy, then you should give it a try.
Yes, you can. Here are my best tips for eating clean on a budget.
Try to buy mostly real foods without too many added sugars. Check out my full Clean Eating Grocery List & Pantry Guide for a comprehensive shopping list!
Note: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations related to your individual situation.