Clean Eating: What Grandma Used to Call Cooking Dinner

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Caprese Salad on a Stick Main Clean Eating

What is Clean Eating?

The definition of Clean Eating seems to depend on who you ask.  In general, it’s a move from highly processed foods to foods that are more natural and whole.  While our days become more and more packed with events, appointments, and errands, we have turned to prepared, prepackaged foods that are full of preservatives and artificial ingredients that our bodies can’t process.  As a rule, if you look at the ingredients list and you can’t pronounce something, or you have no idea what an ingredient is, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.  One of my favorite examples is American cheese.  If you look at the fine print, it actually says on the package that it is a “Pasteurized Process Cheese Food.”  If they have to label it as food or it’s labeled as “Process,” you probably shouldn’t consider it Clean Eating.  Natural cheeses are widely considered clean, as are whole cuts of meat, fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grains like quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah).

Egg White Omelette Ingredients

Egg White Omelette Ingredients

Clean Eating:  Why You Should Try It

It’s no secret that eating natural foods is better for you than artificial ingredients.  I’m reminded of a cartoon I read a few years back that said, “Organic food.  What your grandparents called…food.”  That’s pretty true when you think about it.  Clean Eating doesn’t mean you need to eat organic though.  But why should you switch to Clean Eating?  For one, your body is designed to process things from nature, not from a lab.  When you fill it full of artificial ingredients and preservatives, our bodies don’t know how to handle them, and may break them down into things that are actually toxic for us, such as aspartame, which is converted to formaldehyde.  So, when you eat healthy, natural foods, you start to feel better, and research is indicating that food allergies and digestive issues may start to lessen or go away completely.

Another reason to try Clean Eating is to know exactly what you are eating.  I’m not a control freak, but when it comes to what I or my family eats, I am.  I like to know what the ingredients are, how they are processed, and that the food is healthy for us.

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Raspberry Vinaigrette Ingredients

Raspberry Vinaigrette Ingredients

Clean Eating: How to do it

It’s pretty simple actually.  Most grocery stores are designed with fresh foods along the outside walls, and all the processed food in the aisles.  While this is mainly because the refrigerators need to have power which is located in the walls, it makes Clean Eating pretty simple.  If it’s in the produce section, the meat counter (minus things like hot dogs and lunch meat), or dairy, it’s perfect for Clean Eating.  A few things in the center aisles are also great, like nuts, unprocessed oils such as olive, whole grains like old fashioned oats, and even dry pastas.  A gentleman I met recently told me when you are Clean Eating, you don’t go to the grocery store for dinner, you go to buy ingredients.  That is the best way to describe my shopping trips.  My ingredients are simple, whole, and healthy.  Can you slip in a frozen pizza once in a while?  Sure!  Just remember to try to keep most of your meals clean.

Another great way to shop for ingredients is local farmers markets.  We’re coming into the season in most of the country, and buying local is a great way to know where your food is coming from.  I love to talk with the farmers, ask questions about how they fertilize and what varieties they plant.  I tend to shy away from GMO crops, and try to stay organic as much as possible, so farmers markets are a great way to do that and support a neighbor!

You’ll notice that many of the dishes in the recipe section are made using a Clean Eating philosophy.  It’s not hard to switch to Clean Eating.  It really opens up the possibilities to wonderful dishes made with great ingredients that your family will really enjoy.  Some might think the downside of Clean Eating is the time it takes to make a meal, but really, that’s time well spent when the benefits are better health and supporting your community.

Grilled Summer Veggies Ingredients

Grilled Summer Veggies Ingredients

Check out my recipes and give Clean Eating a try!

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