What Is Clean Eating? Here Are the Details

By: Chris Brim

Clean eating isn’t a new term, but it is becoming a quickly growing trend! Every new fad has its own rules, meanings, and effects, so we’re breaking down the latest on the clean eating trend below!

What Is “Clean Eating”?

Although “clean eating” sounds self-explanatory, the actual meaning of the phrase has become somewhat lost as food bloggers and Instagram influencers have taken it in a number of directions. Some claim it’s the elimination of all processed foods while others go as far as eating only organic, raw plant-based foods!

An easy definition can encompass clean eating as a “fad diet based on the belief that eating whole foods in their most natural state and avoiding processed foods such as refined sugar offers certain health benefits. Variations on the clean eating diet may also exclude gluten, grains, and dairy products and advocate the consumption of raw food.”


What’s the Clean Eating Controversy?

There’s No Real Definition
Since there’s no clear-cut definition for the trend, there’s a wide spectrum of what counts as a clean diet which is problem number one. With one person’s “clean diet” varying so widely from another’s, it’s hard to build any scientific evidence supporting the trend and that raises some red flags.

Another issue that comes with the lack of definition trickles down to the beliefs or guidelines within the trend, namely the word “processed”. Now, we know that eating a diet heavy in processed foods isn’t good for our health or waistlines – but, not all foods are equally processed! Technically, processed foods include just about anything that wasn’t simply grown and sent to the store which can eliminate some really nutritious foods from your diet! Think oats, yogurt, packaged nuts, and protein shakes. Drawing a firm line against all processed foods means that you could be missing out on some key nutrients!


It Can Negatively Affect Your Relationship with Food

You’ve heard it over and over, but it’s worth saying once more: mental and emotional health are just as important to your wellness as physical health!

One complaint about the trend is that it labels foods as good or bad, attaching a sense of pride and accomplishment to “good foods” while sticking labels of failure or dirtiness to “bad foods”. Especially for those who already struggle with a healthy food and/or body relationship, this can cause feelings of guilt or anxiety that further damages those relationships. In extreme cases, some argue that this mindset can contribute to orthorexia nervosa, a disorder that stems from an obsession with “healthy” foods.


How to Healthily Incorporate the Trend

With all of its downsides, the trend does have a good general point: healthy diets consist of less highly-processed foods and more whole, natural food sources.

So, should you become a vegetarian? Could you become a vegan? Are you up for being a fruitarian and eating nothing but bananas all day? Yikes! Here are a few more sustainable ways to take advantages of the good aspects of the clean eating trend:

Be Wary of Highly-Processed Foods
The first and easiest thing to start cleaning up your eating is to cut back on your consumption of processed foods. Yes, I said it! Anything that comes in a package or is sold in a restaurant (including fast food joints) has been processed in some way. While not all of them need to be avoided, make sure you’re opting for lesser-processed foods whenever possible. Read the label and, if the item has more than three ingredients you can’t identify or pronounce, try finding a healthier alternative!

When in doubt, reach for a TLS® Nutrition Shake!  TLS® offers several shakes that can help to curve your cravings, keep you fuller longer and keep you from reaching for the bag of chips when hunger strikes.


Avoid Eating for Comfort
Do you tend to eat bad stuff when you have had a bad day? This is called stress eating and, while it may make you feel better temporarily, the sugar crash/carb coma isn’t going to feel as great a few hours later!  Ideally, we wouldn’t stress eat at all. We’d opt for healthier alternatives like going for a walk or reaching out to a friend. But, it happens! When you’re reaching for a snack, try to opt for foods that nourish you – not just that taste good.

TLS® also offers products that can help you reduce your stress which may help you avoid stress eating entirely! This small change could go a long way in helping you become a healthier you.


Eat More Veggies
I can hear my mother now telling me that I have to finish my veggies before I can watch more television. Ok, mom – you were right! Incorporating vegetables into your diet is one of the easiest and best ways to incorporate the essence of clean eating. Not to mention, it comes with some pretty great benefits!

If you are like me, the idea of eating vegetables isn’t that appealing, but try this little trick – mix them into your chocolate TLS® shake! Spinach has quite a few health benefits without having an overpowering taste, so it can be easily blended with your TLS® shake without taking away from the great chocolate (or vanilla) flavor!



The Bottom Line

The most important thing to focus on during your weight loss journey is finding something that works best for your body and your lifestyle. Try a new vegetable, eliminate meat for a week, drink a protein shake every day for breakfast, then see how you feel. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? Are you able to focus better?

When it is working – keep doing it. Stay motivated. Remember your goals. Envision your ideal image and keep it in the forefront of your mind. You can do it, and TLS® is right here to help!



What are your thoughts on the clean eating trend?