One of the biggest buzzes around Social Media these days is Clean Eating and the Paleo Diet. But what are they exactly? Are there differences? How do I choose which is right for me? After some extensive homework on the subject I have come to my own conclusion on this topic. >>Please remember that I am NOT a Nutritionist or a Nutrition Expert. The information contained within this site are simply my Personal Opinion on health related topics<<
What is Clean Eating
Simply put: Clean Eating is consuming food in its most natural state. Rather than being concerned about the number of calories you consume we take the approach as looking at the steps it took for our food to go from the Ground to our Plates – The less steps, the better! We are looking to get back to basics and eat REAL food again. When you stop to think about it, most of the food on our shelves today didn’t exist twenty years ago, it is all processed, man-made crap that does nothing to nourish our bodies. And we wonder why obesity and disease is on a steadily climbing high? So the goal with Clean Eating? Avoiding processed foods.
So what are we looking for when we grocery shop? What exactly defines “Processed Foods”? Any food that has additives has been processed, even salt is an additive! The way that I like to break this down is to describe it as this: When you shop pay attention to your LABELS. The ingredients list is you key to shopping. Before you toss that jar of Tomato Sauce into your cart, read the ingredients list on the back, you may be surprised. You want a sauce that contains the LEAST amount of ingredients possible, thus making it more clean. Another thing you want to be mindful of is WHAT ingredients are listed. If there is a twenty letter word in the ingredients list that you don’t even know how to pronounce, PUT IT BACK! If you were to make homemade sauce would you go searching through your cabinet for an ingredient you don’t even know how to pronounce? Chances are you wouldn’t, so why are you adding it to your food by purchasing it?! Food labels will tell you EVERYTHING.
Step Two: Look at shelf life. The longer a food will stay “fresh” the more processed it is. Let’s face it. Jarred fruit that has a shelf life of two years? How can this possibly be “natural” as the label implies? If you would buy fresh pineapple, would it last two years in your home? Never! This tells me that these foods have been pumped with preservatives and additives that are unnatural and don’t need to be in my body. And if I’m being honest, fruit never lasts in my house anyway so WHY would I be looking to purchase something with a longer shelf life when I know it will be gone by the end of the week? Is it truly worth it to cut corners?
Step Three: Shop the perimeter of your store first! The outside walls of your grocery store is the Organic, Fresh, Unprocessed foods. Here is where you will find your fresh fruits, veggies, meats, grains, dairy products, seasoning, the list goes on! I always tell people to fill your cart with as much as you can from the outside of the store before you move into the middle isles. The further into the store you get, the more processed the food is. Even your munchies can be found in outside isles. Avoid the middle of the store! If you want a cold, hard reality slap pick up a box of Organic Mac-n-Cheese and grab a box of the ever popular Kraft Mac-n-Cheese. Compare the ingredient list on the back. Might make you sick (or even gag).
Want in on something crazy? Even prepackaged meats can be deceiving. Ever buy chicken breast and go for the package with the largest breasts only to come home and the cook down to nothing? Have you ever wondered WHY that is? Companies pump chicken breasts full of water before packaging to give them a more plump look, thus weighing more and costing you more money. When you cook the breasts the water dehydrate shrinking the breast. When you sit down to eat you’re only eating 2 ounces of the 4.5 ounce breast you started with.
My opinion on Clean Eating? This is NOT a diet. Clean Eating is a lifestyle. It is learning to read labels, cook in your kitchen, use real ingredients. It’s getting back to basics. Something that I get asked MOST about Clean Eating is about cost. “I can’t afford to eat Clean” Well, my response to that is: You can’t afford NOT to. The preservatives and additives in our food today are anything but nutritious and do nothing to fuel our bodies. These are the things that have lead to obesity and sluggish energy. Our bodies are not getting the energy it requires to function properly. Are the health risks really worth it?
So, back to the cost of Clean Eating. In the beginning, yes, it can be pricy. Why is this? You have to restock your kitchen, start from scratch. You will be preparing most of your meals and you want healthy ingredients in your home. Time to ditch the cooking spray and replace it with Coconut Oil. A Clean and HEALTHY fat that our bodies need. Replace white table salt with Pink Salt. Toss the white sugar and get Stevia in the Raw! No more white flour, try Wheat or Oat Flour. You will NEVER notice the difference! Once your kitchen is restocked with these necessary aids your shopping budget won’t be too impacted by your change in eating style. Trust the process. I promise that once you learn about Clean Eating and really go for it, your body will thank you. It is amazing how simply changing how you eat will affect how you feel. You may be surprised.
Okay, now that I’ve bored you with the details of Clean Eating, let’s dive into Paleo, shall we??
What is the Paleo Diet?
Paleo eating follows some of the same ideas as Clean Eating, avoiding processed foods, but the two are very different. This way of eating has often been refered to as the “Caveman Diet” because it focuses on the ideas of our Paleolithic ancestors and eating before the agricultural revolution. This means no grain, no dairy, no sugar. All meats need to be lean and naturally fed, as in naturally butchered from a pasture, not a farm. Veggies get two thumbs up, but fruits are limited due to the natural sugar. Recipes are usually prepared with fruit and natural fruit juice for flavor, no extra spices, ingredients or additives. Sounds pretty boring, right?? Yup, that’s my thoughts, too.
In my honest opinion, the Paleo Diet is just that, a diet. This would be very hard to sustain as a lifestyle. There are so many people that swear by the Paleo lifestyle these days since Clean Eating and Paleo Eating are taking the spotlight, but after doing extensive research, I believe that those who have switched to a “Paleo” lifestyle are simple Clean Eating. Please know that I am NOT knocking those who live a Paleo life, this is simply my opinion on the subject. To me in order to live a Paleo life you would have to have the ability to grow or raise most of your own food to ensure that it is in the most natural state possible and avoid ALL additives and sugars. Let’s be honest, who can live a life without dairy or some amount of sugar?
I can see the use of a Paleo Diet as a great “jumping off point” to kick start a weight loss program, help detox your body before starting a new, healthy lifestyle, or just wanting a detox in general. As far as using it with any type of longevity, I really don’t see it being beneficial.
>>So the big debate: “Clean Eating or Paleo Diet??”<<
This totally depends on YOU and what your goals or wants are. Try them both and see which offers you the most benefits or flexibility. Which meets the needs of your health goals or the needs of your family? It may take some trial and error, but you will find what works best for YOU. There are benefits to both styles of eating. Personally, my family has gained great benefits from Clean Eating. We all have more energy, rarely get sick and aren’t fatigued in the afternoons anymore. My skin has cleared up SO much, my hair is healthier and I just FEEL healthier. Clean eating has changed our life and I see not end to our lifestyle!
**Want to learn more about Clean Eating? I host Clean Eating Challenges all the time where I provide you with a complete Grocery List, Meal Guide, Menus, Recipes, Meal Schedule, and even desserts! One week of structured meals to learn about the Clean Eating lifestyle and you will be AMAZED to see what Clean Eating can do you for you in only seven days! I’ve had members of my challenges lose up to EIGHT pounds in just one week from Clean Eating! What do you have to lose? Contact me today to learn how you can be part of my next Clean Eating Group!! I promise you won’t regret it!!**