Clean eating - WE ARE CLEAN

Clean Eating: which foods to avoid, and favour

The principle of Clean Eating involves deciding to eat better by cutting out mass-produced and processed products as much as possible, in favour of whole foods, But you still need to be able to distinguish the products that you should buy from those that you should leave on the shelves!

Clean Eating brings together nutrition principles selected by the American nutritionist Tosca Reno. What’s the basic rule? Eating natural, unprocessed (clean) foods, and prepare them in the healthiest and freshest way possible. While remembering to eat organic as much as possible and limit intake of pesticides, toxins, artificial colours and flavours. 

Out with fast food, processed foods and overly-refined ingredients. Long live fruit and vegetables, plant-based protein and wholegrain cereals. Here’s a brief overview of which foods to avoid and which to favour.

Foods to avoid (which are not Clean Food)

All “white” foods, and those that are labelled as containing certain controversial ingredients.

“White” foods

  • White flour, which therefore means cutting out all refined cereal products (supermarket cakes, packaged cake and pastry mixes, etc.). 
  • Refined carbohydrates like white rice, bread and pasta. They lack vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and good fats that the body needs to keep functioning as it should. Moreover, high refined carbohydrate intake has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver and chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes.
  • White sugar, which has been chemically processed.
  • Hydrogenated fats and oils: butter, margarine, frying oil.
  • Alcohol: to be limited as much as possible. Apart from small amounts of antioxidants in wine, alcohol doesn’t deliver any nutrients. As well as overweight, high alcohol intake promotes inflammation and health problems: liver disorders, obesity, digestive problems and excess abdominal fat.
  • Sweetened drinks: carbonated drinks and fruit juices are to be shunned. Drinking it every day can lead to overweight and increase the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes.
  • Pre-cooked preparations and ready meals, which are highly processed: vacuum-packed meals, frozen meals, crisps, tinned ready meals…

Disputed ingredients 

The following are to be cut out: all foods containing artificial sweeteners, added sugar, artificial flavourings and trans fatty acids, which are bad for human health. All artificial additives are also to be hunted down: E1X (artificial colours), E2X (preservatives), E3X (anti-oxidation agents and acidifiers), E4X and E5X (texturizing agents) and E6XX (flavour enhancers). The concept of Clean Eating is about avoiding highly processed foods. When it comes to potatoes, for example, it’s about avoiding frozen chips, crisps and instant mashed potato. Some nutritionists have set out a simple rule: if a product contains more than five ingredients, or if you don’t understand what’s on the list, leave it on the shelf!

Clean foods to favour 

Eating healthily, the clean way, is about eating a balanced diet, fresh unprocessed seasonal produce, and eating organic so as to avoid pesticides and other plant health inputs. So you should favour the following: 

  • Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, if possible locally grown. They form the foundation of clean food, and are to be eaten on an almost unlimited basis.
  • Lean meat and oily fish, that is farm fresh and organic, in moderate amounts. In particular, limit your red meat intake. 
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, linseeds.
  • Pulses: lentils, chickpeas, beans.
  • Wholegrain cereals: oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa. These cereals contain complex carbohydrates and are high in nutrients.
  • Dairy products: quark, natural yoghurt, fresh milk.
  • Natural alternatives to white sugar: honey, coconut blossom sugar, Muscovado sugar (unrefined cane sugar).
  • Plant-based oils: coconut oil, first-press cold-pressed olive oil.
  • Water, herbal teas and infusions, tea without sugar.

Superfoods to take note of 

Superfoods are an integral part of Clean Eating. Açai, spirulina, maca, wheatgrass, matcha and other superfoods exist in the form of dried fruits or powder, while retaining all of their nutritional value. Powder and berries can be added to smoothies, muesli and homemade cakes, or liven up soups and curries. It’s an easy way to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals.

It’s essential to eat lots of different foods to keep your diet healthy and balanced, supply the body with a variety of nutrients and get a broad array of vitamins and minerals. 

The ideal approach: to have a “rainbow” of colours on your plate.

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