What the heck is clean eating anyway?

Well, one thing’s for certain, a lot of people seem to think they know what it is…

103 million results from the quickest of Google searches. Madness.

But you also wouldn’t be alone in stumbling across this blog and thinking ‘Clean as opposed to what? Some dirty chicken breast she threw in the pan after it had been on the floor?’

5 second rule aside (c’mon, we all do it…) that isn’t what this blog is about.

Starting with clean

 My good friend The Oxford English Dictionary (especially handy when the English graduate husband’s not around) sheds a bit more light on things:

Clean dictionary

So if we pair up these dictionary definitions with eating food then what comes back is ultimately food that hasn’t been messed with; food in its purest form; food that’s fresh; food that’s also got a bit of moral.

Food that hasn’t been messed with; in its purest form

 Single ingredient foods are about as pure as you’re going to find. Fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, I could go on…

They’re always the foods with the least packaging, never carrying a cartoon critter or an unrecognisable ingredients list on the side of a box.

Food that’s fresh

 Not something with a ‘use by’ date in a decade’s time. Something that hasn’t been injected with a nasty preservative that will send your digestive system into slow mo.

Food that’s got a bit of moral

 If you’re a meat eater it’s thinking about the conditions this animal was raised in, what it ate, where it came from to end up on your plate. A cup of coffee from a plantation that hasn’t been subjected to low-wage labour exploitation. Green beans in season, that haven’t just flown into the supermarket from Kenya. It’s a vote with your fork for something better for everyone. Wherever you can, it’s supporting local producers.

Because there are always annoying exceptions

 Single ingredient fresh foods are the very best starting points to begin a clean eating journey. But you will find some ‘gems in a can’ such as beans, chick peas, and chopped tomatoes. Proper dark chocolate has got more than just cocoa in it but again it packs a nutritional punch. Nut butters, the holy grail of a full fat fix. You’ll get to know them all and more if you stick around.

Does that help make things a bit clearer?

6 thoughts on “What the heck is clean eating anyway?

  1. Pingback: Why I love to hate the Paleo Diet « Let Her Eat Clean

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  4. What does it feel like to be starving? I am diagnosed with a growth disorder caused by long term malnutrition/starvation as a child and I can tell you from experience that it is extremely painful, even at times agony. Severe malnutrition, as well as stomach pain, causes painful conditions such as abnormal bone growth causing painful and malformed joints and bowing of legs, teeth can crumble and become infected. If you are severely malnourished then you are more likely to succumb to infections, a simple sore throat and cough is more likely to progress to pneumonia. You are also very likely to be anaemic causing extreme tiredness, even exhaustion and collapse. It is vital that starvation in children has early intervention and a healthy diet provided as soon as possible or the damage done is permanent and can be disabling. I am 4 inches shorter than I would have been had I had enough to eat. My arms and legs are deformed and extremely short. This is not the fault of the parents who have, through no fault of their own, fallen into poverty.

    The horror of absolute poverty has been very rare in UK since the Second World War due to the introduction of a Welfare system which provided a ‘safety net’ to catch those in need. Absolute poverty means absolutely no income or access to alternative means of support. Thousands of unincomed are currently unable to claim benefit due to new rules introduced by the Coalition government and are left in absolute poverty, this includes adults with children, disabled, sick and dying. There is currently a 2 million jobs shortfall in the UK which means that there are 2 million blameless unemployed who cannot get a job at the moment, whatever they do. There are also 5.1 million working people who earn less than a living wage (Rowntree Report) whose basic essential living costs (eg rent/mortgage, utilities, travel to work etc.) leave them with a financial shortfall and unable to buy sufficient food. Nearly a third of the UK population is currently in poverty the majority of which are working. There are currently more than 150 UK resident multi billionaires who are not paying tax and our government is failing to provide a fully functioning Welfare service, that the workers pay tax for whilst employed. Something is seriously amiss in the UK.

    I applaud your attempts to provide only healthy food and that is great if it requires very little preparation, cooks very quickly, is familiar and appealing to children. Many who use the food banks do not have cookers or cannot turn them on as their electricity/gas has been disconnected due to an inability to pay their bills. I understand that some food banks are trying to provide those in such dire circumstances with camping stoves. In the light of these extreme difficulties food must be cooked quickly on a hob/camping stove. Even where those in food poverty still have a cooker and power, old, cheap, second hand, cookers can cost as much as £2.50 to have an oven on for 1 hour, including time to heat it up. People are so poor they do not have £10-£20 a week to cook their food. Please also remember many people are exhausted, unwell and extremely cold in unheated homes, many are also having to work for no pay and just receive a very low benefit which can almost entirely be used up by the cost of travel to work. This is often called workfare and is compulsory as to fail to do it, for whatever reason including childcare and illness, leads to complete loss of all benefit for up to 3 years (known as benefit sanctions) hence the absolute poverty. The food banks know best what they are able to store and what recipients of food aid can make use of. It might be better to stick to the lists provided at the food collection points, or perhaps contact your local food bank and discuss with them whether it is practical to give healthier alternatives.

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for taking the time to share such a detailed comment relating to the post: http://lethereatclean.com/2013/12/20/im-hungry/

      Your views are much appreciated and essential to others like me who have never been in a situation of extreme poverty. Your points on fuel costs also make perfect sense. I’ve actually volunteered to help my local food bank with cooking demos that very much emphasise easy to prepare food with minimal cooking involved. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.


  5. Pingback: Don’t, whatever you do, go on a diet « Let Her Eat Clean

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