Clean Eating: Getting Started You’ve probably heard the term “clean eating” but what does that really mean? No sauces or gravies? No pesticides or preservatives? The definitions and ideas about this healthy lifestyle can vary, but here’s what we think you need to know:

What to Eat

Clean eaters are healthy eaters. Their food choices are simple and haven’t been overly processed or altered by humans, like:

  • Whole vegetables, fruit and grains. Anything from a plant, bush or vine that’s not pre-cooked or pre-packaged
  • If you eat meat, lean meat, fish or poultry (organic, grass-fed, wild or cage-free)
  • Complex carbohydrates, like whole grain brown rice and quinoa
  • Lots of water and tea, a minimum of 8 glasses a day

What to Avoid

There are different degrees of what clean eaters will and won’t eat. Some don’t eat any dairy or gluten or are strict vegans. Each clean eater decides what’s best for them, but they often avoid:

  • Processed and packaged foods such as bread, pasta, cookies and items containing white sugar
  • Anything that is fried, high in trans fats or saturated fats
  • Products with long lists of ingredients, chemicals and preservatives
  • Alcohol, unless you occasionally enjoy a glass of anti-oxidant rich red wine
  • Dairy and animal fats

When to Eat

Instead of eating three traditional meals a day, clean eating requires you eat multiple small ones. Whenever you can, try to include lean proteins like tuna or steel cut oats and complex carbohydrates like apricots, oranges or plums.

Clean Eating: Getting Started

Tips and Tricks

Dr. Katrina Ordóñez, Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Centers of River North, is a passionate clean eater and says it’s possible for everyone to enjoy the benefits. “It definitely takes discipline and commitment,” she explains. “But once you feel the results you just want to keep on going with it.” Here are a few useful tips from Dr. Katrina to help you start eating cleaner.

  • Set realistic eating goals based on your style—if you think you’ll be more successful starting with baby steps, choose breakfast and snacks as a starting point, and then ease into eating cleaner foods.
  • If you think you’ll find more success with an aggressive “cold turkey” approach, clear out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Discard the multi-ingredient, pre-packaged choices and plan replacements for them.
  • Give yourself a do-over when you need it. If you make non-clean choices at one meal, don’t feel like you’ve totally failed—forgive yourself and make a cleaner choice next time.

The benefits of eating clean are demonstrated by how clean eaters feel. “When I’m eating at my cleanest I feel more grounded, clear-minded and stable,” says Dr. Katrina. “Eating in-season food in its original state allows you to naturally give your body what it needs.”