Clean Eating 101 - The Complete Guide

Clean Eating 101

“Eating clean” is a term often used among fitness enthusiasts to describe a way of eating that is favourable towards one's body composition and fitness goals. The basis behind eating clean is to consume foods which are often unprocessed, unrefined and contain the lowest amount of preservatives and artificial ingredients possible.


Endless Benefits (BUT a Few Hidden Secrets...)

There are an incredible amount of benefits to eating clean. A major benefit is your diet will be higher in micronutrients and lower in trans-fats, artificial sweeteners and preservatives alike.

While it is great to try and avoid preservatives, the problem is, many often take the concept of “clean eating” to the extreme by avoiding certain types of food and banning them from their diet completely. Needless to say, people often form poor relationships with food as a result.

When the cravings for the “forbidden” food do kick in, many people often find themselves overconsuming large quantities of that food they might not have consumed if it wasn’t first forbidden in the first place! 


Bridging the Gap Between “Clean Eating” and “Eating Disorder”

A well-balanced diet, void of any nutrient deficiencies should be the overall goal for all those seeking health, longevity and optimal gym performance. As stated previously, some people tend to get too OCD when it comes to their diet and will often become pedantic. Usually, it's these details that matter very little in the grand scheme of things that will transcend to real-world results.


A Few Examples May Include:

  • "Is it better to weigh out my vegetables raw, or should they be weighed cooked?"
  • "Would it be worth asking what type of oil and how much oil the chef is using when he cooks my chicken?"
  • "I’m reducing my carb intake so I’ve substituted 100g of spinach for 100g of kale because spinach contains around 5 grams fewer carbs than kale."
  • "This item on MyFitnessPal lists that it has 2 grams less fat than the other option I want, although I like the other option more, I need to hit my calorie goal and that extra 2 grams of fat can throw off my whole routine."

If these types of questions and statements are similar to the ones that dominate your mind on your current regime of clean eating, it’s time for a reality check!


The Wakeup Call We All Desperately Need...

We're all for improvising and substituting foods in your diet. But, enough of the nonsense, the bigger picture is far more important than the minute details!

Many in the clean eating bandwagon believe that one single minute detail in their diet can be blamed for a lack of progress: “I used a teaspoon and a half of olive oil instead of just a teaspoon, that is why I’m not losing weight."

No… it isn’t… It’s the overconsumption of calories (even if they’re from “clean foods”) over the course of the week. This is the cause of your lack of progress.


What Is the Most Important Aspect to Long-Term Success with Any Diet, Especially with Clean Eating?

Is it the vegetables?

Is it the gluten free, low carb, organic, grass-fed, low-fat goats milk you have every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon?

Maybe it's the absence of dairy and your refusal to consume anything that contains an ingredient listed on a label that a 4-year-old can’t pronounce?

Maybe it's because you're not a vegan!?

Hot tip, it’s none of that nonsense.

What makes your diet effective and what is most important, is your ability to be consistent and stick to it for long enough to see the results show. THAT IS IT.

The way we explain it to people is to look at your diet over the course of an entire week, not just one day.


The Balancing Act

Analyse your diet over the course of a week by tallying up the calories you consume on each day and compare it to the calories you require for weight loss. If the total comes to a number above what is required for your fitness goals, you should be able to see there is no 1 day to blame for the excess in calories. It’s the accumulation of the calories consumed throughout week which can have the biggest impact on your goals and health.

More often than not, people forget the impact that yesterday and tomorrow can have when it comes to keeping themselves accountable with their diet over the course of the week.

What does that mean?

If you overshot your calorie intake for one day, you can still make progress by adjusting and reducing your calorie intake over the following days. By making the adjustment you can still achieve your calorie target for the end of the week and make great progress.

Seems simple doesn’t it?

And if you were not able to consume adequate calories yesterday, you can have additional calories today.


What Does This Have to Do with Clean Eating?

We believe there is no such thing as bad food, only a bad quantity. Clean eating or clean foods are often ones that are easier to calculate when counting the macronutrient profile. They are also lower in preservatives and contain fewer ingredients. Food such as chocolate, burgers, pizza, and ice-cream all contain a multitude of different ingredients a few preservatives and usually higher in calories. For this reason, people don’t consider them to be "clean," as such.

However, sweet potato, steak, ice-cream, and chocolate, by themselves, can not make you fat.

What does make you fat, is eating too many calories for what your body needs. ONLY THEN, will your body store the excess calories your body has consumed, as fat.

Even if you are eating clean and avoiding all preservatives, the principle still applies.

Calorie overconsumption over an extended period of time = fat gain.

"Clean" foods can make you fat, "non-clean" foods can make you fat – but not without first being consumed in excess!


Food Choices and Clean Eating Hacks

We all have a hidden sweet tooth or a list of forbidden foods. At the risk of having to buy a new wardrobe just for the sake of “treat yourself", here are a few of our clean eating diet hacks to help when the cravings kick in.

We're a fiend for anything carbonated and anything sugar-free. The Monster drinks are our favorite of all time, but being health conscious we know they’re not the best for us and don’t help us take steps towards goals so stick to Clean Tea TX100 by Bodyscience.

Unlike Monster, Clean Tea isn’t just loaded with stimulants with no additional benefits, Clean Tea contains kombucha tea, probiotics, apple cider vinegar and vitamin C. Just that combination alone is enough to make even the most hardcore of clean eaters jump with joy. Clean Tea is suitable for all those who are health conscious, wanting to avoid artificial sweeteners, and who want a calorie-free beverage that will help propel them towards your goals. Added bonus; Clean Tea won't destroy your tooth enamel and stomach bacteria as some carbonated drinks often do.

For a quick snack, and for a convenient nutrient boost on the go, Clean Bar by Bodyscience are our go to.

Packed with micronutrients, 100% natural ingredients and vegan friendly, Clean Bars are a great way to help me, curb hunger until meal time and because there is no artificial ingredients, they also won’t upset your stomach like many other protein bars do, as Clean Bars do not contain any preservatives.

Click here to shop ASN's full range of clean foods and supplements.

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