One of the hottest nutrition trends over the past two years is “clean eating,” but what does that mean? There are many interpretations; some cling to the notion that a vegan or vegetarian diet is the way to eat clean, while, for others,the it means eating only whole foods or those that are minimally processed.
According to the creator of Clean Eating Cooking School and Cordon Bleu-certified chef, Michelle Dudash, RDN, fruits and vegetables are the base of a clean eating pyramid, although all of the food groups include some clean foods. Some who follow one of the hottest eating trends even refrain from eating dairy products, sugar, gluten, soy, and other ingredients they consider off-limits.
Rather than for weight loss purposes, many follow their own clean eating regimen in order to reach optimal health or even cure certain health problems. Naturally, it’s a good idea for all of us to eat healthy, whole foods and avoid certain ingredients or processed foods as much as possible. Eating a healthy diet can certainly decrease the risk of some diseases and help us feel our best, however, for some, clean eating has become an obsession. Some have even become fixated on healthy eating to the point that they suffer from orthorexia nervosa, an unhealthy obsession with eating only the highest quality, healthiest, pure foods.
Essentially, clean eating can result in improved health – as long as whichever interpretation of clean eating a person chooses isn’t overly strict or fanatical. It isn’t a good idea to completely do away with an entire food group, as this can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Ultimately, the goal in clean eating should be to follow a balanced diet that’s heavy on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, while cutting out processed foods as much as possible. Depending on your version of clean eating, you may want to add in fish and some eggs, dairy, or even red meat on a rare occasion. What you don’t want to do is become radical and so strict in what you believe you can or cannot eat, that you develop a mindset that there are certain foods you just aren’t allowed to eat.
Depending on how you interpret this latest diet trend and what foods you include, clean eating can result in a healthier, happier life. As with many other areas of life, it’s about not becoming obsessed or going to extremes, but proper balance.
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