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Let's take 'clean eating' back to basics

Why is this once simple term not that simple anymore?

by: Chanté Felix | 21 Apr 2017
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(Image: Unsplash Brooke Lark)

Clean eating - what innocently started off as a term as pure as a quest to wanting to consume foods that are as close to nature as possible - has today morphed into a ridiculously loaded phrase. 

Recently, this eating plan has come under an enormous amount of scrutiny, with the definition of the term getting lost somewhere along the way. The influence of social media definitely played a big role in how the initial definition has become skewed.

Vogue UK noted that healthy eating social media stars and bloggers who are associated with the wellness trend are often considered to be part of the 'clean eating' clan, irrespective of the fact that their eating requirements differ like night and day. They mention three popular bloggers - Ella Mills with her plant-based diet, Natasha Corret with alkaline based recipes and the famous Hemsley sisters whose meals often contain meat. 

All these different theories cause confusion and this is when things start getting problematic. We'd say that the right and safest way to eat clean is to take a step back and go back to the basics. The Oxford dictionary provides us with the most pure definition which says, “Relating to a diet consisting of unprocessed, unrefined, and nutrient-rich food, typically eaten as small meals throughout the day”, and that’s all you have to do. 

Many bloggers and social media stars, namely the Hemsley sisters and Mills, have distanced themselves from being grouped under the clean eating umbrella because of the way the definition of the phrase has changed.

According to the Evening Standard Jasmine Hemsley said, “When we first heard it, we thought it meant without pesticides, or foods without junk in it, no preservatives. That’s all it means to us. Most people’s idea of clean eating now is salad with no sauce, or green juice. We have never really engaged with that."

People often adapt clean eating to their own dietary needs ( e.g. gluten-free, plant-based etc.) The Huffington Post mentions that this can also be attributed to why the concept sometimes becomes difficult to understand.

We say - let's take things back to the basic definition of what clean eating use to be - food with preferably only one ingredient, has been processed as little as possible and cooked from scratch.   

Have a look at these Instagram posts for inspiration...

There's no shame in treating yourself occasionally, especially when your treat was made by using healthy baking swaps...

WATCH: How to use natural sugar substitutes in baking 

It's important to include loads of vegetables and fruit in your diet.

Clean eating does not mean plant-based, but the consumption of mostly plant-based foods is encouraged. 

Complex carbs, filled with fiber, are allowed! 

Dinner in 30? I have 15 of my favorites rounded up! Get the list- link in profile!

A post shared by Naturally Ella (@naturallyella) on

Meat that has been minimally processed (whole cuts from your butcher) is recommended. 

We'd like to know what clean-eating means to you? Comment bellow or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

- Chante Felix

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