What About Clean Eating? How to Clean up Your Diet

8 Reasons to Quit Eating Processed Foods

what about clean eating

A Clean eating diet is trending right now. Have you noticed? But what about clean eating? Well, first off, clean eating is not a diet. It's a way of life.

In fact, eating clean is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. But, you already know processed and junk food isn't good for you, right?  Even so, you may be thinking… but it tastes so good!

And trust me, the food industry knows this!

Processed foods are made to trigger all the right pleasure centers in your brain. That's why you can't eat just one when you open a bag of Lay's potato chips.

Maybe you didn't know this but food manufacturers now have the ability to enhance flavor through chemical manipulation.

As a result, we've gotten heavier and unhealthier to a level that's epidemic, and we can't seem to stop. We rely on processed foods and crave junk food. But, it's time to change things and take back control of what we eat and where it comes from.

So, let's start by defining processed food.

What is Processed Food?

Beginners Guide to Healthy Eating
You can 
probably look at a chicken nugget and realize that whatever chicken is in it, it has gone through an extreme alteration.
By definition, processed food is food that has been altered from its natural state. So a package of chopped lettuce is actually processed. In other words, it's been made more convenient.
Those types of processed food are usually good for you. But, this is not the type of processed food I'm talking about.
The types of processed foods you want to avoid are those that combine and turn raw ingredients and chemicals into food-like items.

what about clean eatingSugar – Fat – Salt

When ingredients like sugar, fat, and salt are added to food to enhance flavor, you can be sure it's processed food.
These types of foods are high in calories, which means you'll also be packing on the pounds.

You definitely want to avoid these 3 added ingredients which will cause the most damage to your healthIn fact, these 3 ingredients are responsible for most chronic diseases.


Pesticides can also be part of the process. When foods are being grown, they are often treated with chemicals to repel bugs and insects.

That's why eating clean or organic foods can cut down on the number of toxins you consume every day. In fact, by as much as 80%, according to the Environmental Working Group.

what about clean eating

What Is Clean Eating?

You've probably heard people talk about eating a “clean” diet. While there is no specific definition, eating clean means sticking with foods that are as close as possible to their natural state.

Clean foods do not have preservatives, coloring, and man-made chemicals and usually don't come wrapped in plastic.

So, what about clean eating? Well, think whole foods like fruits, vegetables, that are free from additives and other artificial substances.

The idea is to get back to consuming fresh nutrient-rich unprocessed foods that won't clog up your arteries or pack on the pounds.

How do you identify clean foods?

When reading food labels, which you should be doing all the time, you want to avoid foods with more than 5 ingredients.
One ingredient foods, like apples or oranges, are examples of clean foods.

Another tip is to stay away from foods “made with whole grains”. Instead, go for 100% whole-grain products.

Refined grains like bread, cereal, and pasta, which are made from white flour should be avoided. But whole-grain pasta, cereal, and bread are considered clean foods.

Generally speaking, if a food has just one ingredient or is as close to its natural state as possible, it qualifies as “clean food.”

This means no more cans of soup or candy bars, fried chicken, and french fries. Fresh poultry, seafood, and meat are usually fine as long as you take it easy on creams or sauces.

Follow these 7 Tips for Spotting Clean Foods

1. If there are more than 5 ingredients, look for an alternative.

2. If the food you are thinking about buying is in a package, it has been processed to some point.

3. If you read a food label and there are ingredients with names you cannot pronounce, put it back on the shelf.

4. Most foods with organic labels are cleaner than those treated with chemicals and pesticides.

5. Avoid trans fats, monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, other sugars, sodium and other salts, and white flour.

6. If you see the following ingredients, you are looking at extremely processed foods – corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, cane sugar, sodium, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

7. If you buy any of the following Dirty Dozen foods, choose organic if you can, and wash thoroughly before eating.

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen foods are so named by the Environmental Working Group because they are extremely high in man-made chemicals and pesticides.
When grown in the traditional manner, these 12 foods tested positive for anywhere from 47 to 67 different chemicals.
So, a word of caution… Always make sure you buy these 12 foods organic. what about clean eating
  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

8 Reasons to Quit Eating Processed Foods

1. Many of them Include Monosodium Glutamate

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a form of salt that has been chemically changed to enhance the flavor of foods.
It has been directly linked to weight gain and obesity because your brain never knows you are full. Liver inflammation, kidney failure, and even brain damage are possible side effects of MSG.

MSG is listed under any of the following names:

  • Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • hydrolyzed corn
  • Yeast extract
  • Glutamic acid
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Monopotassium Glutamate
  • Calcium Glutamate
  • Magnesium Glutamate
  • Natrium Glutamate

2. They can be Full of High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup is found in more and more in food products all the time. It's found in carbonated soft drinks, as well as in packaged cakes, cookies, jams, jellies, and crackers.

Why is high fructose corn syrup so dangerous to your health?

Because it contributes to:

  • Liver deterioration
  • Plaque build up in your blood vessels
  • Diabetes
  • Accelerated aging

3. Low-fat often Means High in Sugar

Many processed foods boast about being low-fat. But the process which pulls the fat out also involves adding high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, lactose, and glucose, as well as other unhealthy sweeteners.

Sugar triggers the “feel good” transmitters in your brain, which can cause an addiction to the sweet taste. Sugar can have a devastating effect on your health. In fact, many doctors and nutritionists believe it to be the leading cause of chronic diseases and obesity.

4. Low Nutrition

Processed foods are made to last longer on the shelf and taste better than when they existed in their natural state. This often requires removing essential phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, either intentionally or indirectly.

5. Unnatural and Dangerous Chemicals

Food manufacturers create processed foods that have a long shelf-life, are inexpensive to make, and taste great so you continue to buy them.
Do you know how they do this?
In laboratories, they find chemicals like fructose that trigger an addictive response in your brain! Then they inject those chemicals into foods during the manufacturing process. This is unhealthy as best, and dangerous at worst.

6. Clean Foods are Easier to Digest

Good digestion is the secret to a long and healthy life.

The flavor-enhancing, unhealthy chemicals in processed foods are much harder to digest than clean foods. They are poison to your system and you can read about them in this Beginner's Guide to Healthy Eating.

Unnatural chemicals force your digestive tract to work harder than it has to, and this can lead to gastrointestinal and health issues.

7. Whole Foods are Less Expensive

Junk food addicts claim that eating healthy is just too expensive! But studies like the one published by Rodale Institute show that the opposite is true.
For instance, they show that one serving of 100% organic chili (made with fresh ingredients) costs roughly 50 cents less than a can of microwavable chili from the grocery store.

8. You'll Start to Feel Healthier Almost Immediately

 Processed foods contain a lot of junk your body does not need. This can include phosphates which actually weaken bones and organs.

The excess sugar in processed foods can lead to weight gain, heart problems, chronic inflammation, dementia, respiratory failure, and multiple neurologic problems.

When you eat clean and avoid processed food, you become healthier.

Now that you've learned how to identify processed and clean foods and have plenty of reasons to clean up your diet, take the next step and make a plan to eat a clean diet beginning today.

Quick Start Guide to
Healthy Cooking
5 Lessons on How to Cook Great Tasting, Healthy Meals for Yourself &
Your Family
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Written by Jackie Parker


Leave a Reply
  1. Hi Jackie,
    Thanks so much for this eye-opening posting. One of the things I’ve learnt and will keep at heart is that if it has more than 1 or few ingredients, then it’s highly likely processed. I also now know that low-fat will no longer be a reason for me to go for a product- because it on the other hand means high sugar.

    I especially dislike unhealthy sweeteners but I must that not adding admit table sugar to my beverages has been a big battle- where I lose more than I win. But I’m almost making it to completely sucrose-free beverages.

    I’ve always wondered, and probably you could tell me, is there any co-relation between high sucrose intake and slow memory loss? Forgetting things seems to be rampant to today’s generation, you know.
    – SmileAfresh Home Improvement Solutions

  2. This article is an eye-opener. Two months ago, when I decided to follow a junk free diet, I couldn’t figure out where to start. There is a lot of information out there and I felt overwhelmed. Then I stick to an organic diet plan and followed it. I made a drastic change in my grocery list and now almost everything I eat is organic.

    I liked your tips for spotting clean foods. Thanks for sharing those dirty dozen foods. Almost all my meal plans have bell peppers in it. Since it comes under dirty dozen foods, I’ll be more cautious the next time I pick one.

  3. Being a Primal-Paleo advocate I can greatly appreciate clean eating. Organic foods, grass fed meats, wild catch fish, etc. These processed food are one of the corprits of many conditions such as cardiovascular, diabetes, high cholesterol, and many others that are preventable with lifestyle changes. Thank you so much for sharing this information.

  4. So glad you made the decision to cut down on sugar. Did you ever wonder why children’s behavioral problems and learning difficulties became such an epidemic since the 70s? Look no further than to all the sugars and sweeteners add to our diets. Even Alzheimers disease became an epidemic beginning in the 70s. Related? I believe so. 

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