Clean Eating Principles

Clean Eating Principles

Remembering that you are what you eat, clean eating is a critical factor in your health and well-being.  Eating clean is not about eliminating all tasty food from your diet or going hungry.  It’s about removing unhealthy food items from your diet.  Tosca Reno defines clean eating principles in her book “The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged!” and these outlined below:

What to do:

  • Eat six small meals a day (roughly every 2.5 to 3 hours).
  • Eat breakfast every day, within an hour of rising.
  • Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal.
  • Eat sufficient (two or three servings) healthy fats every day.
  • Drink two to three litres of water each day.
  • Carry a cooler packed with Clean foods each day.
  • Depend on fresh fruit and vegetables for fibre, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  • Adhere to proper portion sizes.

What to avoid:

  • Avoid ALL over-processed foods, particularly white flour and sugar.
  • Avoid chemically charged foods.
  • Avoid foods containing preservatives.
  • Avoid ALL artificial sugars.
  • Avoid artificial foods (such as processed cheese slices).
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  • Avoid sugar-loaded beverages, including pop/soda/cola and juices.
  • Avoid (or do your best to limit) your alcohol intake.
  • Avoid all calorie-dense foods containing little or no nutritional value.
  • Avoid super-sizing your meals.

Let’s define lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Note these lists are not exhaustive.

Lean protein includes things such as beans (all), beef tenderloin, bison, canned salmon and tuna – packed in water, chicken breasts, eggs, fat-free plain yogurt, kefir, lean ground turkey, lentils, natural nut butters, pork tenderloin, tempeh, tofu and unsalted, raw nuts and seeds. You should eat six servings of protein a day – one with each meal.

Starchy complex carbohydrates are found in grains like brown rice, buckwheat, bulgar, oatmeal, quinoa*, wheat germ, whole grain pasta.  Complex carbs are also found in vegetables such as carrots, chickpeas*, beans*, sweet potatoes, potatoes, radishes, split peas*, lentils* and yams.  You should eat two to four servings from whole grains and other starchy card sources each day.  Other sources of complex carbs are found in fresh produce.

Healthy fats are almonds, avocados, cashews, flax, cold-water fish, nut butters, olive oil, pecans, pumpkin seed oil, safflower oil, sunflower seeds and walnuts.  You should eat two to three servings of healthy fats each day.

Note: the * indicates that these foods are also sources of protein.

About 55% of your daily calories should come from complex carbohydrates,  27% from lean protein and the remaining 18% from healthy fats.  But what is a serving?  For protein, a portion is roughly the size of the palm of your hand.  For starchy complex carbs, it is what fits into one cupped hand.  For complex carbs from fruits and vegetables, it is what fits into two cupped hands.  For healthy fats, it is one scant handful of nuts or 1 – 2 tablespoons of oil.

For more information, the Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! is a great resource, and a good source of clean eating recipes.  Visit Tosca’s website at

Next post: Think 45min to an hour of moderate cardio is the best way to burn fat?  Hell no!  You’re wasting your time.

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