Oct 11, 2016

What is Clean Eating?

What exactly is clean eating? I guess that depends on who you ask. If you ask my kids they will all tell you something different. I've had responses from 'food that you wash first', and 'eating food that didn't fall on the floor', to 'who cares as long as it tastes good'.....well from my kids anyway. Doing an internet search to learn for myself wasn't much more helpful. It truly depends it seems on who you ask. I kinda think my kids may actually be more right than wrong then you'd think at first glance.

When we wash food we use water, not chemicals. We now, quite often, are washing our fruit and veggies to get rid of the chemicals that are so routinely sprayed on them when we bring our 'clean' vegetables home from the grocery store. If we are lucky we are just washing off residual dirt, best case scenario is the dirt from our own gardens.

Every parent has had that 'DON'T EAT THAT!' moment when their kiddo drops a piece of candy on a questionable floor. We explain that the floor is dirty because we don't know what's been on it. Well, I don't want to eat food that has sat around in things I can't pronounce or have to wear protective gear just to handle. I don't care how pretty the food is after it's hit, for example, the sidewalk at the state fair, or even a fast food place. We have no clue what the people before us have dragged in on the bottom of their feet. Same idea, it can be the prettiest apple in the world, and still been exposed to things I really don't want to eat, much less feed to my kids.

As for the who cares as long as it tastes good........well I like food, A LOT. If it tastes nasty I might eat it if I'm hungry, but I certainly won't go back for more. I like flavor in fact I crave flavor. In my experience the best flavored foods are the freshest. (Except tomatoes, I HATE fresh tomatoes, however, squish those vine ripened bad boys, with some basil and olive oil, and put them on some pasta and I'm their biggest fan!) The closer the food is to peak freshness and the less distance traveled the better the taste. I double dog dare you to taste a bell pepper from your local farmer's market vs. one from a chain grocery store, go ahead, I'll wait....Ummmhmmmm, you're welcome.

Now, this is all true for meat also. Now if you can't afford organic, or can't butcher your own (and really how many of us can?), or hunt don't feel badly. Just get the best you can for your budget. Meat is trickier as it can be so expensive. While I lived in PA we had a local butcher that I trusted and we had farms close by that sold just about any kind of meat you can find in any grocery store, and it was often cheaper if you tended to buy the high end prepackaged meats because it was available in bulk for freezing. The trick is having the money to buy it when it was available and the room to freeze it. I'll list some websites that helped me when I first started. However, the best finds were those that only locals seemed to know about, so ask around. You might be surprised at what you find.

So simply put clean eating is just that, eating foods that have little to hide. Stay within your budget, don't go stressing that you can't afford the premium organic ultra vegan super crunchy mangos, get the stuff you can afford and keep it simple.  My go to rule of thumb is, if great grandma would have made a face at it, leave it alone....well except for nutella......hey don't judge, we all have that closet something snack, mine was nutella before it was even a thing. (Being a military brat does have some pretty sweet advantages sometimes, and well I had a smug grin until I realized I have no nutella....:P)

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