Clean eating is all about avoiding processed and refined foods and consuming whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Eating nourishing and real foods, loving your body and respecting the environment are the main principles for living a healthier and simpler lifestyle. Once you decide that you want to start eating clean, going grocery shopping may seem like a daunting task. To help you with that task we’re going back to the basics and guide you through the staples and principles of clean eating.
CLEAN EATING STAPLES
MEAT & POULTRY
If you’re not a vegan or a vegetarian you can include meat and poultry in your diet 3 to 4 times a week. Choose grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, organic and cage free turkey and chicken, and other unprocessed meats.
FISH & SEAFOOD
Choose wild caught fish, e.g. salmon and freshwater trout, and prefer smaller species, such as sardines and anchovies. The smaller species contain lower levels of mercury. When choosing mollusks, e.g. clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels, favor the sustainably farmed. Mollusks are some of the safest, least contaminated and eco-friendly farmed seafood. Limit the consumption of fish and seafood to 3-4 times a week.
DAIRY & ALTERNATIVES
If you eat dairy products stick with the organic, full-fat version because it’s the least processed and the healthiest. Look for yogurts that contain only milk and bacteria, and look for cheese that only has milk, whey and animal rennet in it. As for alternatives, choose homemade almond milk, hemp seed milk, oat milk, rice milk yogurt, etc.
Choose extra-virgin and cold-pressed butters and oils. Cook, bake, and season with olive oil, coconut oil and ghee (clarified butter).
Nuts are a great source of essential fats, fiber, and protein. Nut milks and butters are often used to replace dairy products. Choose raw and unsalted nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.).
Quinoa, millet, amaranth, hemp, sesame, sunflower, chia seeds… Pack your pantry with raw seeds and use them in breads, salads, granola and other baked goods.
GRAINS & FLOURS
Whole grains and flours, such as wheat, rye, and spelt, are a great source of carbohydrates and are also a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and a variety of phytochemicals that can vastly improve your health. If you’re intolerant or allergic to gluten choose rice, oats, buckwheat, corn, and teff instead.
Beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts are legumes and are an inexpensive food. They’re high in fiber, calcium, and iron and are also a great source of protein. When combined with high protein whole grains, such as buckwheat, millet, brown rice, quinoa, and teff, they provide all the essential amino acids needed by humans.
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Opt for fresh, organic and in-season fruits and vegetables. Choose frozen fruits and vegetables only when there’s no added sugar or seasonings. For example, if you’re buying frozen blueberries the ingredients list should read: blueberries.
HERBS & SPICES
Think of herbs and spices as natural remedies and use them accordingly. If you have poor circulation you can season your food with cayenne pepper and fresh garlic, and if you struggle with bloating and bad digestion, season with turmeric, mint, and ginger.
Raw apple cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, miso, tamari, sauerkraut and other fermented veggies are all allowed condiments that are packed with health-promoting nutrients. Just make sure you’re able to pronounce all the ingredients in the labels and that those ingredients are real food.
Natural sweeteners, such as raw honey, coconut sugar, pure maple syrup and medjool dates are safe to eat but should be consumed in moderation.
Add a few superfoods to your shopping cart, e.g. raw cocoa powder, bee pollen, unsweetened and shredded coconut, goji berries, maca powder, and a couple of extras, such as organic tea and coffee.
CLEAN EATING GROCERY SHOPPING GUIDE
1 – Clean out your pantry, refrigerator, freezer and start fresh.
2 – Plan out your weekly meals.
3 – Print our clean eating grocery list and include the healthy ingredients you need for the recipes you want to make.
4 – Go grocery shopping and choose products that have minimal ingredients, no added sugar, salt, trans fat or high fructose corn syrup.
5 – Avoid chemicals, artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives as much as possible.
6 – Fill your grocery cart with natural, unprocessed, fresh, raw, whole and in season products.
7 – Stock your pantry with nourishing and healthy food!