Clean Eating: 101

Clean Eating 101 | Lexiscleankitchen.com

Ah… Clean eating. It’s about time this post came about! What is it? How do I do it? Why should I eat clean? What about when I eat out? These are questions I get asked often. Don’t be overwhelmed! I am going to attempt to answer all of your questions.

What is Clean Eating?

To begin, “eating clean” is not a fad diet. Rather, it is a philosophy that encourages YOU to be more aware of the foods you are consuming.

There is no specific science to it and no insane calorie restrictions. It is simple as this, when you begin to replace the processed and unhealthy foods from your diet with fruits, healthy fats, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins, your body will respond in remarkable ways.

The definition of clean eating varies from person to person; so take what you will from the core principle (below) and adapt it to your lifestyle.

My version: Clean eating went from a diet to a complete lifestyle for me. It is the way I approach food and the preparation of food. Overall, this has led me to improving every aspect of my life. For me, eating clean and getting my body to where I wanted it to be meant cutting out all gluten, grains, dairy, and soy. This may not be the case for you; you can eat clean regardless of what you choose to restrict from your diet! It’s about being aware.

Core Principle: 

Here is what you need to know… Clean eating is cutting out all processed foods and replacing them with whole foods. It is simple; you want to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. I bet if you really look at the ingredients in some items in your kitchen, you’ll be very surprised at what some of the “healthy” products out there are filled with.

What foods are not considered “clean”?

  • Foods that are processed or contain processed ingredients
  • Foods loaded with preservatives
  • Foods with added sugar
  • Foods with high levels of bad fats (trans fats- cookies, cakes, chips, etc.)
  • Foods that have been stripped of their nutritional value
  • Foods that have been injected with chemicals and other additives

So… for example, consider replacing white flour, refined sugar, white bread, and enriched pastas with whole-wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and natural sugars such as raw honey and stevia.

Here’s the deal…

  • Believe me, I know it’s hard in the beginning. We are used to eating bowls of cereal, drinking soda and sugary juices, and popping in a frozen meal for convenience. But ask yourself, how do you feel? If you are committed to cutting these things out of your diet, you will notice a difference in how you feel AND how you look.

“But it is expensive…”

  • Actually, eating clean is not more expensive, it just requires more preparation. Often these whole foods are cheaper to buy than processed packaged foods are.

Where do I begin? 

  • Read your labels: ALWAYS! The shorter the ingredient list, the better.  A general clean eating rule of thumb is to keep the ingredient list to as few ingredients as possible. If you can’t read or pronounce the ingredients, maybe it’s likely you shouldn’t be eating them, right?
  • Don’t be fooled by what the food industry deems as “healthy” — you’ll often find it is quite the opposite.
  • Get your family or roommates on board. Do yourself a favor and remove temptations from your kitchen.
  • Shop local and organic whenever possible.
  • Shop the perimeter of the supermarket; if something can sit on a shelf or in your cabinet for months or years, it is HIGHLY processed. Avoid it. (Yes ALL cereal is highly processed, you guys!)
  • Check out my ultimate shopping list and my kitchen staples for my shopping guides.

Be Realistic… The 80/20 Approach:

  • Nobody is expecting you to be 100% all the time! The 80/20 approach is simple; you are consistent with your eating and exercising 80% of the time. The other 20%…. Enjoy yourself. You can go out to dinner and have some of that birthday cake without feeling guilty. If you are eating a clean diet and living a healthy lifestyle 4 out of 5 days you are in good shape.
  • So… treat yourself occasionally; but define what that means for you. Once a week? Once a month? Treating yourself every single day won’t get you to your goals;  And just make sure that your treats aren’t you binging on all the things you’ve been good about all week! Figure out what works for you and stick to it. Remember- you are working at being consistent, not perfect!

My Tips:

  • I know it may seem overwhelming. But start slow, you’ll get there!
  • Meal Prep! Preparation is key. Make a meal plan for the week along with a shopping list. Prepare meals so you never have to resort to the vending machine.
  • You don’t need to overdo it….
    • It’s great if you’re eating vegetables, but if it’s covered in breadcrumbs and processed cheesed and baked for an hour it’s losing nutritional value. So what can you do? Keep it simple! Lightly steam or roast your veggie with a little extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, himalayan sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.
  • You don’t have to eat boring! Experiment with spices. All my recipes use clean ingredients and are fully satisfying.
  • Eat 5-6 small meals every 2-3 hours: Eating small meals frequently will help prevent energy crashes because you are stabilizing your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar spikes, excess calories are stored more readily as body fat.
  • Watch your portion size. Eating clean doesn’t mean eat as much as you want.
  • Drink a lot of water!

How do I eat clean when I’m out?

  • Guess what? You can eat out. No problem! Just be aware… What do I mean? Think about it! Yes, it may not be as 100% clean as a meal you would prepare at home. BUT, If you keep it simple and go with things like seafood, lean meats, and vegetables you’ll be in good shape. An extra plus if the restaurant serves grass-fed, organic meats and wild fish!
  • I always ask how my food is prepared, and then I order it without sauces/more specifically cream sauces, cheese, breadcrumbs, and certain fats/oils. I always let the staff know about my food restrictions and most places are extremely accommodating. You’ll be feeling great when you leave the restaurant not having ordered that cream-based pasta dish and fried appetizer!

Conclusion:

  • Remember: You do not have to cut a million things out of your diet at once. Ease into it. You’ll constantly be learning more and feeling your body change in positive ways and you’ll want to continue! Make goals for yourself and be consistent; consistent does not mean you have to be perfect 100% of the time!

If you have further questions, feel free to email me at Lexiscleankitchen@gmail.com!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork {Paleo-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free, no refined sugar} | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

This Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is the ultimate pulled pork recipe! Tender and flavorful pulled pork cooked in a homemade sweet and smoky refined sugar free BBQ sauce… doesn’t get much better than that! Summer BBQ perfection.

Pulled Pork | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Ah, the beloved slow cooker. So convenient, so simple, and always delivering delicious meals! I have been wanting to make pulled pork since I purchased my slow cooker months ago (late, I know). After tons of recipe research, I have developed a recipe that is both spicy & sweet, tender, and very simple. The house smelled amazing while this was cooking. Eat it simply in a dish (I like it with some grilled pineapple), in a sandwich, for taco night, or even in quesadillas, the options are endless!

Pulled Pork | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Pulled Pork | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 8 hours and 30 minutes Total Time 0:30 Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. organic pork shoulder roast or pork butt

Meat Rub

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Let simmer uncovered, mixing occasionally, for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  2. While sauce is simmering, combine meat rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Pat meat dry and slice it into three medium pieces. Generously rub the meat with the spice mix, making sure every area is well covered.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon avocado oil. Once the oil is hot, sear meat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until brown. Place the meat in the crock pot.
  4. Once the BBQ sauce is ready, take it off heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Pour into a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour BBQ sauce over the meat in the slow cooker and make sure the meat is generously covered.
  6. Cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  7. Remove the meat and place it on a cutting board. Let cool for a few minutes. When cool, using 2 forks shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat.
  8. Serve warm!

Recipe Notes

*We like serving this with a slice of bibb lettuce, red cabbage slaw, and chives.

Loading nutrition data...
There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!