Clean eating is all the rage these days. You’ve probably heard the phrase but do you know what it means? How does it work and is it all it is cracked up to be? Here are a few things you should know about eating clean that might help to improve your health.

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating is a diet of avoiding– as much as possible– processed foods. There is a little more to it than that, but eating foods as close to the ground as possible is the principle it is founded on. When you do buy food with a package, you should read labels carefully to avoid trans-fats, added sugar and sodium.

Be Picky

The practice of clean eating also entails making sure that you are consuming the best possible animal products. What does that mean? The meats you eat should come from grass-fed cattle– free range if possible. Avoid meat from livestock that has been given hormones and antibiotics. And, whether animal or vegetable, you should eat organic whenever possible.

Be Kind to the Environment

Clean eating also stresses making sure your diet is as easy on the environment as possible. This means trying to eat only produce that is local and in season. Local foods place less burden on the environment, if for no other reason, because when you have foods that are only shipped a few miles, you expend less energy on transportation than if you purchase foods that were grown in other countries.

Eat More Often

Proponents of eating clean advocate eating several small meals a day rather than three larger ones. They also recommend drinking two liters of water a day and encourage filtering the water. Water is one of the foundations of life and even a good fruit juice cannot offer you all of the benefits of good clean drinking water.

Absolutely No Processed Foods?

In the United States, it would be very difficult to avoid processed foods altogether. The occasional piece of chocolate or an ice cream cone will not get you banned from the clean eating club. And, in fact, some moderately processed foods can be good for you– or at least the good they offer can far out-weigh the bad. Nut butters are a good example of this. It does take some processing to turn peanuts into peanut butter. However, the end product can be a nutritional powerhouse. It is high in protein and carbohydrates not to mention monounsaturated fats (you know, the good fats). To eat cleanly, try avoiding the peanut butter that has been heavily processed with lots of sugar added. Choose, instead, natural nut butters that have only one or two recognizable ingredients.

Clean eating is gaining in popularity and there is no wonder about it. The clean eating movement advocates doing things we already know are good for our health. It is a great way to improve our well-being, encourage being better stewards of the planet and be kinder to the animals that we rely on for sustenance. It also makes us more mindful of the food we eat.