Are you considering eating clean but not sure what that really means? What about gluten free and paleo diets? There is quite a bit of information out there regarding what is considered clean, paleo and gluten free and not all of it is accurate. While these three eating styles contain a lot of the same food recommendations, they are quite different from each other.
Eating “Clean” – The definition of clean eating is essentially eating foods that have had little or no processing. This way of eating includes primarily fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein. Clean eating DOES include whole grains and dairy. Eating clean does not mean eliminating beef and chicken. On the other hand, you can absolutely be a vegetarian or vegan and eat clean.
Gluten Free – Eating gluten free means excluding all foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye and triticale. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease.
Paleo – This way of eating mimics the way hunter-gatherers ate during the Paleolithic era, the time period from about 2.6 million years ago to the beginning of the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago. These foods include fresh meats (preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthful oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods are not recommended.
So as you can see there are some big differences when it comes to each of these lifestyle choices. Despite the differences, there are a few guidelines that apply to all of them. First, when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, try to buy locally grown organic as often as possible. You’ll avoid pesticides and help your local farmers too! Check out this guide showing where to find local produce in your area.
Next, you’ll want to purchase grass fed beef, organic free range chicken and local seafood. Industrial beef that comes from commercial feedlots is filled with antibiotics and hormones. Grass fed beef is much healthier for you! Read about the awesome benefits here.
As for poultry, organic, locally raised free range chickens are healthier birds and are less likely to contain antibiotics.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a coast, always purchase seafood from local farms and fishermen. You’ll get the benefit of knowing where it comes from plus you’ll support your local economy. In addition, you’ll help the environment since fewer carbon emissions are released than when food is transported by trucks for long distances.
Regardless of whether you’re eating clean, gluten free or paleo, the goal is to eliminate processed foods and eat fresh, whole foods the way nature intended!