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Clean eating: What does it mean?

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Whether you are a Freeletics Nutrition Coach user or not, you might have already stumbled upon the term “clean eating”. But what’s this mysterious nutritional approach everybody is talking about nowadays? And most importantly: why is it supposed to be the key to a fit body and a healthy mind? We have the answer. Read on.

Clean eating in a nutshell

Clean eating is a healthy nutritional lifestyle that is based on whole, unprocessed foods.  By eating clean, you provide your body with all the right nutrients it needs to function at its best. At the same time, you avoid eating overly-processed foods which are one of the key causes of obesity and chronic diseases.

The best thing about clean eating: it’s not about dieting. Instead, it’s about focusing on tasty, but nutritious foods. No calorie counting, no crash dieting. Many people have tried one of those over-hyped diets before and realized after a certain period of time that diets just don’t work. With clean eating, it’s different. You don’t have to count calories or track anything, nor do you have to eat cabbage for 2 weeks straight. Eating healthier is an easily applicable nutritional approach, no matter if you are vegetarian, vegan or if you suffer from food intolerances.

The principles of eating cleaner

Whole foods are the foundation of clean eating. These are foods which are either eaten in their natural form without being processed, or are made of just one ingredient only. This is why they also usually don’t need a nutrition label. Besides eating whole, unprocessed food, eating clean also means sticking to high quality food, particularly when it comes to veggies, fruits, meat and fish. This is why we suggest always going for the organic alternative whenever you can. Your body will thank you for making the right choice. And to help protect the environment and support local farmers, try buying regional produce where it is offered.

Your meals define your nutrient intake

Vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, fresh herbs, nuts, seeds and fish or meat are some examples of what your menu will mostly look like when eating clean. Those whole foods are full of everything you need to keep your body and soul healthy (yes, your mood is also influenced by certain nutrients): vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, healthy fats, protein and carbs. Your body is dependent on many of these nutrients to function properly and to keep you healthy.

Let’s take vitamins for example: they are vital for different metabolic processes and cannot be synthesized by the human body (except Vitamin D). Despite their high importance, vitamin deficiencies are not uncommon, even in  the most developed countries. It’s crucial to keep up your vitamin intake to strengthen your immune system and avoid concentration disorders and fatigue.

Why does our society suffer from nutrient deficiencies?

In most of the cases the answer is an unbalanced diet. In our fast-paced environment, it is common to choose fast food, ready-made meals or soft-drinks on a regular basis. Fast food for example, is loaded with trans-fats, sugar, additives, preservatives and sodium and is very low in vitamins, minerals or antioxidants (if at all). Those ingredients have a direct negative influence on our health, our mood and our energy and can – in the worst case – cause severe diseases like diabetes, cancer or heart issues. Additionally, many conventionally produced fruits and vegetables are highly polluted by herbicides and pesticides and conventionally produced meat and fish are loaded with hormones, which all can be harmful to your health. This highlights the importance of going organic.

The 80/20 rule

Keep in mind that the clean eating lifestyle doesn’t mean that you have to stick to clean foods 100% of your time. It’s totally ok to eat a piece of cake when there’s a birthday party and to drink a glass of wine or beer every now and then. Of course it is also ok to eat a piece of chocolate (go for dark chocolate) occasionally. We don’t want you to feel chained up by strict rules – instead, you should enjoy the benefits of clean eating, which you will notice soon enough after adopting this lifestyle. If you eat clean 80% of the time, this is already huge success. Keep that in mind.

So let’s recap

The quality of food directly translates to the quality of your life: how you look, how you feel, how you behave. You are what you eat. Eating clean means consuming whole foods and and avoiding overly processed foods. Through our Freeletics Nutrition Coach, we make sure that you get everything you need to be your best version: it provides you with a balanced, healthy eating plan containing tasty recipes and if you are vegetarian or vegan, you don’t like to eat fish or meat, we have recipes which will suit you.