Clean Eating 101: What It Is & Where To Begin


What Is Clean Eating?

Eating clean represents a sustainable lifestyle that emphasizes food that is real and not laden with things that compromise health such as artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, and sugar substitutes. Food doesn’t need to be organic; it just needs to be natural.

 Clean eating is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and it’s preparation, which leads to an improved life – one meal at a time.

The clean eating rule of thumb? The shorter the ingredient list – the better! Consume food in its most natural state or as close to it as possible. No specific food is off-limits as long as it’s a real, honest-to-goodness food.

In other words, this isn’t a “diet.” Clean eating is a permanent lifestyle change. The transition can be overwhelming at first. There are so many misconceptions that healthy food is expensive or that it’s not healthy unless it’s also organic.

The reality?

Eating clean is simple!

Remember, you don’t have to start from scratch. When I made the transition to cleaning eating I didn’t go through my entire kitchen and throw everything away – I simply decided to remove processed foods from my next shopping adventure.

Start by saying goodbye to common kitchen culprits. This includes all the “white stuff.” White sugar, flour, bread, rice, pasta, and table salt. Products like soda, condiments containing High Fructose Corn Syrup, processed foods, and junk food are out. Finish what you have and make a promise to yourself not to buy any more.

Take Your Time

Switching to a clean lifestyle requires commitment, energy, and motivation. It is nearly impossible to overhaul an entire kitchen pantry and refrigerator in one shopping excursion.

Replace one thing at a time. Rice noodles or quinoa instead of standard pasta, almond milk or soy in place of cow’s milk, 70% dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, muesli instead of processed cereals, brown rice in place of white rice, sweet potatoes instead of white, and whole grains instead of refined.

Small daily changes lead to BIG results!

Clean Eating Tips

  • Never Skip Meals
    • This will force your body into starvation mode and cause your metabolism to slow down; basically hoarding whatever calories you do eat. Instead, eat smaller meals more frequently and never skip a snack. Think of food as fuel for your body.
  • Base Each Meal Around A Lean Protein Source
    • Try fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese), legumes, beans, and quinoa. The serving size should be approximately the size of your fist.
  • Alcohol To A Minimum; No Soda
    • As a general recommendation, only red wine or clear liquor — minimum of 4 – 8 oz daily. If you are a soda drinker, try Zevia instead.
  • Add Healthy Fats To Your Diet
    • Essential omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids are crucial in a healthy diet. Good sources of healthy fats are oily fish (salmon), tuna, almonds, walnuts, avocados, olive oil, and supplemented fish or flaxseed oil.
  • Hydrate
    • Drink a minimum of 2-3 liters of water daily. Drink one extra 8 oz glass for every caffeinated beverage consumed. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. The best gauge of hydration is urination: You should be using the restroom every 2 hours.
  • Choose Natural Products
    • Do not confuse natural with organic. Natural simply means food in its purest state. Avoid refined foods, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. Try to limit “fat-free” products, which usually make up taste by adding sugar. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store for most items.

Getting Started!

I’ve complied a list of healthy foods that are absolutely delicious. Try incorporating foods from each category into your pantry and refrigerator. As you continually add in the clean, your taste buds will change and adapt and you will find yourself craving the good stuff!

Ready to start? Print out a copy of my FREE Clean Eating Grocery List and take it with you on your next grocery shopping trip. If you are truly ready to make a lifestyle change, get in touch with me for nutritional plans.

11 Comments on Clean Eating 101

  1. Strength and Sunshine
    March 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm (4 years ago)

    Love this post Amanda! I wish we all could live this way! <3

    • Toned & Fit
      March 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Rebecca. <3 No wishing necessary, we all can — it's just a matter of if we WILL. 🙂

      • Strength and Sunshine
        March 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm (4 years ago)

        We’ve just got to educate and be helpful advocates!

  2. Marian
    March 31, 2014 at 6:40 am (4 years ago)

    I love that you do not refer to Clean Eating as a diet and describe it as a healthy lifestyle. If everybody stopped with faddy diets and followed your advice, the world would be a much healthier place.

    • Toned & Fit
      April 4, 2014 at 8:47 am (4 years ago)


      Thanks for your wonderful words <3 I really dislike the word "diet" and the mentality that follows. My job as a Health Coach is to break the female mindset surrounding food — Food is fuel for our beautiful bodies. Health is a lifestyle, never a diet.


    • Toned & Fit
      April 4, 2014 at 8:45 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks Michelle — I’m so flattered. Congrats on your Liebster Award win and I will definitely be sharing and nominating a few of my own.



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