1

votes

What Is "Eating Clean"?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 14, 2013 at 8:16 PM

One phrase I see pop up alot on PH is "eating clean". I am fairly new to this way of eating, about 1 year in, but I have improved dramatically in many areas of my health, living, and thinking about issues of healthy living. Paleohacks has helped me enormously in this journey - the postings here are usually incredibly thoughtful, interesting, and very helpful.

"Eating Clean" stumps me, however - I can't figure out if people are using it to describe that they are being strict with their paleo principles, or that they are eating mostly veg, fats, and fish, or that they are not utilizing "cheat days", or that they are holding their foods to a standard of organics, pastured, and local only...

I notice that this term is usually used by people wanting to lose weight quickly or "lean out" - is this a Leangains thing? So many people use the term, seemingly to mean the same thing - did one of the paleo gurus coin the phrase, and if so, what did THEY mean?

My red flag goes up because I want to know what "eating dirty" is - is it SAD or is it glutting yourself or is it eating foods which aren't totally old school paleo, like dairy or safe starches? As someone who suffered from disordered eating, I am afraid of being afraid of food - and the term veers perilously close to that, I think.

If someone could help me think this through, I'd appreciate it! Thanks!

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on July 04, 2013
at 05:48 PM

:) youre very welcome

A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on July 04, 2013
at 05:13 AM

I sticking to your diet could be a blanket term for eating clean

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 04, 2013
at 01:14 AM

exactly - eating clean seems to be an evolving style that has changed so much over the decades. Does "eating clean" REALLY just mean "sticking to your diet" (whatever that diet may be)?

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 04, 2013
at 01:12 AM

Thanks so much for this @maryDeeeee - it is exactly what I was looking for! I especially liked how it was pointed out that bodybuilders tested as deficient in certain nutrients because they eliminated whole food groups like dairy and fruit - very interesting. Really comprehensive! Thanks again!!!

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 03, 2013
at 02:00 PM

Yup, my normal interpretation of "eating clean" is Strict Paleo, i.e. no gray area items like dairy or nut flours

463e09e6e28c4f2591aaca88bf0c3cef

(248)

on June 17, 2013
at 06:18 PM

You're both right about the low-fat aspect of "eating clean". Clean eaters often promote snacking throughout the day... could it be that they aren't getting filled up by their low-fat snacks?

Medium avatar

(1097)

on June 17, 2013
at 06:03 PM

Indeed, sir. +1.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 17, 2013
at 05:00 AM

I have noticed that @staceychev - "clean" seems to mean lower in fat that what I feel is "paleo" to me

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on June 15, 2013
at 02:54 PM

If it helps, I try to think of the opposite of clean as "messy," not "dirty." Eating messy seems pretty accurate.

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on June 15, 2013
at 11:08 AM

+1 for the last part of your response, Meg. "Clean" recipes I've seen also seem to espouse a lower-fat mentality as well, especially in terms of dairy.

Medium avatar

(379)

on June 14, 2013
at 11:53 PM

I think you need to specify meat that is pasture-raised or wild, and veggies that are organic and non-GMO.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on June 14, 2013
at 11:31 PM

Glad you agree. It's messed up how food, the (at least now) inanimate object can mess with our headstrings the way it does. I like the idea behind the title of the book "Rich Food, Poor Food". I eat poorly sometimes, it's true. But not dirty.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on June 14, 2013
at 11:27 PM

Great question. It's really useful to clarify terms like these, and also to point out when terminology we're throwing around might have unhealthy implications.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on June 14, 2013
at 11:26 PM

Great question. I've gotten a pretty basic idea of what people mean by it, but it's good to figure these things out. It's also worthwhile to draw people's attention to language that might be triggering for some people, or have insidious negative effects.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 14, 2013
at 11:10 PM

omigod I didn't even THINK about the phrase "eating dirty"! Which is weird because I would have used it ALOT MORE in my initial if I did!!! Hahahahah!!! wait ... were you going as nasty as i was? either way its funny, but yes - who wants to eat dirty, or think of food in that way? Unhealthy, not wholesome, devoid of nutrient - sure, but "dirty" has such extremely negative connotations that even processed icky stuff maybe shouldn't be thought of as "dirty". It's weird to me. I'm going with your plan @O Siodhachain!

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on June 14, 2013
at 08:30 PM

would be considered*by the "clean eating" bodybuilder..

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on June 14, 2013
at 08:29 PM

i believe its a body building thang/slang/term..and lol- just make sure your not ridin dirty http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nf4DhXy9oU yes eating SAD would be eating dirty (processed,sugary ,sauce laden, deep fried,junky stuff )

  • 618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

    asked by

    (1217)
  • Views
    1.3K
  • Last Activity
    1430D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

best answer

1
89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

on July 03, 2013
at 03:32 AM

i came across this and remembered your question so i thought id share

a retrostpective on the evolution of "eating clean"

interesting read

http://www.wannabebig.com/diet-and-nutrition/the-dirt-on-clean-eating/

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 04, 2013
at 01:12 AM

Thanks so much for this @maryDeeeee - it is exactly what I was looking for! I especially liked how it was pointed out that bodybuilders tested as deficient in certain nutrients because they eliminated whole food groups like dairy and fruit - very interesting. Really comprehensive! Thanks again!!!

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on July 04, 2013
at 05:48 PM

:) youre very welcome

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on July 03, 2013
at 03:57 AM

I always took "eating clean" as to eating according to the diet with no cheats/marginal/questionable items.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 03, 2013
at 02:00 PM

Yup, my normal interpretation of "eating clean" is Strict Paleo, i.e. no gray area items like dairy or nut flours

1
463e09e6e28c4f2591aaca88bf0c3cef

(248)

on June 15, 2013
at 08:15 AM

REAL food is CLEAN food (as in, you just have the food - the cut of meat, the veggie, the fruit, the nut...)

DIRTY food is going to be FAKE food (processed foods, like frozen pizzas, white bread, refined sugars, etc.)

But the line between clean and dirty will be a bit different for everyone. I think we can all agree that all Paleo food is "clean" but not all clean food is Paleo (Clean Eaters often eat whole grain wheat bread and other stuff like that).

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on June 15, 2013
at 11:08 AM

+1 for the last part of your response, Meg. "Clean" recipes I've seen also seem to espouse a lower-fat mentality as well, especially in terms of dairy.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 17, 2013
at 05:00 AM

I have noticed that @staceychev - "clean" seems to mean lower in fat that what I feel is "paleo" to me

463e09e6e28c4f2591aaca88bf0c3cef

(248)

on June 17, 2013
at 06:18 PM

You're both right about the low-fat aspect of "eating clean". Clean eaters often promote snacking throughout the day... could it be that they aren't getting filled up by their low-fat snacks?

1
Medium avatar

on June 14, 2013
at 09:31 PM

I think 'eating clean' is a term that can 1. get blown out of proportion, and 2. means so many gosh darn different things it's silly to use it. To a vegan, 'eating clean' is much different than how paleo people eat, I'm sure.

When I say 'I'm eating clean," I mean that I'm rejecting the non paleo (which for me is really dairy at this point) regularly and eating only whole, nutrient rich and fully satiating foods. That's it. But 'eating dirty' does sound like an awful term, doesn't it?I agree, I think it sucks. Let's not say we're eating dirty, or think of food in those terms unless you absolutely know it won't start food's hold over you. Sounds like a plan to me.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on June 17, 2013
at 06:03 PM

Indeed, sir. +1.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 14, 2013
at 11:10 PM

omigod I didn't even THINK about the phrase "eating dirty"! Which is weird because I would have used it ALOT MORE in my initial if I did!!! Hahahahah!!! wait ... were you going as nasty as i was? either way its funny, but yes - who wants to eat dirty, or think of food in that way? Unhealthy, not wholesome, devoid of nutrient - sure, but "dirty" has such extremely negative connotations that even processed icky stuff maybe shouldn't be thought of as "dirty". It's weird to me. I'm going with your plan @O Siodhachain!

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on June 15, 2013
at 02:54 PM

If it helps, I try to think of the opposite of clean as "messy," not "dirty." Eating messy seems pretty accurate.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on June 14, 2013
at 11:31 PM

Glad you agree. It's messed up how food, the (at least now) inanimate object can mess with our headstrings the way it does. I like the idea behind the title of the book "Rich Food, Poor Food". I eat poorly sometimes, it's true. But not dirty.

1
4f12a06aee26f64e432762495302ec9d

(292)

on June 14, 2013
at 09:17 PM

I consider clean eating to basically mean only eat things that haven't been "fiddled with"!!

Such as fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts!

Processed burgers for instance are "dirty" as they are processed and "fiddled" with!

Hope this helps!

Medium avatar

(379)

on June 14, 2013
at 11:53 PM

I think you need to specify meat that is pasture-raised or wild, and veggies that are organic and non-GMO.

0
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on July 03, 2013
at 10:29 PM

I think the traditional definition of "Eating Clean" is basically just eat only unprocessed, foods, which Paleo is, but the "Eating Clean" by Tosca Reno definition also includes whole grains and tofu

A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on July 04, 2013
at 05:13 AM

I sticking to your diet could be a blanket term for eating clean

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 04, 2013
at 01:14 AM

exactly - eating clean seems to be an evolving style that has changed so much over the decades. Does "eating clean" REALLY just mean "sticking to your diet" (whatever that diet may be)?

0
5c08d3b8ea8a15642d2e399581f07fd1

on July 03, 2013
at 07:17 PM

To me it's no additives and other chemicals or non natural occurring sugars. I like to keep things as simple as possible.

0
Medium avatar

on June 14, 2013
at 11:57 PM

It's just eating REAL FOOD. Meat that's pasture-raised or wild. Veggies that are organic and non-GMO. No added chemicals or dyes. And very importantly, not super-processed.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!