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Eating Clean: Have I Been Eating Dirty?

Debra Rodzinak

A new buzzword I have heard on commercials lately is “clean” food. I wash my fruit and vegetables, I follow the five-second rule, I even gave up my favorite snack food OREO’s, so what am I missing? Am I eating dirty food?

The Instead Game

Prevention.com advises several ways to eat clean by going back to the original natural food instead of the processed version. Let’s play the “instead” game. It goes like this. I will name a processed food; then, name the clean or natural food you should replace it with if you want to eat cleaner.

  • Applesauce – Instead, replace it with a raw apple
  • Orange drink – Instead, replace it with an orange
  • Strawberry gelatin – Instead replace it with fresh strawberries
  • Canned peaches in heavy syrup – Instead, replace with a raw peach
  • Fig Sandwich Cookies – Instead, replace it with fresh figs
  • Cornflakes – Instead, replace with corn tortilla chips with three ingredients:  corn, oil, and salt
  • Canned soup – Instead, replace with soup made from scratch
  • Bologna or other processed deli meats – instead, replace with heritage ham
  • Deli turkey – Instead, ask for brands free of fillers and nitrates
  • Frozen beef patties – Instead, replace with grass-fed beef (If this is too pricey for your wallet, fresh grain-fed beef is a second choice)
  • Chicken nuggets – Instead, replace with fresh chicken breasts
  • Flavored yogurt – Instead, replace with plain yogurt and add fresh fruit
  • White bread – Instead, replace whole grain bread (check the label and make sure that whole grain is the first ingredient)
  • Peanut butter – Instead, replace with natural peanut butter which contains only peanuts and a dash of salt

There are many other examples, but basically eating clean means eating foods that don’t have artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, or colors from artificial sources.

Buying fresh foods all year round can become expensive. Don’t worry. Frozen foods can also be clean foods. Just because they are frozen doesn’t mean that they aren’t clean. There is a distinction. When buying frozen foods, be sure to check the labels for extras that might be added to send it into the processed food category.

If you have children, begin the switchover slowly by substituting one or two items per week with clean items. I am going to try this week to eat clean every day. It won’t be easy, but I believe it will definitely be worth it to my body and my overall health. 

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