By Christy C
What does it mean to eat “clean”? Clean-eaters typically abstain from eating refined sugars, processed foods, gluten, and only eat pure, (mostly) organic, whole foods—foods that come from the earth. This, for me, includes: fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, beans, rice, and grains.
As vegans, we claim a lot of things. We claim that we save over 100 animals a year by not eating them, we’re doing more for the environment than we would by switching to a hybrid car, and we’re healthier than our flesh-eating peers. All of this is true, however, as veganism becomes more mainstream and accepted, it’s also becoming more Americanized. We all know that pretty much ANYTHING can be made vegan, which is actually scary if you think about it. Most people in America have adopted the SAD diet (Standard American Diet), which is full of refined sugar, gluten, and animal by-products. Sure, you’re cutting out bad cholesterol and reducing your chances of getting cancer significantly by omitting meat from your diet, but what about all the other bullshit, processed food that has made it’s way onto our vegan plates?
These days there are vegan donuts, vegan cookies, vegan milkshakes, vegan cheese, vegan meat, etc. All of which are incredibly yummy and I encourage the consumption of these from time to time, but we shouldn’t be eating these daily, or multiple times a day, just because they’re vegan.
I’ve been eating clean for nearly a year, and I haven’t even gotten so much as the common cold since. I’ve noticed improvement in my skin, my energy levels went up, and my asthma went away. Clean eating has also aided in my eating disorder recovery, which I’ll talk about next time!
Okay, so where do you start? Like with any addiction (and food IS an addiction, *ahem* sugar), it’s better to minimize or cut things out slowly.
How about swapping out a few “bad” things here and there with some healthier alternatives?
- Instead of vegetable and canola oils for cooking try unrefined coconut oil (you can also add this to smoothies for a creamier texture—it’s full of healthy fats that help you feel fuller longer).
- Instead of white rice go for brown rice.
- No white bread! If you must have bread, give Ezekiel Bread a try.
- Use stevia, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup as sweeteners instead of sugar.
- Bake some kale chips instead of grabbing a bag of processed potato chips.
- To bake kale chips, lightly oil a baking sheet with coconut oil and place kale on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze on some lemon or lime juice. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crispy.
A great way to start eating better is to start your day off better! I usually have a smoothie or a huge bowl of mixed fruit for breakfast. This smoothie keeps me full and powered until lunch. It’s also thebestfuckingthing when I come out of my morning hot yoga class.
My smoothie usually includes:
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of frozen fruit (usually berries)
- 1 tbsp of maca powder
- 1-2tbsp of hemp protein powder
- 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
Remember that I am no saint, and every now and then I eat my weight in chocolate and almond butter (usually while menstruating), but every little step to a healthier lifestyle is a huge step in the long run. Make yourself a priority. Take care of yourself and be the best that you can be. For me, I feel my best when I’m eating the healthiest foods possible, and I don’t let my inability to cook hinder my ability to eat well.
For more healthy eating blogs, recipes, ideas, check out my good friend, nutritionist, and personal inspiration’s blog here (where you can find a delicious carrot and beet roast recipe).
Eat clean everyone!