What Is Clean Eating?

“What is clean eating?” —I get this question a lot.

Basically to sum up clean eating in one sentence it is this:

Clean eating is about eating whole foods, or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.

That means eating foods that are whole foods!!  Food that grows out of the ground.  A tomato, a handful of green beans.. those are whole foods.

Whole foods are single ingredients. So if you pick up a box and read the ingredient label, it should say things like:


Not things like:


The above is actually the ingredients of an Oreo cookie.

If you cannot grow cornstarch in your backyard, pick it, bring it inside to rinse off and eat it just like that… then it is not a whole food and shouldn’t be eaten.

Boxed or ‘made’ items that have as few whole food ingredients are best. Think ‘One Ingredient’ foods! Eat an apple or some carrots.

If you are hungry, eat a vegetable. If you can’t eat a vegetable then you are not really hungry.


So when you go grocery shopping, try to stick to this plan:

  •  Nothing white. No sugar, no white flour (bread, pasta, etc), no white rice. This includes enriched wheat flour. That is just another way of saying white flour that has had some brown added back in to make it look healthier. If it’s white, and it’s not a vegetable, I don’t eat it. (This requires lots of ingredients list reading!) If I eat bread I eat sprouted grain bread.
  • No Alcohol. Just a small amount of red wine every once in awhile is ok.
  • Healthy Sources of Fats. Be sure that all fats you are consuming are from healthy sources. Fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and nut oils are wonderful.
  • Lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats. If you really think about it, this is a HUGE variety of foods. You should NEVER feel hungry or deprived while eating clean. If you’re doing it correctly, you’ll constantly be satisfied, and after a couple of weeks, you won’t get all those bothersome cravings that you used to get. (Although, occasionally a treat is perfectly okay.)

Simply add lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats such as chicken breasts and fish to your fridge. Also consider frozen fruits and vegetables, just be sure to read the ingredients. Some frozen produce (especially fruit) will sometimes have added sugar. It’s great to stock your freezer with lots of clean eating foods so you’re not constantly having to run to the store for the fresh stuff.


I get so many people who want to eat clean but don’t know where to start.  “How many servings a day!”  “What is a complex carb, is Corn a vegetable?”  So hopefully this will clear the air just a bit!

Tosca Reno the author of the Eat Clean Diet calls her meal plans, cooler plans!  She has different cooler plans based on the type of results you want to get.  So today I am focusing on Cooler plan #2, which is for steady weight loss and maintenance once you goal weight is reached.  So this is basically the plan I stick to year round at this point!  This will give you a good idea of what to eat and when!

What is it?  This IS EATING CLEAN!  Do this year round for steady, healthy weight loss.  But this plan can also be used for maintenance.  Here’s why:  when your body begins to approaching its set point (its genetically predetermined healthy weight) you will find that weight loss will stop or slow.

The occasional treat (glass of wine, piece of chocolate, ect) is permitted in limited amounts.  Unhealthy sugars and fats are not recommended.

How it works:
Follow the eat clean principles as listed below
What to do:

  • Eat more- eat six small meals each day.
  • Eat breakfast every day, within an hour of rising.
  • Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbs at each meal
  • Eat sufficient (two to three servings) healthy fats every day.
  • Carry a cooler packed with clean foods each day.
  • Depend on fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  • Adhere to proper portion sizes.

What to Avoid:

  • Avoid all over-processed foods, particularly white flour and sugar.
  • Avoid all chemically charge foods.
  • Avoid foods containing preservatives.
  • Avoid artificial sugars.
  • Avoid artificial foods such as processed cheese slices.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  • Avoid sugar loaded beverages, including colas and juices.
  • Avoid or do your best to limit alcohol intake.
  • Avoid all calorie dense foods containing little or no nutritional value. I call these anti-foods.
  • Avoid super sizing your meals.

Complex Carbohydrates from Fruit and Vegetables:
6 portions each day.  A portion is:

  • 1 cupped handful or a piece of fruit such as berries, grapefruit, melon, apples and mangoes.
  • 2 cupped handfuls of vegetables including broth based/vegetable puree soups.

Complex Carbohydrates from whole grains and starchy carbohydrates: 
2-4 portions each day.

A portion is:
1 scant handful of high-protein, sugar-free cold cereals, such as clean muesli or granola.
1 handful of cooked cereal
1 piece of whole grain bread or wrap (Sante Fe tortilla wraps from Costco are a great option)
1 handful sized serving of sweet potato, yam, banana, corn, carrots or squash

Lean Protein
6 portions each day.  A portion is:

  • 1 cup or handful of dairy products such as low fat soy, almond, hemp, rice, or skim milk, cottage cheese, kefir, yogurt cheese or plain fat free sugar free yogurt.
  • Shakeology has great sources of lean protein
  • 1 scant handful of raw, unsalted nuts (also a healthy fat)
  • 2 tablespoons of all natural nut butters such as almond or peanut butter (also a healthy fat).
  • 1 palm sized portion of lean meats
  • good quality, sugar- and chemical- free protein powder (hemp, soy or whey).


  • 2-3 liters per day of fresh water with no sodium
  • Clear herbal tea (unsweetened)
  • Black coffee in moderation
  • Green/Black tea

Sweeteners:  Use in moderation.  Avoid Artificial Sweeteners.

  • Agave Nectar 
  • Maple Sugar Flakes
  • Rapadura Sugar



If you would like even more support please head over to my site and sign up and I’d be glad to provide you with daily motivation and support to help you accomplish your health and weight loss goals!  I have lost 30 lbs to date with clean eating and regular exercise.  No starvation just healthy whole meals.  As you can see above this picture is an idea of some of the foods that I enjoy on a regular basis!!!  I would be glad to add you to my weekly newsletter!!!