What does it mean to eat a clean diet?
Clean eating does not have a specific definition because it is not a specific diet. Clean eating is choosing to live your life in a healthier way. Choosing to eat clean means filling your plate with natural, wholesome foods and excluding anything processed or refined. The idea is not deprivation in the interest of weight loss, as with some other diets, but rather rediscovering and embracing fresh, unaltered food that nourishes your body.
Your relationship with food will forever change when you understand that what goes on your plate is fuel for your body. The quality of fuel directly affects the way your body performs, so why not provide the best possible food choices through clean eating? Your clean eating plan will follow certain principles, such as eating smaller, more frequent meals and staying hydrated, but the plan is flexible and you are an individual. A clean eating plan will not be the same for everyone. Life happens, and if you can eat clean at least 80 percent of the time you will reap wonderful health benefits and feel energized.
Clean eating was not a mainstream diet and lifestyle plan before Canadian fitness model Tosca Reno introduced her version of clean eating in a series of books. This plan gained almost instant acceptance, especially among those trying to lose weight, because Tosca herself went from fat and frumpy to sleek and toned following clean eating principles.
Clean eating did not originate with Tosca Reno though. The concept as a whole was first popular in the 1960s counterculture as another form of rebellion against corporate encroachment in almost every facet of life. People rejected the proliferation of processed food that was part of a conformist, middle-class lifestyle, and they embraced natural, whole foods instead. This clean eating movement was furthered by several books exposing the dangers of pesticides and food additives and the effects they had on human beings and on the food chain.
During this clean food activism period, another group of people quietly and successfully used the same principles, without the political element, to get healthy and fit. To them, clean food equaled more energy and quicker muscle recovery and growth, as well as overall good health. This group consisted of bodybuilders and weightlifters. It is this subculture that Tosca tapped into when joining the weightlifting scene under the advice of fitness publisher Robert Kennedy, whom she eventually married.
Although she didn’t invent clean eating, Tosca has pared the concepts down to simple guidelines that produce results, and that people can follow easily. Clean eating should never be considered a fad diet or even a temporary diet. It is meant to be a lifestyle that includes food and exercise to succeed.