Healthy Eating versus Clean Eating

Hello readers! I’m not sure how many of you have noticed, but recently, I changed my blog a little bit. I decided I’m going to focus more on healthy eating instead of strictly clean eating. There are a lot of reasons why I chose to do this, so I thought it would be nice to share them with all of you and hear your opinions as well!

For about a year and a half, I was a clean eater, meaning I didn’t eat many animal products, processed foods, chemicals, or sugars. I thought this was the best diet for me because I wanted to be healthier and manage my weight. However, after doing more research on the Eat-Clean Diet and taking a nutrition class here at my university, I learned that this kind of diet isn’t really best for me.

Tosca Reno, creator of the Eat-Clean Diet, isn’t a doctor (neither am I), so you have to be skeptical when reading her book. I’m not saying my advice is any better than hers; this is simply why I am changing my eating habits.

Here are some reasons why I decided to make the switch from clean eating to healthy eating.

Moderation

Over the year and a half I was eating clean, I was almost obsessed with eating the right foods. This diet didn’t allow any room for moderation. Instead, I am focusing on eating so-called unhealthy foods in moderation. For example, I’m now allowing myself to eat salad dressing and other condiments as long as I eat my vegetables. I’m also letting myself treat myself whenever I have a craving, as long as I eat my fruits and vegetables that day.

Saturated Fats

The Eat-Clean Diet preaches that saturated fats are unhealthy and should be avoided. However, there is no evidence that says that saturated fats are unhealthy, so there really isn’t a need to eliminate them from your diet. I’ve reintroduced milk, cheese, and cream into my diet. Let me tell you, I’ve missed cheese!!

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Long-term Sustainability

Eating healthy is more sustainable in the long run than eating clean. It’s unrealistic to place restrictions on yourself for your entire life, so I’ll eat treats in moderation and make sure to eat my fruits and vegetables like always.

It is also a lot cheaper to eat canned and frozen vegetables than buying fresh, organic ones. Although I would love to eat organically, it’s unrealistic for me in the long run because of the high costs and difficulty finding organic food.

When eating healthy, it is much easier to eat out or indulge during social gatherings. It was always very hard for me to find something to eat at restaurants, and it was even more difficult for me to find something to eat at parties, cookouts, or other get-togethers. It was inconvenient and somewhat embarrassing to always bring my own food to social events, but with eating healthy, I can treat myself without feeling guilty.

Restrictions

When eating healthy, there are fewer restrictions than when eating clean. Healthy eating (to me) means eating the recommended servings of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and fats each day, while eating sugar and processed foods in moderation. Instead of eliminating certain things from my diet, such as cheese, beef, condiments, salad dressing, coffee creamer, desserts, and potatoes, I will simply eat them in moderation.

Calcium

I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling that while I was eating clean, I wasn’t getting near enough calcium in my diet. I rarely drank milk, almost never ate cheese, rarely ate yogurt, and stayed away from most fortified breakfast cereals. Now that I’ve reintroduced cereal, milk, and cheese, I’m doing my bones a favor.

Cost

Organic, all-natural, chemical-free foods are expensive. Shopping at specialty health food stores can also take a toll on your wallet. I tried to buy organic, all-natural foods, but I just couldn’t afford to do it for long. Now, I buy lots of frozen and canned vegetables, and it really saves money while keeping me healthy!

Since I’ve started eating healthy and reintroducing foods back into my diet, I’ve actually felt better! My mind feels healthier and my body feels more energized. I’m not sure if I’m eating more calories or anything, but I feel like this is healthier for me than following such a strict diet with such rigid guidelines.

Some foods I’ve reintroduced to my diet are:

  • Store-bought whole wheat bread
  • White potatoes
  • Skim milk
  • Cheese
  • Beef
  • Store-bought healthy breakfast cereals
  • Salad dressing
  • Croutons (in moderation)
  • Desserts (in moderation)
  • Salami
  • Pepperoni

Hopefully, none of you readers are upset with me for abandoning the clean eating train! I’m not saying clean eating is any less healthy than a normal healthy diet, but it’s just what works best for me. I think we all need to find what works best in our lives and focus on being as healthy as can be!

What is your opinion of eating clean? How do you feel about my switch to regular healthy eating?

 

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10 thoughts on “Healthy Eating versus Clean Eating

  1. Clean eating is a fad diet. It’s unrealistic and causes a lot of people distress. I was stupid a few years back switching from eating nothing to clean eating while trying to recover from anorexia at the same time. Only when I stopped trying to eat clean did I finally truly recover. There is no point in going through life being afraid of certain foods and longing for others that you “can’t have” because of clean eating.

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one to think that it’s unrealistic! I don’t think that is a healthy mindset to say “I can’t have that.” Instead, we should think, I can have that, but I don’t need 10 servings of it. I am happy that you have recovered πŸ™‚

  2. This is a really interesting post and highlights the need to have a healthy approach to our health. It’s ironic but sometimes our approach to health is detrimental to our health, physical or mental and we need to view the whole thing holistically.

    Whatever your problem with food is, over eating, under eating, emotional eating, or just because you want to stay healthy and fit or you want to use food to heal yourself it’s important that everything is healthy including the mental attitude.

    I’ve learned that after years of struggles, I was focusing on one or the other, my mental or physical struggle and not on both.

    We have to feel what is ‘normal’ for us or else we will feel abnormal and that is not good for anyone.

    • It is ironic that sometimes what we think is best really hurts us, isn’t it? What seemed like a healthy diet for my body really wasn’t healthy for my mind. We all should do what we feel comfortable with because then we can be truly healthy, both physically and mentally.

  3. I think your blog is awesome. And you’re right, you have to do what’s best for you. And. It sounds like switching up healthy eating has helped your mental health. It must have taken a toll on your brain to only eat clean, especially while you were out. Enjoy the healthy eating with an occasional splurge. You deserve it!

    • Thanks for reading! I’m glad I made the switch. We should all do what we feel is right for us whether it’s eating Paleo, eating clean, eating healthy, or anything else. We are all different, so no one way is the right way.

  4. You blog has always been a favorite of mine, but personally I am liking the switch to healthy eating instead of strictly clean eating!
    I am not the type that’s able to stay on such a strict diet, but eating healthy while allowing room for moderation is doable for me (with a lot of motivation haha). Cost has also been a major factor that prevents me from eating clean.
    I’m looking forward to more healthy eating posts from you! πŸ˜€

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