What is ‘Clean Eating’?

Here is a List of What To Eat and What To Avoid When Following A ”Clean Eating” Lifestyle

What is ‘Clean Eating’ anyway? Clean Eating is about enjoying fresh, whole and organic foods- not processed foods with ingredients you can not pronounce. It’s about eating what makes you feel good. It’s not about eating 10 bowls of quinoa and kale everyday because you’ve heard they are good for you. That’s just simply not what this is about.  I eat clean because of my health story and because my body reacts severely if I accidentally eat foods that don’t agree with me. My best tip for you is to choose foods that have one ingredient and try to incorporate a new fruit or vegetable into your meals each week.

Step 1: Increase your vegetable intake. Again, not everyone needs to be eating buckets of kale everyday, even though I wouldn’t have a problem with that, so try a new veggie each week or add avocado to your toast instead of butter or try baking sweet potatoes instead of eating potato chips. It may take a little extra time; but I assure you- it’s worth it.

Step 2: Increase your fruit intake. Not processed fruit snacks, not processed fruit juices. I’m talking about real fruit. An apple, an orange, a kiwi- you get the picture, right?

Step 3: If you are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy try dairy-free alternatives and check out my Dairy-Free Page for clean dairy-free products.

Step 4: If you are gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease or are just trying to eat less gluten, check out my gluten-free page.

Step 5: If you are Paleo or are trying to follow a lower carbohydrate grain-free lifestyle, check out my grain-free page.

Step 6: If you eat dairy, I suggest to my clients you always stick with organic. This goes for all milk, yogurt, cheese, ice creams, etc. My favorite brand is Organic Valley. Applegate Farms also sells great organic cheeses.

Step 7: If you are vegan looking for a clean protein powder I suggest the following Clean brands: Vega, Amazing Grass, Garden of Life and Nutiva.

Step 8: If you eat seafood, I suggest you purchase it fresh and stay away from farm-raised.

Step 9: If you eat eggs, I suggest you eat organic eggs or organic egg whites. My favorite brand of organic eggs is Organic Valley.

Step 10: If you eat meat, I highly suggest you eat only organic. My favorite brand is Applegate Farms.

Step 11: No fast food or deep-fried foods; nothing that has been deep fried in oil.

Step 12: No fat free products; do not eat any products labeled fat free because they are filled with numerous other ‘fillers’ that are not healthy or real foods.

Step 13: Stop eating when you are full. Wrap up your leftovers for your next meal or snack.

Step 14: Eat 100% whole grain.

Step 15: Watch out for refined sugars and sweeteners: No Splenda, aspartame, white sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or cane juice. Try to use stevia, a no calorie sweetener made from a plant. My favorite brand is NuNaturals.

Step 16: Eat local foods that are grown in your area to support your farmers. Farmers markets are a great way to find local produce and Whole Foods Market now sells numerous local produce, as well.

Step 17: Steer clear of refined or hydrogenated oils including vegetable oil, organic vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, organic canola oil, grape seed oil, margarine and soybean oil.

Step 18: Don’t touch artificial flavorings or colors. Those dyes are going to do a number on your body.

What IS Clean?

What is NOT Clean?

  • Corn Syrup
  • Fried Foods
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Bacon
  • Non BPA-free canned goods
  • Canola Oil
  • Deli meat that contains nitrates
  • Margarine
  • Processed Mayonnaise
  • White flour, breads, pasta, etc.
  • Refined white sugar
  • Regular table salt
  • Vegetable or Hydrogenated Oils

Make sure to READ Ingredient Lists Carefully.

  • Some millet and amaranth cereals may contain corn or oats.
  • Some mayonnaise, mustards and vinegars can come from corn or wheat.
  • Gluten-Free breads may contain oats, spelt, rye, kamut or sugar.
  • Cornstarch may be in beverages, processed foods and baking powder.
  • MSG may be in products that are labeled ‘Natural Flavors’.
  • Many teas, hard candies and chewing gums contain soy.
  • If purchasing rice cakes, buy Brown Rice Cakes- not Multi-Grain Rice Cakes because they are not just made from rice.
  • If purchasing canned items, make sure they do not contain textured vegetable protein (this is a form of soy).

Remember To:

  • Be mindful of what your toxic triggers are and remove them from your lifestyle. Do you feel bloated, tired, aches, pains, constipation, fatigue, feeling run down or diarrhea? If so, it may be helpful to remove certain items from your lifestyle such as gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and certain fruits or vegetables. Slowly introduce them to see if they are the cause of your symptoms.
  • Alkalize! Eat more alkaline foods (vegetables) than acidic foods (sugar, white flour). Reduce your consumption of non-organic meats, dairy, sugar, wheat, white flour products such as white rice, breads, desserts).
  • Juice your fruits and vegetables at least twice a week. Try apples, spinach, cucumbers and celery.
  • Eat half of your food RAW. Try raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and oils.
  • Probiotics. Support your ‘gut’ with healthy fats such as avocados and coconut oil, fiber and foods containing probiotics such as kimchee, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut. I take Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics daily. To order Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics, use code: Amie6 for Free First Class Mail shipping and a Free Sample Size of the Kampuku Soap with any order.
  • Avoid refined grains and wheat, alcohol, refined sugar and foods containing preservatives.
  • Add hemp seeds and ground flax seeds to your lifestyle or take a fish oil pill for inflammation.

It is essential to work with a nutritionist and an Integrative M.D. because I am sharing general information that is not intended to be medical advice. This information is only given for informational purposes.

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Merle August 1, 2013 at 8:27 am

Clean eating isn’t complicated. Clean eating is recognizing every ingredient. Clean eating is avoiding man-made food products. Clean eating means staying as close to nature as possible. Clean eating is doing what feels right for YOUR body. And finally, clean eating = feeling GREAT!


Sam August 1, 2013 at 8:27 am

I found you on Facebook and read about the August Clean Eating Challenge and decided this is just what I needed in my life right now.
My boyfriend discovered he’s gluten intolerant about 3 months ago, so has had to change the entire way that he eats. I want to support him and help myself at the same time. Not only do I need to lose about 20 lbs., but I also want to fuel my body better than I have been.
Thanks for the Challenge, guidelines, information, and help!


Lauren Glassman August 1, 2013 at 8:27 am

I’m excited for the one month clean eating challenge. I try to eat this way but somehow get sidetracked, I guess that’s life. I think it will be inspiring to do this along with Amie and a posse of clean eaters!
Here’s to feeling great and adopting new habits…I’m in!


Sharon August 1, 2013 at 8:30 am

Hi Amie,
This is such crucial information! THANK YOU! This is basically the kind of diet I follow…and I know it is not just a “fad” for a period of time, it needs to be a lifestyle change. It has been one of the biggest factors (if not the biggest) for me in healing from a chronic illness. Clean eating is important for LIFE…whether that means preventing disease or reversing one. Unfortunately foods have become tainted, so we are now in a position of being investigators to do the best thing for our own health. Thank you for your guidance!


Cheri August 1, 2013 at 8:31 am

I am going to try clean eating for the month of August. After going Gluten Free and starting to really read labels. It made me realize that, I’m eating a lot of things that I can’t even pronounce. So it made me really wonder, what is all of this doing to by body. So I want to try and elminate at much as possible and eat as clean as I can! What a great challenge!


Lauren Glassman August 1, 2013 at 8:43 am

Somehow the last part of my comment was deleted. The rest of my comment is this.
For me clean eating is eating food in it’s most natural state. It’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle where you eat and enjoy “real” foods.
It’s tasting and feeling the effects in your body with true nourishment. I feel that the body works best with a clean eating lifestyle.
Eat clean And feel great…so excited!


Karen August 1, 2013 at 9:04 am

Clean eating is important it gives us the very best life we can possibly have on all levels….our body, mind and soul…..nourish them and life becomes simply amazing…..believe it, I have been there and the results are truly amazing…..if you don’t believe it….then let’s start this challenge together….30 days is all you need to see results…..and I promise you, you won’t go back :D

Thank you for creating this site, and bringing so much valuable information available to everyone!!!


Kerri Seymour August 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

I already try to eat fairly clean, but I’ve been cheating a lot over the summer, and I look forward to trying to clean up my diet again!


Emily Lewis August 1, 2013 at 9:20 am

I think it is basically eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible! To put it very simply…. And remembering that when you slip up its not the end of the world. Next piece of food or meal can get back on track!


Tori L August 1, 2013 at 9:44 am

Clean eating is so important, its the way our bodies are meant to be treated! Proper nourishment helps you perform and feel at your best which leads to a long and healthy life to live with those that you love!


Susannah August 1, 2013 at 10:09 am

Hi Amie,

Will you provide suggested meals for your August challenge or should we snoop around your website to find them?



Amie August 1, 2013 at 11:20 am

Hi Suannah,
SO great to hear from you!! You can use any recipes from my entire website since they are all Clean! Hope you enjoy them…have a great day and hope to see you soon! oxox


Pavlina August 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

Eating clean?! Yes, it is a complete live change to some of us who accomodated to a western life style with all that fast foods and ease of eating around while not worrying what we REALLY eat. To me eating clean is the way to heal my body from inside out. The way to get back closer to nature as our ancestors were in preparing and eating their food. And even if I may not be perfect in all the steps of doing that now I strongly believe I will get there more I practice eating clean. And I’m positive about having a influence to my entire family with our eating habits. Eating clean – way to spread doing good!


Lori Getter August 1, 2013 at 10:58 am

It will be a challenge….but I know in the long run I need to do this for my body, mind and spirit! I’m even going to try with my doggie! Peace
& love to all! I know we will need to support each other!


Erica August 1, 2013 at 11:16 am

What is clean eating? Clean eating truly helps us realize what we are consuming. Eating ‘real’ & not processed food. I have been a vegetarian for one year & 7 months. I saw my weight decrease then increase in that time frame. I struggled with what to eat as a vegetarian. Then, I went to thinking it was easy because all I had to do is eat heaps of pasta with my veggies. I’m now discovering that all over clean eating is the way to go! It’s the best thing I could do for my overall health. I already started a day early by starting yesterday. Thank you for introducing this challenge!


Elaine Alicia August 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

Excited. I’m in. but its still early for me , in California, haven’t eaten yet. But I eat like this 85% of the time. Should be so easy. Need to loose weight and feel healthy and energic. I go in spurts of not eating good, and boy can you feel it. Its true- you are what you eat. I’m glad for this, now to get my boyfriend to eat better with me, and be supportive and not throw chocolate in my face all the time, it will be great. He has been warned. lol Love all your recipes, even he commented how good the quinoa apple breakfast one looked. So this will get made here this week. I’m glad I found your website and have pushed it along to several of my friends.


KC @ G-Free Foodie August 1, 2013 at 11:31 am

Let’s Do This! The G-Free Foodie crew is on board!


nicole August 1, 2013 at 11:32 am

Clean eating is enjoying fresh food, organic, healthy and full of flavor!


Renee August 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

This steps are so helpful, thank you for putting this information out there for everyone, it is just what we need. We expanded our garden this year so that we can have lots of vegetables and no chemicals so we are on the right track. Passed your website to a lot of my friends who want to eat healthy but just don’t know where to start.


Renee August 1, 2013 at 12:36 pm

This steps are so helpful, thank you for putting this information out there for everyone, it is just what we need. We expanded our garden this year so that we can have lots of vegetables and no chemicals so we are on the right track. Passed your website to a lot of my friends who want to eat healthy but just don’t know where to start.


maryfran | frannycakes August 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Ok, I am in. My new doc thinks I need to eat more veggies and such to support a body that is on a lot of drugs, so, here goes…


julie August 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

what a great challenge, after finding out I had celiacs I just substituted gluten free for gluten foods. I am now realizing that just because its gluten free doesn’t make it good for me! I am now trying to eat healthier and more natural!


Karen D August 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Why clean eating? Very simple to me…garbage in, garbage out. Need to eat healthy to be and to stay healthy.


Toni Hearn August 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I am totally on board. I can’t wait dor the recipes and tips !!! Thank you


Toni Hearn August 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I forgot to add why clean eatting ? Clean eatting helps clean you out, mentally and physically! Clean eatting is so important to staying healthy !!


Donna Lobel August 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm

I have been eating clean for 19 months now . I have never felt better. I also found out I was allergic to eggs, gluten sensitive and dairy ( casein) sensitive.. So for me clean eating has really helped me to loose weight ( without consciously trying) and just feel great. The expression you are what you eat …..so very true!

Aime – what are your thoughts on carrageenan?


Amie August 1, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Thanks Donna; I don’t eat carrageenan but that’s just my personal choice.


Donna Lobel August 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I don’t eat it either but I noticed it is in a lot of foods including Almond Breeze and some Applegate products.


Christie August 1, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Eating Clean:
Foods, closest to their natural state…
Paying close attention to your body’s reaction to them
Combining foods together that digest well together!


Lori Williams August 2, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Clean eating. This is something my whole family needs to be doing. It is something I desire so much for us to be doing. My son has celiac. My husband has diabetes not well controlled. We are all over weight. We struggle daily with eating clean. I know what it is. I have read much about it, and you have been a tremendous help and encouragement. Your recipes always look so delicious, something we thought couldn’t be if you are only eating clean. But you have shown us we are wrong! Your articles have educated us as to how to eat clean, what it looks like to live a life of clean eating, and why its so important. So, we are taking steps to reach our goal of clean eating. And this challenge is a great beginning. Sometimes we may take 2 steps forward and 1 step back, but we will dust ourselves off and keep on moving towards the goal. Clean eating is about eating foods in their natural organic state. This means eating as much raw as we can. It means not eating any processes foods. For our family, it means no gluten to help my son, no sugars to help my husband, and to help us all, eating mostly veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Our family went vegan about 5 years ago for one year. We never felt better! So I know we can do it. Thanks for all your help. One day in the near future I hope I can share a picture and testimony of my family, before and after! Keep up the good work. You are helping to change lives for the better.


Shelley August 5, 2013 at 8:11 am

do you have any concerns about the carrageenan in the non dairy milks? also confused about your view on soy and corn ..


Amie August 5, 2013 at 9:10 am

Thanks Shelley, many people do avoid carrageenan in non-dairy milks because of stomach issues. I avoid it as much as possible.


Juanita Davis-Edwards August 5, 2013 at 8:13 am

For me cleaning eating is not only eating food as close to its natural state as possible but also growing as much of my own food as possible. It means avoiding processed food even if it’s cheaper because cheap food is usually not good food. I’ve embraced clean eating because I want to be healthy.


Jessica August 5, 2013 at 8:20 am

I already eat a fairly clean diet (I have a gluten, yeast and dairy intolerance) but lately I’ve been going to many bbq’s and day trips with girlfriends all over New England and need to get back on track. When I eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, whole grains and no sugar or artificial products I feel SO MUCH BETTER! Alcohol, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and anything else not real really hurts my stomach. My goal was to only eat products that have ingredients that I can pronounce, but this looks like an even better idea and I am going to try this all month too!


Nicole Trevisan August 5, 2013 at 8:23 am

clean eating is so important for energy, longevity, and overall health. it also doesn’t hurt that it’s better for the environment!


carol August 5, 2013 at 8:25 am

I am going to follow your 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge. I already do most of these, but will be more careful with what I am eating.


Lisa P August 5, 2013 at 8:48 am

I have been eating clean for several months, but recently my GERD (acid reflux) has acted up, so I am now trying to eat gluten free to see if it helps. I have been able to get off my PPI medication, so I will try whatever diet changes I can so that I don’t have to go back on them. I have been reading a lot about a strong correlation between gluten and GERD.


Marion T August 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

I have been eating more clean foods every day. I feel so much better, have more energy, have lost a little belly fat, and some people have commented that I look thinner. :) Thanks for all your suggestions and posts. I love reading them.


Jeri August 5, 2013 at 9:36 am

I have chronic migraines, have been gluten free for 3 years and have newly been diagnosed with leaky gut and several other “gut” related issues. So for me, clean eating is now a necessity to healing. I have been a little overwhelmed with the new dietary restrictions as many of the things that are on your “to eat” list, are not on mine for at least the next 3 months. Thank you for your help through this process.


Courtney August 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Clean eating, to me, means eating food in it’s most natural state. It means eating things the way they came from nature, when possible — ie. an apple off a tree versus apple juice.


Christen August 8, 2013 at 8:23 am

I have been eating clean since March this year. Last November I was diagnosed with MS and as a result of a flu bug at Christmas experienced my first flare. In March I was tired of letting this disease control my life and took matters into my own hands. I cut everything processed, dairy, cheese, wheat, yeast, sugar and vinegar out of my diet and the results have been phenominal.I have regained strength and though I am not 100% I have come along way. Finding your website has been truly helpful in my search to continue to inspire myself to continue down this path. Eating clean for me means taking back my life and not letting a disease control me, rather I am controlling the disease through only ingesting foods which are in their natural form and not altered or chemically enhanced. Thank you for sharing your ideas and recipes. Clean eating is going to be a big part of my solution and I hope your website inspires many others to take control of their lives as well!


Marlies August 8, 2013 at 8:25 am

Clean eating is so important to maintain a healthy body for your entire life!! It’s awful how the food people are eating is causing SO many illnesses that newer generations won’t outlive their parents…I think eating only good, real food will help reverse that trend


Marion T August 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

I love eating clean! I had a kale, spinach, banana, ginger, chia, coconut water smoothie this morning, along with a handful of almonds and a few cacao nibs. :) Thank you for your great information!


Cynthia August 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

Clean eating is eating fresh natural foods the way nature intends. Avoiding processed food as much as possible.


Alicia August 12, 2013 at 8:09 am

Clean eating for me is important, even though I have health issues I would eat this way anyways for good health. Your body seems to fuel better on cleaner foods and I have more energy when I eat clean. :)


Merle August 12, 2013 at 8:19 am

Clean eating is imperative because we are giving a certain set of genes that may work for or against us, but with lifestyle (diet and exercise) we can turn all the odds in our favor. Seriously, we are in control of the quality of our lives! I intend on living a long vibrant, life – eating clean, exercising, and nourishing my spirit with family and friends!


Violet August 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I have been and will continue trying to eat clean this month! It certainly does make me feel better not only mentally bu physically also! I love my kale/spinach shakes with almond milk. Its so much easier than I thought it would be and my family was very resistant at first; however, they have now embraced it!

Thanks Aime!


Norita Bridges August 15, 2013 at 8:10 am

I’ve been doing my best to eat clean for about 18months. I will continue because my blood pressure has dropped, and my ‘belly troubles” have subsided but I am still working on my belly fat. ;-)


Kristin Troska August 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

I am eating Clean for August and Beyond! So easy to eat Organic, Clean, Local, Single Ingredient when you shop at the Farmer’s Market, The Coop, and The Fruit Market! Thanks Healthy Apple.


Jennifer Woosley August 19, 2013 at 8:36 am

Good article I was considering a Clean Eating lifestyle. I’m going to print out the do’s and don’ts and try it for a week..see what happens …thanks!


tina page August 19, 2013 at 8:53 am

We eat clean. I grow veg during the summer and then can it so we can eat healthy all year long!


Renee Badall August 19, 2013 at 9:01 am

Clean eating is coming off of treatment for breast cancer – where all types of chemicals are introduced to your body – and re-establishing a new normal through food and fluid intake. Interestingly enough, during chemotherapy my body craved fresh. I made and ate lightly stir fried fresh vegetables and began juicing. I container gardened lettuce, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, zuccini and fresh herbs (for seasoning). Now, I am continuing this healthy eating while learning more (like alkaline, types of oils and avoidances) from your website.


Marion August 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

I have been eating clean for a few months, but have really been following it closely this summer. I have spinach and/or kale every day, along with cucumber, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots – most of these I usually put in a smoothie with a banana. Getting the rest of my family to eat this way does prove challenging, but they usually eat what I prepare. Thanks again for your recipes and great ideas.


tara pittman August 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm

eating from what the land gives us


Julia S. August 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Clean eating means clean living!


julie August 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I think clean eating is important because our bodies weren’t meant to process all the foods we are eating. eating fresh, natural foods is so much better for our bodies to be healthy


Carrie Hughes August 26, 2013 at 8:11 am

I used to think that clean eating was just eating healthy foods and not eating junk food because I was always trying to lose weight. As I got older, I have come to learn that clean eating clean is eating foods that nourish our body and make our body feel good. After finding out I couldn’t eat gluten or dairy any longer, I faced a huge challenge of trying to figure out what to eat. I started eating gluten free foods and realized that they were probably even unhealthier than the foods with gluten. I began on a journey to find out what to eat and found that listening to my body and found that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits made me feel amazing. A built a plan on that and at 51 years old, feel better than I did at 20!


J January 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I have been eating clean for a year . I LOVE It .. My story it’s to long but what can i say is Eating Clean & training mean has changed my Life for the better. I read your info i was smiling because i Do every Step . I read labels compare product . Don’t believe on low fat. Will be full of Sugars . I don’t weight myself any more I do a bit a lot of weights too though i gain little muscles & little abs :) I go by my body fat . From 29 % in a year i’m at 21 %. Well was 19 but over christmas i indulged myself a bit .. I just can tell by my clothes .. It’s just Amazing but you most do exercise in order to achieve 100 % your goals .. Thank you for the info clean eating is not a diet it’s a life style. P.s circuits exercise is the best to burn fat


Amie January 21, 2014 at 8:31 am

Thanks Juliet; so great to hear!


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