What Is Clean Eating?

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What is clean eating?

Would you be surprised to hear that there really aren’t any health goals you can achieve without it?

What Is Clean Eating?

The above statement may seem extreme, but the simple truth is, you just cannot get healthy without eating healthy. You can exercise from the time the rooster crows until the cows come home, but if you make a run through your local drive-through afterward, you just are not going to get anywhere fast.

Food is the big-ticket to good health. If you eat garbage, your body will show it. If you eat whole, healthy, and fresh foods, your body, skin, and soul will glow with health that gives you endless energy.




Chemicals, additives, GMO’s, preservatives, and other not-so-natural fake foods seem to rule the grocery store aisles these days. Many people wish to avoid these types of fake food in the interest of improving their health. They aren’t necessarily looking to lose fat, but rather improve or maintain their overall health by simply avoiding these items. They will usually eat either three meals per day or simply eat as the need arises. (This is more and more how I am eating these days).


(I believe this is the most common/popular method at the moment)

  1. Eat  Lots Of Plants – Eat food that is straight from nature. (Some people say “as close to the way nature made it as possible”. But I think that leaves too much wiggle room – in my humble opinion) Eating mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine are your best option. The idea is to stay away from anything that humans (food corporations) have altered in any way.
  2. Include Meats – Eat meats that are whole and straight from the butcher. Don’t buy pre-packaged meat products because you never know what’s in them. When possible, buy whole meats and grind them yourself. Have you read the ingredients on some packages of ground turkey?! You can also select a few turkey breasts and ask that the butcher grind them for you. Many butchers are more than willing to accommodate.
  3. Enjoy Grains – Stick to whole grains and haven’t been broken down into a “glue-like” substance. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains.(For a list of foods to stock your pantry with, check out this list.)
  4. Read Labels I don’t know how many breads I’ve picked up at the store that say they are whole grain. But when I take a look at the ingredient list, white flour is the second ingredient after whole wheat flour!
  5. Eat Fewer Ingredients. Try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list as a general rule (although there are always exceptions). And be sure you recognize each and every ingredient. If you find a “mystery ingredient” such as “spices”, contact the company! Ask them what they consider to be spices. If it’s anything other than honest-to-goodness herbs and spices, avoid it. And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body (yes, there are exceptions here too).
  6. Eat 5-6 small meals per day. This may seem like a lot at first. But remember, you are eating smaller portions. If you really have a hard time with this, prepare your regular three meals and a snack for the day, and divide lunch and dinner in half. You’ve instantly got 6 small meals!
  7. Healthy Fat – When I first started eating clean, low fat eating was all the rage and some of my earlier recipes reflect that via the use of egg whites and such. However, as time has gone on, I’ve taken a more “whole foods” approach to clean eating. Keep in mind that healthy fats are critical and not something you should minimized down to the lowest common denominator. So your approach to fats will depend on your approach to eating in general. If you are a low fat eater, then stick with things like egg whites and sautΓ©ing food in chicken broth instead of oil. But if you, like me, believe that we need good fats in our diet, then enjoy healthy fats in moderation, including egg yolks and healthy oils such as coconut, olive or grape seed oil..


There is also another method of eating 3 regular meals and squeezing in 1 snack for a total of 4 meals. You eat every four hours instead of every 2-3. This concept is from Jillian Michaels and the theory behind it is that if you eat every 2-3 hours, your insulin stays continuously spiked and you end up with a higher chance of diabetes.

I have no idea if this is actually the case. I’m simply supplying information for you to consider. Do what feels right for you. The Gracious Pantry does not endorse one method over another.


Clean eating may feel a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you have a lot of changes to make. My advice is to take baby steps. Make little changes every day and don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes. We all do. Just realize that it’s what you do the majority of the time that counts.

If you need a little more general information, here are some more ideas to help get you started.

SIDE NOTE: Many folks who are very accustomed to processed foods have a difficult time with the natural flavors of real food. They claim they don’t like vegetables or anything much that is healthy.

If you are one of these people, I’m here to tell you that over time, your taste buds WILL change. If you start eating this way regularly, you’ll see that eventually, the stuff you used to love just doesn’t taste the same any longer. I’ve even found this to be true with organic foods. There are certain foods I ALWAYS buy organic. On occasion, when these foods become available to my dinner plate in a non-organic version, I can definitely taste the difference! It’s amazing how “numb” our taste buds have become to real foods. Give it time. You’ll learn to love your spinach!



Article: Β© Tiffany McCauley of The Gracious Pantry and may not be reproduced without written permission from the author. This INCLUDES copying and pasting this article onto your blog, tumblr account or Facebook page/group. Just don’t do it. You may, however, pin and share the links to this article. Thank you.

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  1. Love your post! I heard a phrase that I like that describes clean eating- “if it comes from a plant eat it, if it was made by plant, don’t”. I’m still a meat eater- so I don’t know how that fits in, but I still like the phrase! πŸ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Shannon – I love it! Very well put!

  2. I like to say that I eat “cleanly” as opposed to clean eating, because I definitely don’t follow the guidelines like you do. I eat LIMITED amounts of refined products. Even if it’s something like sugar, I try to substitute dark brown sugar so that at least there’s some form of nutrient other than pure carbohydrate in the sugar, even though the sugar part is technically refined. I’ll use white flour for texture, but then add in some wheat bran and germ. To me it’s about getting the nutrients from whole foods, even if I’m taking parts of something that was once whole and recombining them in a weird manner. πŸ˜› I love whole grains, so refined products are always just a supplement. But other than that I pretty much stick to the guidelines, especially concerning fake foods. I think that eating something refined is a lot better than eating something fake, especially when it’s not a lot to begin with.

    And totally agree with you about the meat. Nasty stuff is added to it sometimes. :S And ever since watching Food Inc, I’ll now only eat meat that I know was raised well and fed a proper diet, which usually means only eating meat I get at Whole Foods haha.

    “Numb” taste buds are a big problem. I used to HATE whole wheat and thought it tasted awful, but now white bread tastes strange! But I knew when I started eating healthier that I’d get used to it. If more people knew that it doesn’t taste bad forever, I think more people wouldn’t be so pessimistic about changing their eating habits. I didn’t think it was possible to prefer spinach over Oreos even knowing that I’d get over the “bad” taste of healthy food, but I do. πŸ˜›

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mo – I did see the movie Food Inc. I’ve never looked at meat the same way since. I really wish more people would watch that documentary. It’s so important!

      Good for you for applying “the rules” to your life. That’s what it’s all about. Making the best choices you can and applying them to your life so that they become true changes, not just a fad diet.

  3. In regards to getting used to unprocessed foods… I definitely agree that it can be a challenge at first. I remember when I started tackling my weight loss it was hard to get used to fruits, veggies, and especially whole grains. I won’t lie… it took me years to start liking “nature” foods over the processed stuff. But you know what? Looking back on things I wouldn’t have it any other way! Now whenever I have even a morsel of processed food I can’t bring myself to continue eating it because it tastes bad to me! So anyone who is at this phase in their healthy lifestyle: just know that you’ll love all the good stuff in due time!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Well said, Alexis!! Thank you!

  4. Tami Grandi says:

    I found this post very interesting as I am researching this idea of clean eating. My issue is that about a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with a kidney disorder which means I can’t have A LOT of veggies such as spinach, green beans and carrots (which I can have in moderation). I can’t have cocoa or even whole wheat. So do you have any suggestions in how to reconcile my dietary restrictions with clean eating?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:


      My best suggestion would be to see a nutritionist. They can help you design a healthy and clean eating plan.

      That said, there are TONS of substitutions for the foods you mentioned above. Instead of looking at the list of things you cannot have, take a pad of paper with you to the store, go to the produce section, and make a list of all the things you CAN have. That way, you won’t feel so restricted and you have a list to fall back on when things get sticky.

      There are lots of different grains out there to try. Again, I don’t know which ones you can’t have, but people with gluten allergies do this all the time. There is oat, corn, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and so many others out there. You just have to really do some exploring to see what’s available to you in your area.

      I’m not sure if I’ve been much help.
      Good luck!

  5. Mo – I did see the movie Food Inc. I’ve never looked at meat the same way since. I really wish more people would watch that documentary. It’s so important!

    Good for you for applying “the rules” to your life. That’s what it’s all about. Making the best choices you can and applying them to your life so that they become true changes, not just a fad diet.

  6. Lindsey@FreshAirFreshFood says:

    I am so glad you actually define what clean eating is! Very well put!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lindsey – Thanks! Glad you found the info useful!

  7. What I’ve found to help out is to plan ahead, cook certain things like your legumes in batches enough to get you through a couple of days. That way when meal time comes, you can focus on your fresh veggies and protein, then all you have to do is re-heat the legumes and you have a complete meal. If things are made easy, they are more likely to acheive the results.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Corey – Yes! Planning ahead is vital to success!

  8. Ashley V. says:

    I was just searching the internet for Clean Eating Recipes/Communities/Resources and came across your site…IN LOVE! I am SO HAPPY to have found your site. Congrats on your weight-loss and clean eating success. I look forward to reading much, much more from you.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ashley – Welcome!! I’m so happy to have you as a reader! If you want a great clean eating community, I have a very active and supportive Facebook community. Hope to see you there as well!

  9. I totally agree with your notion of Clean Eating. Every one needs to figure out for their unique body eating the mix of foods that would keep their body balanced. Bottom line clean eating means promoting health & preventing sickness. Be Well, Rakesh

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Rakesh – Exactly! Every person is unique. One rule will not apply to all. You have to find what works for you!

  10. This is so neat! I love it. I was actually just curious as to what Clean Eating is so I did an internet search and your blog popped up. This is very helpful! Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Shelley – Fantastic! I’m so happy you found it helpful!

  11. Ellie Gatto says:

    Eating clean rocks

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ellie – Yes it does!

  12. Ellie Gatto says:

    thanks gracious pantry. I know huh.Clean eating does a lot of good things. Eat healthy like my teacher says.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ellie – That, or feel miserable and spend a lifetime wondering why. πŸ˜‰

  13. I’m new to your site… but I have some questions.. no where in the explanation does it mention limiting fat.. yet I’ve read elsewhere on your site that eggs have too much fat… I’m curious… and a bit confused.. is the fatty part an add on to eating clean? do you know the science behind not including the whole egg?? Thanks and I’m enjoying your site.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Annie – The body does need a certain amount of fat. Healthy fat. So it’s important to include moderate amounts of healthy fats such as olive, peanut or safflower oil in your diet.

      There is a lot of controversy surrounding eggs and the cholesterol they contain. Some research now indicates that perhaps, the cholesterol in eggs has no effect on the cholesterol in our bodies.

      I enjoy whole eggs almost daily, but it’s a personal choice and one you should discuss with a dietitian.

      Keep in mind that if you eat meat, you are also getting cholesterol from that. All animal products contain some amount of cholesterol. Even lean or low fat versions. To avoid this completely, you would have to become vegetarian or even vegan.

      It’s vital to look at your overall food for the day and be sure it’s balanced. That’s why I love prepping my food the night before. I can lay it all out on the counter in front of me, and make adjustments based on the foods I have. Whole eggs are very nutritious, and unless you have some sort of allergy, I see no reason to cut them out completely. Again, it’s just a question of balance.

      Hope that helps.

    2. Fat is not the enemy. Your body needs fats.
      In the ’70s a bad report came out saying that eating fat made us fat. We stopped eating fat and as a nation we got fatter.
      We’re still living by that bad report. Seriously – it has been proven wrong over and over again – but it was shoved down our throats so much that it’s considered fact to this day.
      Our bodies need fat. Period.
      What you don’t want to eat is trans fat.
      Sugar is your enemy. Stop eating refined sugar. Anything that isn’t naturally a part of the food, like fruit, is bad for you. The same is true with fat. If it’s added after the fact, or it’s created during processing, like trans-fat: then it’s bad for you.
      Sugar is turned into fat, Sugar spikes insulin, etc.
      Fat does not do that.
      And I know – you can’t make a claim like that without backing it up, so here you go:
      and another source: http://greatist.com/health/saturated-fat-healthy
      One last one: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/438600/Eating-fat-is-good-for-you-Doctors-change-their-minds-after-40-years

      1. The Gracious Pantry says:

        Joe – I agree completely and have edited my reply to Annie. I have also added a blurb about fats in my article above. My approach to fat has changed over the years, thankfully. Thanks for reminding me I needed to update this post!!

  14. Hi Tiffany. Thanks for such a great description of what “clean” eating is. I’m sure I’ve read/heard it before, but to read your words of “Would you be surprised to hear that there really aren’t any fitness goals you can achieve without it?” just smacked me upside the head (in a good way). The addition of seeing your My Fitness Pal status showing you’ve lost since adopting this method of eating is great inspiration. I need to lose around 40 lbs to help mitigate the effects of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and think this may be the ticket. I’ve subscribed to your blog and can’t wait to see the great things you post. Oh, and my favorite room in the house is the kitchen as well πŸ™‚


    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Barbie – Thank you! I’m so happy you found it useful! It’s wonderful to have you as a subscriber as well! PCOS is not an easy thing to deal with. Good for you for doing the right thing for your body. Clean eating is the only way to go in my humble opinion!

  15. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Love this post on clean eating! The whole idea goes well with my kind of food and cooking. I prefer wholegrain over refined and use minimal oil and sugar in all my meals. Would be great to learn many more of healthy living and eating tips here, Tiffany. Thanks for such a wonderful site and healthy recipes.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Sanjeeta – I’m glad you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

  16. Sounds neat, but coming from a scientific perspective…
    “And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.”

    I think this is a misconception that is based on our fear of “chemicals” and a lack of understanding about science.
    What about Cholecalciferol, L-ascorbic acid, and Tocopherol?
    Also, taste buds do not “change”, although they do die as we age. Your preferences may change, but your taste receptors will not.

    1. Anonymous says:

      None – Regardless of the science behind it, whether it’s preference or taste buds, something definitely changes. The stuff I used to love I can’t get far enough away from now because all I taste are the added chemicals.

      The vitamins you mentioned above are simply scientific names. While I understand your point here, it’s vital to remember that processed foods are often fortified with this stuff simply because they are so incredibly nutrient deficient that there is no other way they could possibly qualify as having any nutrients at all without the addition of these vitamins. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to get my nutrients from foods that contain them naturally. Not processed garbage has to have added vitamins just to please the FDA, which is a whole other topic of conversation.

  17. Liztucker172 says:

    Great post and great site!!!! Thankyou for the wonderful recipes….Im no newbie to eating clean ihave been douing it for years with the occasional “stray”, what amazes me is how after a week of a “vacation from eating clean” is how awful i feel, if thats not proof then i dont know what is. I am so passionate about proper nutrition, i truly feel that our government has the general public SO MISINFORMED that it is sickening, It gives me hope for us as a country to find sites like this one, that more and more people are opening up their eyes to what is really going on!!!! WE NEED TO CHANGE, not only for us but for our children and generations to come!!!! Anyways enough of my rant πŸ™‚ GREAT INSPIRING SITE! Thanks so much!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Liz – Thank you! I have to agree. Nutrition has beens o swept under the rug it’s sickening. It’s what keeps us healthy or makes us sick. And yet, big corporations have out heads spinning with nonsense. Change is definitely needed. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Jennifer Shakeel says:

    Thank you so much for the information here. I avoid processed foods and drinks… I don’t have much of an appetite so that first method is what I seem to practice, but I would like to try the second method. Again, thank you πŸ™‚

    1. Anonymous says:

      Jennifer – I’m happy you found it helpful!

  19. Anonymous says:

    MissBeckley – It’s so easy for our relationships with food to become dysfunctional this day and age. In fact, a dysfunctional relationship with food is now considered the norm and people who try to eat healthy are often ridiculed or made to feel uncomfortable for making better choices. It’s hard to know where we all went so wrong. But I do believe that people are slowly coming around and realizing how important our food supplies are. I just hope we don’t realize it too late!

    Good for you for taking charge! It’s such an important thing to do for yourself because if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much. Definitely a cause worth fighting for. Keep up the great work!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Mos – Good for you!!! Clean eating is a fabulous way to get and stay healthy!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Terralight – Welcome! That’s wonderful! Congrats on turning things around. I’m still mid-turn in some aspects, but it’s a daily process. You’ll get there!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Angie – How scary! I wish you all the best.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Crystalle – You’ll do great! Just do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes. Changing your lifestyle is a big deal. Use the mistakes as stepping stones to better knowledge. You’ll get there.

  24. graciouspantry says:

    Rica – Thank you, and you’re welcome! Haha!

  25. graciouspantry says:

    Snowpea – Most definitely.

  26. graciouspantry says:

    Famlyluv – There are ways to enjoy southern food in a healthy manner. Just start cooking more healthy meals and see if he notices. I’ve found that men usually complain the most when you present them with a plate of “diet” food. But if you don’t give it that label, they usually don’t care. Food is food in many respects. But if you really need some southern recipes, send some my way and I’ll see if I can come up with something for you.

  27. graciouspantry says:

    Casi – I couldn’t agree more!

  28. I’m new to clean eating and am currently having a turkey burger for lunch. I bought the pre-made turkey burger patties and looked at the ingredients and was pretty sure it just said ground turkey. What else could possibly be in them?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      C Noun – Usually, dextrose and “natural flavors”. But if all it says is turkey, then they are clean.

  29. Nhealyhoyt says:

    What exactly defines clean eating, relative to other diets or approaches to food?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Nhealyhoyt – Small frequent meals and avoiding anything processed.

  30. graciouspantry says:

    Kelly – Clean eating is a great way to eat. Your best bet is to hide veggies in the foods you make. Grate veggies into sauces, or even puree them into smoothies when your child isn’t looking. That’s the only thing I can think of. Veggies are a very necessary part of any persons diet. Your child is old enough to have these conversations now. Keep the discussion open without hounding or nagging.

    1. I’d try farmer’s markets since fresh tastes best. Also, you could pick your own berries, apples, etc. with your child. Make smoothies like just blueberries or strawberries (fresh or frozen) and bananas. You could sneak in some baby spinach or local greens in the smoothie. Congrats on choosing healthier options. (Thanks to the author of this page. That’s great!) I find the more my kids get outdoor exercise, sun, family walks, etc, the more they are in the mood for fresh fruit, etc.

  31. graciouspantry says:

    Onajourney – There are a few different approaches to clean eating and they all have their own “science” to back them up. I only list some of the options here. That quote came directly from Jillian Michaels. I have no medical studies to prove this one way or the other. It all comes down to what feels right to you. Talk to a registered dietitian if you want some science. I’m sorry, I just don’t know enough about that to advise you one way or the other.

  32. graciouspantry says:

    Judy – Haha!! My pleasure!

  33. I was looking on the clean eating magazine meal plans and they are so high in fat! About 59 grams per day! How can this be healthy and help you lose weight?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Chatc – Because healthy fats function very differently from unhealthy fats. We do actually NEED healthy fat in our diet for brain function and other body functions. You certainly can eat clean eating less fat, but many clean eaters do not even count calories or grams of fat to begin with.

  34. Reddleman says:

    With respect sugar isnt sugar. Their are particularly damaging sugars. For example lactose is not something anyone over 3-4 years old wants to consume. We wean for a reason. Our bodies physically change. If your point is that all sugars can be consumed excessively I agree.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Reddleman – I know a lot of people who would agree with you. But yes, that was my point.

  35. graciouspantry says:

    Ashley – Depends on the dairy, but most are consumed low fat (not non-fat). This is the way I do it:

    Milk: 1%
    Cottage cheese: low fat
    Greek yogurt: non-fat
    Regular plain yogurt: non-fat
    Butter: organic and in moderation
    Hard cheese: In strict moderation, usually shredded and only to add a small amount of flavor
    Soft cheese: I avoid because they are a weakness.

  36. graciouspantry says:

    Bakda – If those are your two choices, it’s better to eat it in moderation and have the fat than to eat the sugar added variety.

  37. graciouspantry says:

    You can do it! Just take baby steps. You don’t have to do it 100% overnight.

  38. graciouspantry says:

    My pleasure! It really isn’t that hard. You’ll get the hang of it!

  39. graciouspantry says:

    True, but there is some evidence that the amount of food we eat affects insulin as well. You can overdo anything, even protein.

    1. Artful Knitter says:

      I think I can answer this one: when I was pregnant I had gestational diabetes and the solution was to eat frequently but with low carb content each time. The idea was to avoid a big sugar ‘spike’ after eating too many carbs. So each mini-meal was balanced by including protein (which doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels.) BUT some foods ‘play around’ with insulin levels, such as too much fat in food. This can make you feel sluggish (think of how you feel after a big Thanksgiving turkey dinner) so that even though you didn’t load up on carbs, your body isn’t feeling energetic and stable after eating, and you end up tired/sedentary and with possibly indigestion as well. So the idea is balance, and to eat ‘low g. i.’ foods in small amounts, timed throughout the day so that your energy levels remain constant and you feel perky. Your own body will ‘tell’ you whether you have found the right diet or not, after a short adjustment period, of course. Also, I found the easiest thing was to cut meals in half, eating the two parts about 2-3 hours apart, and also I always took something ‘acceptable’ with me in the car or when out – it’s so easy to ‘grab’ what you see and it’s not always healthy. I literally was never hungry and my love of sugar quickly went away, since my body became used to not having it in large amounts, ever. I actually sometimes felt overwhelmed at how much (healthy) food I had to eat, which is the opposite of how most people feel when encountering a new eating plan, they worry that they will be hungry.

  40. Hempelstudios says:

    I have a bunch of food allergies and basically can’t eat any grains. I find that excluding grains means that I just don’t need to eat as much. I can eat 2-3 meals a day and feel great. I think it’s a good idea to give the digestive system a break during the day.

  41. Krystal Rauschhuber says:

    Haeley – You make a good point, however I think the main point here is not to eat foods that needs preservatives – even natural ones like l-absorbic acid.

  42. graciouspantry says:

    My pleasure! Welcome!

  43. marathon runner says:

    Thanks for this info on your site. Through clean eating and exercise I have been able to better my race pb’s every year for the past 4 years. Its absolutely so true the benfits of clean eating but we never seem to hear much about it.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      So true. The body is 100% natural. It will only function at it’s best with 100% natural fuel!

  44. Naomi Most says:

    Yeah that particular rule doesn’t work so well for people who’ve taken courses in organic chemistry. πŸ™‚

    1. graciouspantry says:

      True, but I think you get the basic meaning.

    2. Heh heh! My chemical engineer husband would agree. πŸ™‚ I tried to tell him that “rule” for clean eating and his reply was that he can prounounce A LOT of chemical names. πŸ™‚

  45. Awesome page, great info, thanks so much! Have shared this with quite a few of my friends. It’s mainly alot of common sense tho really. Fresh fruit n vege, red meat etc, always the way to go. Everything in moderation too!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Exactly! There’s really nothing here that’s new. It’s just that most people have gotten so far away from it!

  46. graciouspantry says:

    You are absolutely right. And unfortunately, with so many fake foods on the market, the only way to do it is to give it a name. But I’m in total agreement with you.

  47. graciouspantry says:

    I’m happy you’re enjoying them! πŸ™‚

  48. If you just eat clean without doing any intense workout routines will I lose weight?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Every person is different, but I sure did. Especially in the beginning. The trick is to get your portions right.

  49. graciouspantry says:

    Awesome! πŸ™‚

  50. graciouspantry says:

    That’s awesome! Congrats!

  51. Jessica Rega says:

    I love your site and have been following you for a while on Pinterest. I haven’t started clean eating yet, and I’m sure you’ve heard the laundry list of excuses, but I think I’m ready. So you’ll probably be hearing from me a lot, cause I have lots of questions. One that is sticking out in my mind right now is, my husband and I (we have 2 children) like to go out on a date night at least once a month. How can I live completely in a clean eating lifestyle but still enjoy a dinner out with my husband, without being one of those super obnoxious “picky eater” people?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Here’s the thing. If you don’t make allowances for special occasions in your eating plan, you will be very miserable. Nobody can be 100% perfect all the time. I’ve been doing this for over 3 years, and I eat clean about 85-95% of the time. If you are only doing it once per month, please just enjoy a good meal! You can try to order the healthiest thing you can find on the menu, but just enjoy the meal. Really. You’ll give up quickly if you are too rigid. Just be sure you eat clean the rest of the day, and the day after as well.

      There are ways to eat relatively clean in restaurants, depending on what type of restaurant you are in. But unless you are in an independently owned restaurant where the owner or chef focus on only the more natural ingredients, it’s unlikely you will be able to eat 100% clean anyway unless you order a flavorless, plain chicken breast and steamed veggies and eat your salad with balsamic vinegar only. While I’ve done that on occasion, trust me, it’s not a great meal to enjoy a night out with. A far better suggestion is to just allow that one night per month to be your treat meal. Hope that helps.

  52. Lori Poole says:

    i have been curious as to whether ‘clean’ foods would need to be organic, non-gmo, and with meats containing no antibiotics and if the animals would need grass feed and organic feed as well? Β 

    1. graciouspantry says:

      It’s not required, but it’s certainly the healthier choice.

  53. Gina Gregoire Helton says:

    Thanks for this information! I was just asked what “clean eating” is. Sometimes it is hard to explain, but I found your post here very helpful and shared it with the person that asked me about what “clean eating” is. It breaks it down into simple terms that are easy to understand.Thanks again!Β 

  54. Thank you for clearing that up and THANK YOU for your site! I’m definitely trying to incorporate a clean-eating lifestyle.

  55. Swentworth1206 says:

    I’m new to your blog and like what I’ve seen so far! Β I have some health issues, including diabetes, and have read several articles about the benefits of clean eating and want to begin converting my pantry. Β I love all the helpful guidance on your site – it makes it seem less daunting!! Β I was wondering if you have any advice for breaking a severe caffeine addiction. Β I think this will be a major ordeal for me!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Caffeine is right up there with sugar and crack. All three addictions feel impossible to break. With sugar, you absolutely MUST go cold turkey to avoid really bad cravings. But with caffeine, it’s different You can taper off a little at a time to avoid headaches and withdrawals. I highly recommend starting with making your own coffee every day. Dont’ buy at coffee houses. The, slowly start mixing in more and more decaf over a period of a month or two. You be the judge here, you know what will work for you. Once you are down to 100% decaf, switch to a decaf tea like decaf green tea. Same bitterness, but much healthier for you if you want to give up coffee completely.

      If the addiction comes from soda, you are fighting a duel battle, because it’s not just the caffeine addiction you are fighting. It’s the sugar too. I’m afraid the only way to do that is to go cold turkey simply because tapering off of sugar makes your cravings go crazy. Hope that helps.

      1. graciouspantry says:

        By the way, this is simply what I have found works best for me and for many other people. There is no science behind this and no medical expertise. Just my personal experience.

      2. Swentworth1206 says:

        It is coffee and diet soda πŸ™ Β This sounds like a reasonable plan. Β Just thinking about quitting cold turkey was making me a bit nauseous!!

  56. graciouspantry says:

    Actually, I beg to differ. There is TONS of scientific evidence to the contrary, and my body definitely knows the difference. MSG is definitely worth avoiding.

  57. Middlegoose were you aware that to fatten mice in lab tests scientists use MSG? Fat mice don’t really exist in nature, but they do in a lab with lots of yummy msg. Not surprisingly research has overwhelmingly shown that people who consume more msg tend to be more overweight or obese than those who avoid it.

  58. graciouspantry says:

    I strongly recommend this book: http://www.doitdelicious.com/cookbooks/deceptively_delicious/ It has a lot of great ideas for getting veggies into your kids without them realizing it. Not all the recipes are clean, but the ideas are solid.

    Lead by example, cook veggies in chicken broth for extra flavor, make them constantly available.

    With Mini Chef, I have a “Thank you bite” rule. He has to take one bite of anything I make. Then if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to eat it. But it opens his palate up to new flavors and textures.

    Not sure if that helps you, but don’t give up!

  59. THANKYOU for this easy to read website! I have been going bonkers seeing people’s posts on social media sites of the food they eat and all the different Crazy ingredients they eat to be more clean. After reading ‘method 2’, I am right on track. I had to swap to this diet due to medical conditions. It took about a month of sadly ordering plain salad and reluctantly cooking with just the basic, non dairy/ gluten, unprocessed food, but, I now enjoy food so much more than ever and it was like my taste buds changed! It sucks at first, but I couldn’t go back to how I ate before even if I was allowed. (Thanks for the tip on Turkey mince too.)

  60. I have a rule. If there is a commercial for it is most likely not good for you. The worst thing I have eaten lately is bacon. It’s my vice.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Haha! You’re not alone there Jennifer. But if it’s organic, pastured bacon, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it on occasion without guilt. πŸ™‚

  61. THANK YOU! For this awesome site, and this list (which is much easier for me to understand!). I do have a question though…my mother and I are both trying to eat clean and a question came up…what about whole wheat bread? I have Tosca Reno’s book (well, one of them!), and she recommends Ezekiel, which I use, but my family and my mom aren’t crazy about it. Is it ok in a clean diet? Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ezekiel is fine. Most of their breads are clean (I could be wrong but I think one or two of their breads are not. You have to read the ingredient list). See if you can find Alvarado Street Bakery breads. Your mom might like those better.

  62. Lol, I just reread my question; I meant to say is whole wheat bread ok in a clean diet? I will check out your suggestion though!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Yes, it is. As long as it’s 100% whole wheat with no sugar or other “unclean” ingredients added.

  63. No cereal grains for me. No rice,no potatoes, no starchy tubers. No vegetable oils except olive and coconut.

  64. Kylie1403 says:

    I am totally inspired. I have been slowly changing my ways, getting cleaner and cleaner, butting out over processed foods. I cant eat fast food nay more as I find it makes me want to vomit, literally. I loved the line “And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.” This will HAVE to be my new motto I think πŸ˜€

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      I’m so glad you found it useful! πŸ˜€

  65. I’m trying to eat clean but boy it is difficult.. I am a freshman at college so all I have available is the cafeteria and my microwave ahah. I’m good at keeping my meals all clean for breakfast and lunch, but when it gets to dinner time, some days those grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas sure are calling my name!

    I’ve been doing this for maybe 3 weeks, and I was doing great till this weekend. That’s when I gave in just a little, and then with the help of some liquid substances, the rest of my resolve went flying out the window. Big time.

    But now I’m trying to get back on track. I already noticed a difference in how I felt when I was eating clean, versus this weekend when I binged on the food I had cut out. I literally felt like I had a food hangover! I felt sluggish, greasy and overall bloated after eating all that junk. This really showed me that I WANT to eat clean, and feel good.

    Keep me in your thoughts in my battle against alcohol induced binging and the ever tempting greasiness that is the college cafeteria!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Oh dear. That does sound like a challenge! Have you considered a small-ish slow cooker? Dinner can cook while you’re in class and be ready for you when you get back! πŸ™‚

  66. I’m so excited to have stumbled upon your site (thank you Pinterest). We have made the decision to eat clean and I was having a hard time finding snacks for my boys to eat! They love most fruit but it just wasn’t satisfying their hunger. You have some of the best recipes that I’ve seen yet! You also have answered some questions for me regarding what’s clean and what’s not! Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      My pleasure! Welcome! πŸ™‚

  67. The only disagreement I have with this method is I would not include ANY wheat of any kind. Wheat has been chemically altered in the 1970’s which has led partly to the obesity and type II diabetes epidemic. I would also be careful of some root vegetables too.
    There is an old French saying “to fatten the pigs feed them potatoes to fatten beef feed them corn” It may give you an idea of what they do to us.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      We all do what is right for our own bodies. πŸ™‚

  68. I recently stumbled upon your site and have already started to make changes. Thank you for the recipes and helful tips. Your site is such a great resource!

  69. This is WONDERFUL!!! thank you so much for this information! I want to eat better and learn to cook better for my husband, and one day our children. So I’m ready to take a baby step! πŸ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Awesome! πŸ˜€

  70. Sarah Johnston says:

    Hello, i found your site from searching on Pinterest i have heard of clean eating tons before but never really knew what it was until now, I don’t want to be exposed to Chemicals anymore i want to eat organic and healthy as possible but not really sure how i am able to do this, I am No where near a Organic store and not sure if regular stores carry any Chemical, Non GMo Foods. what are some brands that are chemical free/ Non Gmo!? that i can find in almost every store such as walmart etc.?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      I have a shopping list for walmart here on my site. But I do not recall seeing anything organic when I was there. This could change from store to store though. Keep in mind that organic does not automatically equal clean.

  71. Great article, just what I was looking for to share with my readers. I know this is from 2010 but the lesson is valuable and worth giving a read again and again. Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      My pleasure!

  72. Jennifer Dery says:

    Fabulous article. Such a simple, concise way of explaining clean eating. I will be sharing with my readers!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  73. SkinnySailor says:

    Hi! I’m in the military, which makes clean eating especially difficult, but I’m doing quite well with it, and whenever anybody asks me about it, I always point them in the direction of your blog. Thanks for all the great tips and info! =)

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      SkinnySailor – Thanks so much!

  74. Love your site…and it’s true when you explain that at first you might complain that clean foods don’t taste good, but your body adjusts and other foods soon won’t taste good. We try to eat clean, but have strayed a bit lately, so I’m here to get back on track. When we eat something that is NOT clean, we pay for eat. After being clean, my body is not happy with me if I eat something processed or full of chemicals. I feel sick and lethargic. Clean eating makes you feel healthy, energized, and I sleep better!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tara – Yes! It’s amazing how well our bodies function when we give them the fuel they need!

  75. I have never been a healthy eater, here and there I will try it. I have just started to really take it seriously but my allergy to fruits and vegetables is making it really hard. It’s not fun having itchy, swollen and rashes lips, throat and ears when I eat most veggies and fruits. I’ve read where it’s a pollen allergy but how can I avoid this while eating healthy! πŸ™

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Cortney – Are you sure it’s the actual fruits and veggies? Perhaps it’s a chemical or pesticide you are allergic to? You might want to consider an elimination diet. You sould talk to your doctor and have a few tests done.

  76. “you just cannot get healthy without eating healthy” That really woke me and another version for me would be ” you just cannot be healty without eating healthy” I’ve drifted along thinking that if I’m not “sick” or overweight I can get away with eating any way I want. This month I found that I have diabetes! I’m thankful for finding your website so I will have help and support. I’d forgotten about eating more small meals, you reminded me, thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Barbur – My pleasure!

  77. Christy Hopkins says:

    Thank you for all of your hard work! This blog is amazing! I have just committed to changing my home to clean eating. . .I am so excited to rid my cupboards of junk that is making us sick! After reviewing your information, recipes and shopping lists, I just made my first trip to Sprouts (in a blizzard, no less). Tonight will be the Broccoli Lasagna. . .

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Christy – Fantastic! I hope you enjoy it. πŸ™‚

  78. I’ve read that rice and products made with rice may contain trace amounts of arsenic. If that’s true, maybe it also should be considered “unclean”. πŸ˜‰

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mary – Perhaps.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Shyam – Thanks.

  79. Guillermina says:

    Hi! Thank you for all the work you’ve done and for posting and sharing these wonderful recipes.
    I just wanted to let you know that your Method 3 is actually correct. I have Insuline Resistance and I am suppossed to eat many times a day with no more than 4 hours in between meals, it does keep your insuline levels steady as Jillian Michaels says. So it is true.
    I will try and adapt your recipes, in Mexico it is hard to sometimes find some of the ingredients you use in the US. Thank you again!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Guillermina – If you have a hard time with the ingredients, just post a comment and I can try to help you find a substitute. I can’t promise I’ll know of one every time, but I’ll certainly try. I’m leaning more towards method #3 myself these days!

  80. I am on a Raw Eating Plan.
    People crack up when I tell them I make Raw Smoothies, and add clean raw oatmeal. I try to explain you don’t have to cook stuff till it is dead. πŸ™‚
    I was raised on a Dairy Farm. We grew all our own food. Had our meat butchered for us. Veggie’s were like candy to us. That is all we really knew. Everything was organic than.
    I still managed to get sick……I have MS & Fibromyalgia.
    I continue to eat a Raw Plan. It works great for me. I drink water or Organic Green naturally Decaf Tea. (Whole Food Market) That is it.
    I do however fine your site interesting. I believe I found it on Pinterest. I haven’t read as much as I would like to yet.
    So, what is your take on Organic Sugar Free Almond Milk?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Diana – The almond milk you buy in the stores (at least the ones I’ve seen) are not clean. If you want truly clean almond milk, you’d have to make it yourself. That said, many clean eaters who can’t have dairy and don’t have the capacity to make their own almond milk, make an exception here. Really, if buying unsweetened almond milk is the worst thing you are doing in your eating plan, you’re doing pretty good. You have to be realistic about this stuff. πŸ˜‰

  81. Hi! Love seeing people excited about clean eating! I just wanted to comment on the piece about eating 2-3 hours raising the risk of diabetes – this is completely not true. I have a masters degree in nutrition and always advise patients with diabetes to eat every 2-3 hours to maintain stable blood sugar levels. This isn’t creating a constant spike, simply stability. The worry would come in if patients (both with or without diabetes) were eating this often and eating highly processed foods and/or those with a high glycemic load – meaning foods that cause drastic spikes in blood sugar levels. I couldn’t find where Jillian M. may have said that about diabetes, but you may want to re-read the source. Just trying to help out, happy blogging!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sara – It was in one of her books. I’ll have to go check to see which one, but she definitely said that. I was also told to eat every 2-3 hours when I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I think, aside from the processed food issue, quantity is also an issue when eating that often. You can’t have a huge meal every 2-3 hours. Clean and small meals. That’s the way to go!!

  82. Your blog is very interesting to me. I have been eating clean for years. I did hear something that concerned me about decaf coffee and I heard you mention switching from regular to decaf coffee.

    I work in a coffee shop and was told that in order to make decaf coffee, chemicals are added to the coffee…

    Have you heard about this? I don’t drink decaf anymore…

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tanya B – All coffee has some amount of chemicals and processing. But you’d be hard pressed to get most clean eaters to give up their morning cup of joe. I switched to decaf simply because the caffeine was too hard on my blood sugar. So it’s all a personal choice.

  83. Hello! I was wondering if I could have permission to use some pictures and maybe a quote or two from your website? I need it for a presentation about clean eating. Thanks so much!

  84. Easiest way to get your greens? I really cant scarf down a salad, and when I do, it is smothered in cheese and bacon and salad dressing. Which is why salad is not healthy for me! Easier way- Green smoothies πŸ™‚ Easy to just drink your 5 servings all a once. And it tastes delicious. Start out with spinach smoothies (you cant taste it) and add other greens in as you start to feel adventurous. Just a hint- carrots are always a good add in, even for beginners! Made it ‘too green’ for your taste? Add berries! They mask the flavor. ON rare ocasions I have made smoothies that just werent delicious. Usually this was due to unripened mango, which is why I buy frozen now. However, blueberries in particular can save any smoothie from the sink drain. For creamy texture, use bananas, or frozen mango. Yogurt is a lovely addition, but recently I realized I am dairy intolerant, so I skip it. Drinking a green smoothie or two a day for a few weeks can cure you of your sweets addiction…It did for me! And I didnt even realize it until I had a piece of cake in front of me, and didnt want to eat it! Wooot! Google ‘green smoothie’ and you will find a plethora of recipes and information. Good luck

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Laura – Yes, green smoothies are great for getting your greens! I make one for Mini Chef almost every morning. Can we say “quick and easy breakfast”???!!!

  85. I have a question about a clean eating diet and canned goods. Are there any relatively clean canned goods? For items like stewed tomatoes, canned beans, etc. canned goods can save a lot of time in cooking. I don’t think I’m up to giving up my tomato sauce! It’s also the only way to include vegetables in food storage for hard times, which is a more difficult hurdle to overcome. Any suggestions?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Victoria – Yes, there are clean, canned foods. But you have to hunt for them. A big issue with canned goods is the BPA. I try to buy in glass jars whenever possible.

  86. Soooo glad I stumbled upon your site! I have been trying to start eating clean and you just gave me a boost! Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alesha – My pleasure! Happy to help. πŸ™‚

  87. Denise Passero says:

    I think the thing about the blood sugar depends on what you are eating all day, don’t you? For instance, I have also read that you should include a small amount of protein with each meal or snack. That tends to stabilize blood sugar. In addition, I think listening to your body is important. If you are crashing in the afternoon, that is telling you something. I used to crash but since I have eliminated refined sugars, I don’t any more. I use natural sweeteners but not nearly as much. I do about a tablespoon a day of pure maple syrup. I also watch the carbs and the kinds of carbs I eat. I learned that starchy carbs are not necessarily my friends — especially late in the day. Just a thought anyway.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Denise – Absolutely!! I agree completely.

  88. Denise Passero says:

    PS — I read what you said about the almond milk. Won’t be buying that anymore. What are your thoughts about quinoa milk? Just bought some. It is supposed to help with migraines. I use it in smoothies.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Denise – I’ve never seen quinoa milk. What’s in it? I have a recipe for clean almond milk. It’s pretty simple and crazy good.

  89. For real? ??? THIS!!!! is the definition of clean eating??? I thought it was something else … but … definitely i was very much wrong, and i’m so glad that i was wrong πŸ˜€ :)) because i “clean eating” since 5 years for now, exception from time to time when i eat REAL “natural” GARBAGE food, like chips and all that, but no more then one bag from time to time, and when i say “time to time” i say VERY LONG TIME :))

    Oh! and by the way! I heard that cabbage and especially pickled cabbage work magic on human body πŸ˜‰ Like …. is not that hard to go buy some raw cabbage, cut it down, or NOT, put it in a real big jar pour some water and sprinkle some water. This process can be done on multiple vegetables or fruits, like melons, or, like i heard recently, even with meat.

    OH!!! and another tip … never ever EVER buy grind meat and don’t EVEN request to be grinded in butchery, instead, make yourself a favor and buy a grinder, especially if you have cats. You, (whoever read this) and your cats will thank yourself for such wise and inspiration decision πŸ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Leo – Yup! That’s the definition of clean eating. Not as complicated as people think. But I’m curious, why do you say people shouldn’t have a butcher grind the meat onsite? If they do it right in front of you, what would be the issue?

  90. When it comes to turkey breasts or ground turkey, what is important to look for or to be cautious of?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Natalie – That will really depend on your personal preferences and your budget. Organic is always best. Also look for birds fed a non-gmo diet. I don’t tend to worry about getting the lean stuff, I really don’t think it’s an issue unless that is your preference. So really, the focus is on how the birds are raised and being sure they don’t add anything else like flavorings to the ground meats.

  91. Tiffany: About 2 years ago, I THOUGHT I was eating “clean”…lost quite a bit of weight and felt good, however, 1 year ago, I went off my way of eating “clean” way of eating.
    Now, 2014 I started again and re-learned a lot, especially your recent post on what cleaning really is about; i.e., reading labels, etc. and thank you. One of the keys, is not to beat yourself up, every day is a learning experience Thank you for everything you have shared with us.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Phyllis – Absolutely!! Life and everything about it, including nutrition, is a huge learning experience. I’m so happy you’re finding my site so useful! Happy new year! πŸ™‚

  92. I am really new to this. The good thing is I haven’t found a veggie I didn’t like yet and I eat many more fruits than I did growing up.. I have been doing quite well even before learning about this site.. I work at a college downstairs from an all you can eat dining hall.. I take advantage of the healthy options there daily when we’re working and I have found I like quite a few vegetarian foods too..

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Pam – Awesome! πŸ˜€

  93. I’m confused….I like to eat clean…meaning I avoid all processed foods, refined sugar, starchy carbs(ok the odd bit of potato, I’m not perfect I cheat!) and eat lots of veggies, fruit, some dairy (greek yogurt, some cheese) and I have not eliminated alcohol (meaning a glass or two of wine on the weekend) The Paleo/Primal folks have you believing all grains and legumes are off limits (legumes because they don’t allow important nutrients to be absorbed) You read one article and it says this and seems to have the studies to back it up then you read another point of view and they have the studies to back it up….so what am I supposed to believe?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nancy – Welcome to the wonderful world of nutrition and science. The problem is, people with an agenda usually go in and interpret study results in whatever way benefits them. Then they yell from the rooftops how right they are about whatever it is they want to prove. In the end, everyone is confused because everyone is yelling the opposite of somebody else. The truth is, you should pay attention to your own body. Do you bloat up and have digestions problems when you eat beans? Then maybe you need to avoid them. But if you feel great after eating them, then there shouldn’t be a problems unless you have a medical situation that says otherwise. It’s all about what works for you, your body and your health goals. The rest is hot air.

  94. Thank you for the reply. I understand that legumes are high in protein and fibre, but if the phytates in them prevent the nutrients from being absorbed by the body during digestion, then am I just eating something very high in carbs with no other value?
    thanks again πŸ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nancy – I have never heard of this, so I can’t comment on it. Sorry!

  95. Carol Jansen says:

    Hi, My name is Carol and I happened on your website. I grew up with a Mom who used wheat germ and whole grain cereals My husband is not much for whole grains and vegetables. I have sensitivities to many foods and cannot eat prepared foods. As a result, I have learned to read labels, I have to make my own yeast-free breads and I eat only foods
    we have made ourselves. My husband has even learned to cook for me, but he still eats what he wants. I find many recipes difficult to follow because they have ingredients that I don’t tolerate, like garlic, tomatoes, onions, peppers etc. I am always on the search for recipes that I can alter for me that I husband will eat also. It is quite a challenge. If you have any suggestions, I would appreciate it.
    Thank you,

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Carol – That’s hard because it seems that there is a long list of foods you can’t tolerate. You could try my 5 Ingredients section. Perhaps using recipes with fewer ingredients would make it much easier to swap out ingredients that you can’t have? Sorry, wish I could be more help….

  96. I am very new to clean eating and I’m trying to figure out if there is a basic guide line of what foods groups to split between your meals. Do you need to eat a carb and veggie with every meal?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Savannah – You will find that most people have their own guidelines. But it’s been my experience that most folks focus on a protein and a veggie at every meal and add the carbs in where needed. That won’t work for everyone though. You have to experiment a little and see what works best for you personally.

  97. There is a problem with this clean eating diet (even though I am doing it). It is the fact that nearly all of the common vegetables and fruits have been genetically modified, so you are not really eating what nature intended. Organic fruits and veges may not have added chemicals but they may have been genetically modified. All of them are still good for you, but you cannot say that they are the way nature intended because they are not.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Toni – Actually, no. If something is organic, by law, it cannot be a GMO. That could change at some point in the future of course, but for right now, organics are non-gmo.

  98. i’ve always wanted to eat clean but couldn’t really do it. but now i really want to do it πŸ™‚ just have to make do with what’s available to the only grocery in town πŸ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jassy – You’d be surprised what you can order from Amazon. I have a ton of clean ingredients in my amazon store if you’re interested. I’ve always found it kinda nice to have my groceries come to me. πŸ™‚

  99. This is great information, thank you for sharing! I have been looking for additional clean eating information beyond just the fitness and exercise that I focus on, and this helped me a ton! I do agree that it’s tough to go full nature-based, but watching ingredients, eating small meals, and making it clean is something I am trying to focus on. Thank you for sharing more than one method.


    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Bob – My pleasure!

  100. I began a modified clean diet about 1-1/2 years ago. Still eat dairy (love cheese) and sweets in limited amounts. I have always eaten lots of fruit/veg but was eating all the wrong things after mom passed. I’ve lost about 35 pounds and intend on losing another 10. My doctor was very impressed, especially since the only exercise I do is stairs MANY times a day. I had never known there was an actual term for what I was doing! Thanks for explaining so clearly.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nancy – Fantastic!

  101. I would really like to know your opinion of Ezekiel Bread and Teeccino on this plan. Do they qualify as clean eating?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mommar6 – A few of the ezekiel breads are clean, but not all of them. You have to read ingredient labels. I’ve never heard of Teeccino so I can’t comment on that.

  102. when eating clean is eating frozen vegetables ok or do they always have to be fresh.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Becca – Frozen is fine so long as there is nothing added. Always check ingredients just to be sure. But there’s nothing about freezing that is “un-clean”.

  103. Is plan chocolate or vanilla icream considered clean? Is any type of ice cream clean?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amy – I have not yet found an ice cream in the stores that is clean. That’s why I make my own. I have many recipes in my recipe index under desserts if you’re interested.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amy – My pleasure!

  104. This is my first week eating clean, I normally eat three meals a day and two snacks.(I have changed what I’m eating) I have noticed that I don’t get that bloat feeling in the middle of the day like I used to. So yay! I did fall off the wagon today and I ate a hand full of pretzels for snack. I love pretzels! Are their any kind that are considered clean! Please help!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amy – I buy whole grain pretzels for Mini Chef all the time. The spelt ones at whole foods. They’re good!

  105. Okay, I will find those. Thank you!

  106. Thank you so much for all the great information. This is my second day of eating clean. I was always a fat kid and grew up eating nothing but junk. (I honestly don’t think parents knew better back then.) Anyway, I’m 30 now with Multiple Sclerosis and Thyroid Disease and I’ve started this journey, not only for myself, but for my Mom as well, who is 50 and has just been diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. She’s my very best friend and I can’t imagine being -here- without her, so I’m willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means eating foods I’ve either never tasted or never given a chance because, junk food! So my question is, with her having to watch her carbs and sugars, does she need to keep her balance at a certain level? Does she need to eat low carbs -and- eat clean? This probably isn’t coming out the right way, because it’s not like I believe, “Yay! Clean eating! You can eat whatever you want, as much as you want!” But, I also don’t want her to feel defeated or that having to think about the carbs/sugars/is it clean trifecta and become overwhelmed. Sorry for the novel, I promise I googled all of this for quite a while before bothering you, but I appreciate any literature/cookbooks/anything you can steer me toward.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jessi – I’m not a dietitian, so I can’t give advice on diets for medical issues. However, I can recommend a book that is just fabulous and does follow clean eating principles. It’s called the Schwartzbein Principle (or Program, can’t remember which). It’s an excellent book on how to deal with diabetes. The program tends to be a little involved, I know I felt overwhelmed with all the food lists. However, even if you just get the basic concept, it’s a wonderful approach. I would also talk to her doctor or a registered dietitian and they will be able to tell her how many carbs she can have per day. That being said, the book and the doctor/dietitian may not have the same advice. So she may need to experiment a bit to see what works best for her blood sugar levels. I know the book really helped me (I was pre-diabetic and following the plan took my numbers down out of that range.)

  107. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and give great suggestions. I’ve gathered some of your grocery lists and recipes and am looking forward to feeling better. You are appreciated!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jessi – My pleasure! You’ll do great!

  108. Sandy Eborn says:

    I’ve been ill lately and I need to change my ways. It will be very difficult but it must be done. I’m about to be 49, I’m hoping clean eating is still possible. I will be watching this to get started. Any words of encouragement will be appreciated.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sandy – My best advice is, above all else, do NOT let this get overwhelming. It’s a very simple concept and any time you start to feel overwhelmed, come back to the basics. They are simple; Eat. Real. Food. If you can depend on that simple guideline to get you started, it won’t be as difficult to get started. Leave the frequent meals and all the other details by the wayside until you can get the real food thing figured out. Take it one ingredient at a time. Take the time to read labels and educate yourself. The learning curve can be steep, but it doesn’t have to be anywhere close to impossible. You can absolutely do this!

  109. songul - Eka says:

    I use to hate vegies til i had gastric sleeve and didnt really eat for months, during that period my taste buds changed and im in love eith veggies!!! Especially raw mushrooms and peas.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Songul – It’s amazing how our taste buds change!

  110. Hello!

    I have a question about Greek yogurt, taking into consideration weight loss. I understand converting to a clean eating lifestyle will allow me to lose some weight, because clean eating limits the majority of the food I’ve been consuming that is high in fat and calories. Especially fried food! Should I still consume the original yogurt if I am also attempting to lose weight?

    Love your information btw!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Michele – By clean eating guidelines, yes. Of course, you don’t want to eat it by the gallon, but the idea is to get away from as much processing as possible. The lower fat any type of dairy is, the more processing it’s had to go through.

  111. Thank you for responding!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Michele – My pleasure! Happy to help. πŸ™‚

  112. Bruce Price says:

    This article is really great I found it useful in many different ways. We all need to start eating better and learn to choose foods wisely because you never know what we’re putting mentor about it with today society I believe this article will help people in many different ways especially achieve goals that they have a cheap in a long time. I’m currently thinking about changing my whole lifestyle cutting out fast food such as McDonald’s Burger King Taco Bell etc. because is not good for the body I want to start watching what I eat and start eating more green vegetables I now have set a goal to achieve a weight-loss plan I plan on losing 60 to 80 pounds in less than a year I’ve done it once so I can do it again as long as I keep track of this article and about by the rules then I should be perfectly fine it shouldn’t be that hard it’s just a life change it’s up to us to do it and you could do it if you want to do it you can do anything you put your mind to it

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Bruce – Absolutely! I’m sure you’ll do great!

  113. Thank you! The information that you provided is gonna be very useful for my journey to the clean lifestyle. I have been pondering this for years especially because I am very picky with foods (meats) being well-done. I also have lupus and I want to make sure I am benefiting from the food I choose. I have always enjoyed fruit and vegetables. I also have transitioned to loving fish such as salmon, halibut, and swai. If you can think of other things that will be a benefit, I thank you in advance.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lennette – I’m not sure what you mean by other things that would benefit you. But it’s critical to properly cook any food you eat to avoid food borne illnesses. Particularly with pork and fish, though it’s really critical with any meat.

  114. Hi
    In your article you mentioned canned beans, and being careful about the sugar content.
    what canned beans should I be looking at.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kerri – Anything canned can have added sugar. So it’s the ingredient list you want to be looking at. It should only have the beans, water and maybe some salt.

  115. Could you give me a few ideas for someone who is starting out eating clean, like kitchen gadgets or books?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Rachel – I have found an immersion blender to be indispensable. A food processor is a good one as well. There are, of course, my cookbooks (in the shop section at the top of the page) and there are many clean eating books on the market these days. Just realize that different books will have different approaches to clean eating, as well as varied definitions of it. So you have to find what works for you, your body and your lifestyle and stick with that. At it’s core, clean eating is about avoiding processed foods. So if you find recipes using things like brown sugar, that’s probably not a good book to buy because the author probably does not understand the basic concepts of truly eating clean. Tosca Reno books are always good. Clean Eating Magazine was good before they were sold, I’m not sure what their recipes are like now. You would have to look and see. Hope that helps!

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