100 lb. Club - "Eating Clean"?

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02-06-2009, 03:00 AM
I've seen this phrase popping up all over the place. But what does it really mean? I've looked at websites but please tell me: if you "eat clean", what do you personally mean by that? What do you eat and what do you avoid?

02-06-2009, 03:07 AM
eating clean to me means mainly staying within my calorie range. Not binging, or over doing it. im sure a lot of people use the phrase in a different way, maybe meaning no processed foods or junk food, which i try to stay away from for the most part. but, when i say i "ate clean" today... i just mean, i stayed on my plan and within my calorie range.

02-06-2009, 03:36 AM
I've always thought it meant that you ate nutritious foods... I'm bad at this. I can easily stay in a 1300-1400 calorie range and have ramen for lunch and McDonald's for dinner. I eat a tiny breakfast and wah-lah--I only ate 1350 calories! But everything I ate was garbage.

"Eating clean" is definitely something I need to master on my weight loss path.

02-06-2009, 03:39 AM
Theres a magazine devoted to clean eating and what I got from that was that it's about eating non-processed foods, but I too have been looking for a more specific definition.

Rock Chalk Chick
02-06-2009, 06:54 AM
In the sense of weight-lifting/"official" terms, there is an "eat clean" diet/movement which has specific rules (and a few books/magazines, if you want more info: Official Site (http://www.eatcleandiet.com/Default.aspx?page=2) As I understand it, it start as general healthy-eating advice in bodybuilder magazines, and spun off from there into a more structured "diet." The argument is that for extreme fat reduction (body builders want to severely decrease body fat to increase muscle definition), you need to eat "clean" - basically lean protein and non-starchy veggies, strictly limiting refined carbs and processed foods. Depending on the degree of restriction (pre-competition vs more relaxed), whole grains and such are also encouraged.

With that said, the basic concepts are pretty well applied across the board. Personally, I tend to use the term to apply to eating "real" foods, whether I'm following the official "clean" diet or not - the fewer chemicals in my food, the better. I know that I feel better when I eat more fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and natural whole grains; I feel much worse if I eat processed foods, whether high-fat "junk" foods or artificially low-fat/low-cal "diet" foods, though I can achieve the same calorie count either way. So, for me, eating clean consists of eating non-processed, non-fake foods, and focusing on fresh produce and quality protein.

02-06-2009, 08:50 AM
Some of us use the phrase to refer to eating clean as in Leviticus 11 -- things like avoiding shellfish and pork (scavengers).

02-06-2009, 08:57 AM
Eating clean for me means plenty of lean proteins, healthy fats, veggies - no uber processed stuff or sugars: just peanut or almond butter, protein powder, a can of tomatoes or beans thrown in now and then. Admittedly, I rarely eat whole grains - a tortilla now and then. To twist that though, I have no problems with artificial sweeteners in my shakes, drinks or coffee. So I'm a little dusty, not clean!

That was a gradual change, for sure, but worth it for me.

Rock Chalk about covered my perception of it - but I've been chilling with too many bodybuilders as of late, learned how to eat from them. :p

02-06-2009, 09:05 AM
I'm just in the process of reading The Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno http://www.toscareno.com From what I've read so far, she advocates eating whole foods, rather than processed foods.

02-06-2009, 09:40 AM
That is what it means to me as well-I have have cut out (as much as possible) processed foods from my diet.

02-06-2009, 10:11 AM
I think "eating clean" is one of those ambiguous terms that everybody can define for themselves. And that's the way it should be. We all set our own rules anyway. Staying away from chemicals would be tough, as chemicals are defined as material with a specific chemical composition, and some common examples are salt, water, sugar. Sorry, as a person with a chemistry background, I couldn't resist throwing that in. I also have issues with the definition of "natural", since, doesn't everything on this planet originate in nature? Arsenic is natural but I wouldn't want to eat it. I think the way most people would define eating clean is staying away from foods that are highly processed and therefore have lost a lot of the properties they had in their "natural" state, or the way they are found in nature.

For me, I don't use the term eating clean, but I prefer to eat foods that have been minimally processed. Grinding, drying, canning, fermenting, freezing, and cooking are processes that I consider acceptable (I'm not into the raw foods movement - did anybody see that Wife Swap episode where the family ate only raw foods, including chicken and eggs? Ick!). I like to know what's in my food, so I like to cook everything I can from scratch. Mostly what you will find in my kitchen are basic, unprocessed foods: dried or canned beans, nuts, grains, fruits and veggies, dairy, meat. But I buy bread, ww pasta, and make exceptions for some treats, like NSA fudgesicles or an occasional diet soda.

But I don't see the need to get extreme about things. I think if I am eating a balanced diet of mostly unprocessed foods, that's good enough.

02-06-2009, 10:39 AM
Hi Lyn!

For me, the term means avoiding highly processed foods, high glycemic index carbs and industrially-produced meat & dairy products.

I try not to eat the following (or any foods that contain them):

white flour, white sugar and white rice
corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and other corn-derived food additives
industrially-produced fats and oils
industrially-produced meat and dairy products
white potatoes
artificial sweeteners
hard alcohol

I do eat the following:

fruits, vegetables and legumes of all kinds, organic wherever possible
organic/free-range/grass-fed meat and dairy products of all kinds
wild-caught fish & seafood of all kinds
whole grains of all kinds (and flours derived from them)
nuts and seeds of all kinds (and natural oils derived from them)
natural sweeteners (raw sugar, molasses, honey, agave nectar, stevia)
wine & beer

The 101 Cookbooks site is a great resource for information about and recipes emphasizing natural foods. . . here is a link to the section that discusses building a natural foods pantry.


I do use a limited amount of white flour and white sugar in baking, and I really like a few products that fall outside the above guidelines (Arnolds whole wheat sandwich thins, La Tortilla Factory low-carb/high-fiber tortillas and Wheat Thins fiber select crackers come to mind), but I succeed in adhering to the above guidelines 90% of the time when I'm eating at home/doing my own cooking.

When I'm traveling, eating in restaurants or at the homes of friends, it is much more difficult - I still avoid fast food, packaged snacks and packaged sweets, but otherwise just try to make a reasonable choice from the available options.

02-06-2009, 10:40 AM
The 'eating clean' methodology has been around for a while, I think I first saw it in Body for Life which is a book that came out 10 years ago. (wow 10 years already!?)

Anyway for me, it means eating whole foods, non processed foods. That doesn't mean I don't eat some processed foods but 90% or more of my food is unprocessed. Some people view canned stuff as processed but I think canned tomatoes and beans are great but I also check the ingredients on those. I'll eat some bread once in a while but I'm very picky about the ingredients. Also I further developed it to mean no dairy/eggs and meat products because that became important to me.

So basically I eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.

02-06-2009, 12:02 PM
So in other words, it means something entirely different if you're a body builder versus a vegetarian. :chin:

I wouldn't worry about term too much, because what it means is so different from person to person. Let's use plain English. Whole foods, unprocessed foods, fresh foods, and so on.


02-06-2009, 12:39 PM
And how's that for 908 different definitions?

I think the mid line definition means that you are eating whole foods, not processed. Clean from things that are NOT really foods, like preservatives, chemical dyes, etc. And avoiding highly processed foods......white flour as compared to whole grain flours, etc.

Again there are many other definitions that branch off from there. Personally I would like to get to the point where I am eating whole foods only, following something similar to the Makers Diet. As posted earlier, some feel eating clean is defined in Leviticus (no scavengers sea foods, or pork) But for my personal beliefs the new testiment In Mark 7:17-19 Jesus declared all food clean. That is good enough for me. Yes, a Christian can eat pork. If you are to drag he prohibition against eating pork from the Law of Moses into Christian teaching, then you will have to drag all the hundreds of other laws in as well, as how can you distinguish one from another? In Colossians 2:13-23, Paul declares with great clarity and finality that the Law was nailed to
the cross when Jesus was crucified.

Having said all that, (and sorry if I offended anyone!) There are hundreds of studies that prove that people in Lomalinda CA live a considerable longer time than anyone else. The majority of Lomalinda residents are Seventh Day Adventist, and they do not eat pork, or scavenger sea food. They also avoid coffee, soda, highly processed foods and the like........certainly something to be said for eating clean, no matter if that involes some lean pork loin and shrimp or not! (I attend and am in leadership in a Seventh Day Adventist church, many of our members are in this group of religiously eating clean--they are very healthy)

02-06-2009, 04:08 PM
For me, it means avoiding processed foods. I am not perfect, eliminating all processed foods completely won't work for my lifestyle, but I do make an effort to eat as many whole foods as possible and avoid foods with little to no nutritional value.

02-06-2009, 04:17 PM
Organic always comes to mind when I hear "Eat Clean."

I agree too with the avoidance of processed foods, but that is just not usually an option for my lifestyle. I know I feel better when I have simple meals made of simple foods. My son also like the simple strait forward vegetables and basic grilled or baked meats too. Cheesy, cracker topped casseroles made from condensed soups aren't a hit at my house. (Except the special occasion Broccoli casserole.) Unfortunately, freezer food and meals make the menu alot when when we travel for work.

I like the idea of clean=on plan!

02-06-2009, 04:26 PM
Eating clean for me is no binge/trigger foods,healthy fruits,veg,& lean protien. No fast food or processed food.

02-06-2009, 04:36 PM
When I say that I eat "clean", I mean that 90% or better of the foods that I eat are natural, and wholesome, nutrient rich and unprocessed.

But honestly, it didn't originally come from the fact that I didn't want to put "that" stuff in me. It came from the fact that when I started counting calories that I NEEDED to get the very most from each and every precious calorie. I needed volume, staying power, vitamins and reduction of cravings. And processed foods does NOT provide that. Whole, natural, unprocessed foods DO.

02-06-2009, 05:16 PM
When I say that I eat "clean", I mean that 90% or betterof the foods that I eat are natural, and wholesome, nutrient rich and unprocessed.

But honestly, it didn't originally come from the fact that I didn't want to put "that" stuff in me. It came from the fact that when I started counting calories that I NEEDED to get the very most from each and every precious calorie. I needed volume, staying power, vitamins and reduction of cravings. And processed foods does NOT provide that. Whole, natural, unprocessed foods DO.

I couldn't have said it better myself :) This is how I view eating clean as well.

02-06-2009, 08:36 PM
This is a great thread! Thank you for all the answers. Very insightful.

02-06-2009, 09:09 PM
I guess I owe an apology. Although I responded to the question as to what Clean Eating means to ME, and also commented on the religious definition (as was already brought up) and then again talked about how I take that as MY personal belief..............and even followed up with a "(sorry if I offended anyone)" I still managed to offend someone. :?: Not my intention AT ALL, and certainly not my style to preach at anyone...........

Everyone have a great weekend, eating clean or eating dirty......I imagine mine will be somewhere in the middle!

02-06-2009, 09:19 PM
I think, Redflame, that anytime you comment on religion and have to follow it with a "sorry if I offended anyone" you probably know that someones going to be offended ;) It's such a touchy subject for so many.

I was not offended though if that helps! lol!

02-06-2009, 09:22 PM
For me eating clean is..

Not eating an over amount of..
greasy- most "normal made" pizza
fatty- fast food
high bad sugar content foods- Cake, most desserts depending on how its made, most ice cream, debbie cakes etc

I think I oversimplified it a bit compared to some of yall's answers.

02-06-2009, 09:27 PM
i guess i'm like most, i refer to 'eating clean' as eating foods that are real (chicken, fresh fruit, broccoli, salad, etc.), as opposed to processed crap like 100-cal packs and frozen dinners.

Thighs Be Gone
02-06-2009, 09:37 PM
..I agree--most of my foods (90% +) are whole foods. I have my crutches though--nonfat cooking spray, 5 calorie margarine, fat-free miracle whip, sugar-free Starbucks syrup, an occasional soda to go with my pizza Friday's. I choose them because they are plain and simply more filling than trying to find something processed for the same calories.

02-07-2009, 01:37 PM
When I was on another forum several years ago when I lost the weight I am now trying to lose again (hooray!) we used eating clean to mean staying 100% strictly on the plan you'd chosen and not eating anything off the plan--so for me when I was on Atkins it meant no other off plan foods.

I rather like these ideas here better though of eating good healthy unprocessed food. I try to eat very healthy and stay on my plan (low carb but not totally Atkins) and when I do that carefully (what we called eating clean) I definitely lose weight..

02-07-2009, 01:38 PM
Oh another thought, so Valentine's candy won't be discussed here, right? Just kidding!!!!

02-07-2009, 06:11 PM
If God don't make it, I don't eat it. ;)

02-07-2009, 07:41 PM
For me, eating clean means no processed foods and no fake foods. And that would include veggie stuff like boca burgers.

I feel better and lose better when I eat clean.

02-08-2009, 09:03 PM
fiber, I'd agree that regular boca burgers are definitely processed. There are some veggie burgers that are just veggies and they are technically still processed although all the ingredients are things you could normally buy. I make my own 'fake meat' and although all the ingredients are pretty normal, I still don't really consider it a whole food. I only eat 'fake meat' occasionally though.