Hint: it doesn’t mean “wash your veggies”…
You hear a lot of people talk about “clean eating”, but what does it mean? The problem is, it means lots of things–depending on who you ask. And isn’t that the way it seems with ALL health and nutrition information? Everyone has their own version of the same word or phrase. So let’s talk about a logical way to define “clean food”.
At it’s core, it means food raised without additives. It is “clean” of things that nature didn’t put there. In nature, animals would not have access to antibiotics or growth hormones. But they WOULD have free access to roam (read: exercise) and eat whatever was growing on the ground where they lived–which is not likely to be fields of farmed wheat or corn. Have you ever heard about the “endorphin rush” people get from exercising? That wonderful, happy feeling that’s supposed to happen? That’s a good example of the biochemical activity that happens when a body is active–and it applies to animals, too. So meat that is “clean” would be free of the things man has added to the raising of that meat–things that animal would not be ingesting or experiencing if we left it free and had to catch it on our own.
Where produce is concerned, the most obvious meaning of this is that it is free of chemicals. Chemicals used to grow produce don’t just include pesticides, but they include fungicides and fertilizers. In some cases (most notably tomatoes) this could mean But all of these things are soaked up into the plant much the way toxins can be soaked through our skin–affecting the things inside of it. Produce (more often than animals) are genetically altered to increase crop yields despite pest and disease, but this doesn’t happen en masse in nature.
The major problem with all of this is that you are now ingesting foods that are not “as nature intended”. The result is that your body can’t identify what you’ve just put into it, you immune system engages to attack it. Overactive immune systems are the cause of painful, chronic, inflammatory diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis) in addition to allergies and asthma.
Worthy of note that all of man’s “interfering” with the food supply–in an effort to increase production and minimize loss–has backfired. The pests and diseases they sought to avoid have become resistant and immune to man’s little tricks. The chemicals used in growing produce are now depleting the soil of nutrients and toxifying our waterways. In the end, the comeback of organic farming is partly driven by the cost of trying to continually keep ahead of nature’s ability to adapt.
If it seems overwhelming to think that you could possibly know the people that raise and grow your food, that is because you are out of touch with how that process happens and where it happens. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Even in the most urban areas of this country–people are capable of finding and meeting the people growing their food. I did it in Central NJ and I do it in the suburbs of Chicago. I have friends all over the country that can do it. Look for local, organic farms that offer farm shares in the summer (CSAs) and grassfed meat producers. You can find organic farmers throughLocalHarvest.org or by Googling “organic CSA” and your town name or state. Find grassfed meat producers at EatWild.com or Google “pasture raised” or “grassfed” with the type of meat you want (beef, chicken, pork, etc.) and your city and state or just your state. Many of the farms and meat producers also offer eggs. And if you need help, e-mail me.
As always, I’m here if you need help overhauling your eating habits or reconnecting with your health. Don’t hesitate to contact me for a free initial health history consultation to discuss how I can support you in meeting your health and wellness goals.