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While reports from the CDA from this past February are claiming obesity is on a decline, the number of children and adults still suffering from it is staggering. Americans are closely paying attention to the labels on the food they are purchasing and realizing that what they consume is affecting their health and body. They no longer want to eat processed foods that contain seventy-five ingredients. Even successful food chains are listening to public pleas and have begun the process of cleaning up their menus that have been ladened with processed chemical ingredients for years. The choice for many people is clear: clean eating.

When some Americans hear the phrase “clean eating” they often have as much disdain for it as when they hear the word “kale.” Is it just another fad that will be in for a minute and out the next? Just what does a diet that involves clean eating entail and what exactly does it do for me? It sounds like common sense but I found that what I got out of adopting this nutritional lifestyle was so much more than I expected.

A couple of months into my membership at Blackburn Training Center, James challenged us to give up the way we were eating and adopt of version of clean eating called, Lean and Lovely. I followed the book to the nose (or as close as I could) and I immediately noticed that I was losing weight. With the combination of clean eating and training several times a week, my body was no longer craving all the sugar and complex carbohydrates that I was used to consuming. I stopped needing seconds and started to examine how I was portioning food. I traded in all the processed foods I was eating for fruits/vegetables and grilled chicken, almonds, avocados, sweet potatoes and wild salmon slowly became my go-to foods. I started looking at the ingredients on the labels of foods I had previously purchased and eaten the month before and did my research. Everything was full of chemicals (most of which I couldn’t define) and there was no health benefit to eating any of it. All it was doing was depleting me of energy and making me gain weight.

After my month was up, I decided to keep going with my regime of clean eating and I am happy to say I still follow that same diet today. Of course there are those days where I want to have a slice of pizza or ice cream, and guess what…I have them! I just don’t need to have several slices of pizza or a large ice cream sundae to satisfy my hunger anymore.

Each person has to see what works best for them in terms of cutting out processed and refined foods and staying away from saturated and trans fats. At the end of the day, people have to do what works best for their lifestyle. If you are following a clean eating regime and continually falling off the wagon, you may need to alter what you are cutting out. I tend to look towards Clean Magazine’s definition of healthy eating the most, “The soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life – one meal at a time.”