We’ve asked Clean and Lean expert James Duigan to talk to us about clean foods – what they are, and why they’re so good for you.
1) They haven’t changed a great deal from their natural state
For example, an apple in a bowl looks like an apple on a tree. But bread, crisps and pasta don’t look like they did in the beginning. That’s because they’ve been processed to become a type of food. In a nutshell, Clean foods haven’t been tampered with. They may have been altered slightly, but generally they look, taste and smell like they did in the beginning.
2) They don’t have any added fake flavour
They’re not covered in a dusting of artificial salty flavour or sweetened with a sickly sugar coating. Their natural flavour is all that’s needed to make them taste great. Juicy prawns, succulent steak, creamy egg, tender green vegetables that are in season and sweet, fresh berries are delicious just as they are. They don’t need added flavours because they’re Clean whole foods.
3) They don’t last for months in your cupboard or fridge
I’ve heard of bright red, shiny tomatoes that stay fresh in the fridge for weeks and weeks. That’s not normal. Clean foods go off. They develop mould, droop, wilt and go brown. They’re natural, clean and unprocessed. They don’t contain fake and toxic additives and preservatives to keep them fresh for weeks on end. That’s not right and it’s definitely not Clean.
4) They don’t have a huge list of ingredients, many of which you can’t even pronounce
In fact, truly Clean foods only have one ingredient that they don’t even need to list. Kale, asparagus, chicken, eggs, coconut oil, prawns – they come as they are. Other clean foods may contain ingredients, but only a few. For example, natural yoghurt, cheese, oatcakes or rye bread.
5) Sugar isn’t one of the first ingredients
Or in fact any part of the ingredients list. Food packaging lists ingredients proportionally – so whatever they contain most of is mentioned first. If the word sugar – or words meaning sugar (see page 19) – are lurking anywhere near the top of the ingredients list, put it down and choose something simpler and cleaner instead.
6) They don’t make you feel bloated or uncomfortable after eating
They don’t make you windy or burp a lot. Your body – especially your tummy – is the best guide you have as to whether a food is Clean and good for you. If it makes you gassy then it’s probably not Clean.
7) They satisfy you
When you eat a lovely Clean salad with protein and healthy fats like nuts or oil, you feel happily full and satisfied. Compare that to how you feel when you eat something toxic or processed. After a greasy takeaway burger you feel tired, full, gassy and then crave something sweet. After a bowl of pasta you might feel the same. After a ready meal – which contains hardly any filling protein or healthy fats – you feel hungry an hour later. Clean foods satisfy you, and as a side note, I’m pretty sure Mick Jagger was eating processed foods when he wrote the song ‘(I can’t get no) satisfaction’.