Looking for a guide on how to eat clean?
First things first… I don’t mean dirt-free food.
I mean food that’s free of the toxic ingredients that lead to chronic fatigue, sickness, mood swings, headaches, and body pain.
I know, there’s an overwhelm of information out there on how to eat clean.
“Cut all kinds of grains from your diet.”
“Do intermittent fasting.”
“Focus on a fat-based diet.”
There’s the Paleo camp, the Keto camp, the South Beach diet camp, the Vegans, and the Vegetarians.
If you spend months diving into each one’s mechanics and scientific evidence, you’ll feel exhausted and confused…
…and never actually start eating clean.
In this blog, I’ll give you a simple, no-nonsense guide on how to eat clean. I’ll show you:
- How clean eating can change your life
- A four-day process for jumpstarting your clean eating lifestyle
- My very own clean eating food list (you can use it for yourself, or buy related products)
- Eating clean recipes you will love (books and resources I recommend)
- And more!
Let’s dive right in.
(Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links. However, I never recommend anything I don’t use and love!)
The Clean Eating Basics: How Eating Clean Beats Chronic Fatigue and Dangerous Diseases
Before we get started, I just want to give you a big warm welcome to McCoy’s Little Farm!
I started this brand because I believe it’s time we made a change to our health.
Already, the cards are stacked against us.
- 40% of American adults are obese.
- The consequences of obesity include cancer, high-blood pressure, stroke, body pain, and mental illness.
- It is estimated that 606,520 people will die of cancer in 2020.
- That’s 1/3 of the 1.8 million new cancer cases in the U.S. in 2020.
I know, these stats are appalling.
But you know what?
Cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease and all those scary diseases are preventable.
So are chronic fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, and allergic reactions.
It all starts with the gut. Gut health is everything.
In fact, eating healthy is one of the core foundations of a healthy lifestyle, and it can lead to:
- 90% less risk of diabetes
- 80% less risk of heart attack
- Half the risk of stroke
- More than 1/3 less risk of cancer
I started McCoy’s Little Farm because of a desire to help others beat the risk of illness, eat clean, and start living a life overflowing with both physical and mental energy. I’m not a dietician or doctor. I’m simply a human (just like you), and I’ve personally experienced a huge life transformation through clean eating and holistic living. And I want to share this transformation so you, too, have a chance of breaking the norm and living a full, healthy life.
Here’s my story.
My Story: How Eating Clean Led from Paralyzing Allergies and Sickness to Unending Energy and Creativity
Flashback two years ago. I was young at 27, but my body made me feel like I was 70.
? I was sick almost every month. I was suffering from paralyzing allergies that led to boiling 100-degree fevers. What’s worse, I was producing so much congestion every morning, that I couldn’t schedule client calls until the afternoon. (I had so much congestion, I couldn’t get through a morning conversation without a coughing fit.)
All this changed when I watched a documentary called The Magic Pill, and started clean eating. (Trust me, this is a lifechanging documentary and you should take time to watch it with your family.)
From watching it I realized one vital thing:
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is the reason we’re not living the strong, healthy, energetic lives we’re born to live.
It’s the reason we suffer fatigue, immunity problems, and high risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes.
So, what’s this SAD?
It’s surprisingly (and scarily) familiar.
It’s the diet you and I follow without even thinking of it. The TV dinners. The fries. The processed foods, refined grains, added sugars, and unhealthy oils.
To give you an idea of how bad the SAD is, it scores 11 out of 100 in the Dietary Quality Index.
The worst part is this diet leads to chronic inflammation, a breeding ground for bacteria, cancer cells, and other dangerous diseases.
After watching the documentary, I knew at once that we had to make a lifestyle change.
And we did.
We ditched the dairy, refined sugars, and processed oils. We started on the road towards a holistic lifestyle.
My allergies magically disappeared. I stopped getting sick every month. (In fact, I haven’t been sick for over a year!) My leg pain vanished. I wake up every morning with clear nasal passages – yup! Good-bye gross yellow mucus. ?
And on the positive side, I feel reborn. I’ve never had this much energy in my life, even as a 12-year-old. My creativity and brain power are through the roof. 2pm fatigue is a thing of the past.
Let me tell you this.
I’ve never looked back.
And you can do it too.
Below, I’ll teach you how to eat clean, completely ditching the SAD and beginning on a journey towards a new life of health and wellness.
How to Eat Clean for Beginners: A Simple 4-Day, 4-Ingredient Detox Plan
I know, it gets overwhelming.
Even if you’re convinced that you’re going to change your life through healthy eating, finding a starting point can feel impossible.
Do you sit down for hours and craft a 30-day clean eating menu?
Which eating clean recipes (from the thousands online) should you pick?
Should it be Keto, Paleo, or South Beach?
If this is you, then great.
You already have the determination, now all you have to do is take a step forward. ?
And it’s not that hard.
Here’s how I started.
I set aside four days as a “detox period.”
During these four days, I completely eliminated four ingredients from my diet. These were:
- Processed oils
What happened was extraordinary.
After the four days, my body started taking the lead.
I tried adding the four ingredients back into my diet, but I no longer wanted them.
My body was well enough to know what it needed, and ready to lead me into a healthier life.
So, if you’re confused where to start, start here.
Set aside four days for your detox period and completely cut out the four ingredients I mentioned.
Then, slowly add them back in and note what your body reacts to. Each body is different, so each will react to different foods.
Once you’ve found your triggers, completely eradicate them from your diet.
Note: If you want to choose the less radical path, you can gradually remove the four ingredients from your diet instead of eliminating them all at once. This is the path my husband Josh took, and it worked just the same. (The difference is he didn’t get the “detox flu” I got: a whole day of shivering with a 100-degree fever. But totally worth it since I woke up the next day with 10x more energy!)
How to Eat Clean for a Week: Clean Eating Recipe Books I Recommend
After the detox period, you’ll want a detailed weekly plan filled with clean eating recipes.
Begin with one week. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with creating a hefty 2-year clean eating recipe plan.
And remember, you don’t have to be inflexible about your recipe plan. Your body will tell you what it needs by sending you cravings.
(Nope! I don’t mean cravings for chocolate ice cream or cheesy fries. On the rare occasions we do order a box of Domino’s pizza I feel my body completely reject it. I hate how it smells, how it tastes, and how it looks. ??)
What I mean is your body will ask you for what it really needs.
For example, I sometimes crave for carrot sticks. After a heavy workout, I crave for meat or goat cheese.
When you feel these cravings, go with your gut (pun intended ?).
Grab that apple or turkey bacon.
For regular (non-craving) days, I recommend two superb recipe books.
Eating Clean Recipe Book #1: The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook: 900 Grain- and Gluten-Free Recipes to Meet Your Every Need
This is a super recipe book jam packed with sumptuous dishes from the top Paleo food bloggers in the world.
With this book, you can debunk the overused and totally untrue myth that eating healthy means pain and sacrifice. For instance, how does “rosemary lamb burgers with peso” sound? Or “lemon basil chicken drumsticks”?
Plus, this book teaches how to eat clean for beginners. In its first pages, it shows you the stuff you need for your kitchen (pairing knife, stock pot, measuring cups) and pantry (almond flour, coconut milk, local raw honey).
You’ll start on your clean eating journey fully prepared.
Eating Clean Recipe Book #2: 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food
Usually, I have a few minutes a day to fix up a quick lunch or dinner.
If this sounds like you, you’ll love 100 Days of Real Food, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks.
These two books give you more than a thousand clean eating recipes to begin with.
Start here. Pick 21 recipes and fill in your calendar.
After the week is over, start again. That way, you won’t feel it’s a huge, unmanageable 365-day journey.
Bonus Book on Clean Eating: Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet
If you want to know the science behind eating clean, I recommend this book. It gives you a thorough understanding of the relationship between food and disease.
Beyond the Clean Eating Recipes: 6 Tips on How to Eat Clean
Want to skip the clean eating recipe books and create your own recipes?
Here are six tips to keep in mind so you stay on track.
Remember, create your customized clean eating plan based on your triggers. After the detox period, your body will reject certain foods (for me, it was cow dairy).
Keep this in mind as you read my tips.
How to Eat Clean Tip #1: Choose Foods as Close to their Natural State as Possible
Ever hear the rule: if you can’t explain it to a child, don’t eat it?
So, say yes to apples, corn, eggs, and goat cheese. Yes to grass-fed bison meat and organic turkey.
Say no to dressings with calcium disodium and modified starch.
How to Eat Clean Tip #2: Steer Clear of Added Sugars
Watch out for sugar.
It has a ton of aliases.
- Dehydrated cane juice
- High-fructose corn syrup
- And 50+ more!
How to Eat Clean Tip #3: Read Labels Like a Nerd
Don’t readily believe slogans like “organic,” “real fruit,” or “no high-fructose corn syrup.”
Take a few seconds to scan the labels of stuff you buy at the supermarket. You’ll be shocked to see what’s hiding inside those innocent-looking packaged “health” foods.
Here are examples:
Talk about hiding in plain sight! ?
If you’re a sweet tooth, I recommend replacing all forms of sugar with local raw honey.
How to Eat Clean Tip #4: Get Rid of Cow Dairy
Love milk and cheese?
So do I.
But cow dairy is actually dangerous to your health.
Here are four (of many) shocking facts:
- Cow’s milk actually robs our bones of calcium (this is contrary to the media hype claiming cow’s milk is a viable source of calcium!)
- 65% of the human population can’t digest lactose properly, leading to nausea, gas, bloating, cramps, or diarrhea.
- A single ounce of cow cheese can contain 400 grams of sodium.
- Drinking dairy milk increases your risk of breast cancer up to 80%.
That’s a lot to take in, but don’t worry.
I recommend two yummy alternatives to cow dairy:
- Goat milk and cheese (contains more calcium, more nutrients, and less sugar)
- Macadamia nut milk (this is super frothy and delicious!)
How to Eat Clean Tip #5: Choose Healthy Oils
Stay away from “partially hydrogenated” oils or any oil that contains a high level of saturated fat.
Healthy oils include virgin coconut oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil.
How to Eat Clean Tip #6: Stick to Healthy Grains
Say no to white bread and white rice. Don’t bake with white flour.
Two options I use are almond flour and Einkorn flour. Einkorn flour is the only kind of flour that isn’t hybridized!
When picking bread at your local bakery, make sure to give the ingredients list a thorough scan. The less ingredients in the bread, the better.
Clean Eating Food List: My Personal Favorite Products
Of course, you’ll want to come up with your own list based on your own needs and triggers.
But here’s mine in case you want something to get started on. ?
- Goat cheese: Bella Capra, LaClare Family Creamery, and Montchevre
- Milk: Meyenberg goat milk and Macadamia nut milk
- Drinks: Langar Farms Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage and Waterloo sparkling water (avoid LaCroix, which is a “healthy” drink discovered to contain synthetic ingredients found in cockroach pesticides ?)
- Bread: Heartland Bread Co. (the bread made with untreated, unbleached wheat flour is delicious!)
- Sweetener: Exley raw local honey (choose a brand of honey within a 10-mile radius of where you live)
- Sauces: Primal Kitchen ketchup and avocado oils, Tessemae’s Green Goodness
- Veggies: My husband Josh’s hydroponic vegetables! Shop our store today: https://mccoysfarm.com/shop/
- Fruits: Lots of berries
- Meats: Force of Nature ground bison and Wellshire Organic uncured turkey bacon
- Shakes and smoothies: Navitas turmeric powder and Nutiva smoothie powders (also golden berries, camu powder, and maca powder)
- Snacks: Late Judy and Back to Nature
- Sweets: Smart Sweets (delicious candy with only three grams of sugar per pack)
How to Eat Clean on a Budget
Now, you might be thinking, “Only affluent people can afford to eat clean.”
And while it’s true that clean food is more expensive, it’s perfectly ok to cut a few corners and create a food plan that fits your budget.
For example, the taco shells I buy aren’t the best and healthiest in the market. But I decided to “cheapen” a bit on the shells while keeping my taco fillings 100% clean.
As a rule of thumb, go for a 75% clean diet or higher. 25% or less should be not-as-clean foods, like a friend’s birthday cake now and then.
It’s perfectly fine to go easy in some places, as long as the core of your diet is clean and healthy.
How to Eat Clean: Summing it up with FAQs
Let’s summarize everything so you’re ready to start eating clean the moment you finish reading this blog.
How Do You Begin to Eat Clean?
First, do the 4-day, 4-ingredient detox.
Get rid of sugars, processed oils, grain, and dairy from your diet for four days.
Then, add them slowly back in to see which of them triggers your body the most.
Or you can go Josh’s way and lessen these ingredients from your diet until they’re completely gone.
What Can You Eat on a Clean Diet?
Basically, eating clean means going for foods as close to their natural state as possible.
When you can find sugar-free, raw, local, unprocessed, untreated, and unbleached ingredients, go for them!
Is Eating Clean Difficult?
Remember, you don’t need to be perfect to start.
I admit I made a few mistakes at the beginning (for example, I went for foods with the label “organic” but found out the ingredients weren’t as clean as I assumed).
All you need to do is start.
Take that first tiny step.
You’ll be amazed at what you’ll achieve for your body, your health, and your life.
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