Clean Eating Tips for the Beginner

To have a healthy relationship with food means that one is able to eat for the reasons of physiological rather than emotional hunger and to stop eating at a point when the body and mind are truly satisfied. In order to have a healthy relationship with food, one must first have permission to eat. Our diet mentality has robbed us of even having permission to eat.

I am a huge fan of clean eating because it is a relationship with food that is sustainable and realistic. Because of that, it has worked well for me.

Clean eating means “eating real, whole, unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible most of the time”

Clean & Delicious Youtube Channel

Long before I knew what clean eating was, I changed the way my entire household ate in order to reduce my husband’s cholesterol level. The timing of this coincided with a number of attempts to lose weight post baby number 1 that ranged from limited success to no success at all. I just love food way too much to starve on purpose succesfully. Turns out that for me, being in my 30s and post-baby, I really couldn’t outrun a bad diet.

In so doing, I started to learn more and more about food and eventually realised that what I was doing was called clean eating in some corners of the internet. I also noticed that we all slowly lost weight as a side-effect of the same. And then the weight stayed off and the cholesterol stayed down.

To save you the time of reinventing the clean eating wheel, here are some tips for the clean eating beginner:

This is not a diet. It’s a life style change

Clean eating is a conscious decision to make healthier choices more often than not most of the time. You are not supposed to overhaul your life overnight or go into a flurry of throwing away everything in your pantry. Just pay closer attention to what you are consuming. Do you find that you love Tomato Sauce? Is there a brand that has no MSG or flavour enhancers and less sugar? Try that one. You love bread? Try brown bread because it is less processed. Try one less teaspoon of sugar in your tea. Try substituting white starch for brown starch.

Because this is a marathon, expect longer term results and also expect them to last.

It is not all or nothing. It’s just better choices most of the time.

Let go of the idea that if you make more unhealthy choices than healthy choices then it’s all over and you have somehow failed and you might as well give up.

Get to know your food

Take time to know your food one item at a time. What’s in it? To what extent is it processed. For example, did you know that hidden sugar contributes more to our daily consumption than we realise. White bread tends to have sugar in it and brown bread tends not to.

You are not supposed to go hungry

In my humble opinion, unless you are fasting for religious reasons, life is too short to deny yourself food or go hungry on purpose. Build your eating habits around foods you enjoy and that you find satisfying. Food is meant to beenjoyed and savoured not endured.

Experiement and try

One of the things I love most about this is that the specifics of clean eating look different for different people. You can eat clean no matter what kind of food you favour or have access to and within your means. Whether you are a family, a single person, a vegan, a flexitarian, a pescatarian or just a rural girl with a big appetite like me you can eat clean. Get to know the food you have access to and make it work for you. Just because the youtube lady eats quinoa doesn’t mean that you have to have it too or you wont be eating clean. Madhumbe or arrow root might be more accessible for you and that does the job just as effectively.

Start simple. a journey is made up of steps and you can only take one at a time.

Build up your clean eating muscle a little at a time. Trying an overnight transformation might be so overwhelming that it is discouraging. Sipping your change rather than gulping it down allows you to savour, enjoy, learn and adjust comfortably.

Finally, steer clear of extremes

There’s a fine line between thinking carefully about what we put into our bodies and obsessing over it or restricting it dangerously.


To help you get started, here is an informative video from a certified nutritionist on sugar.

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