If you’ve ever lived with someone, you’ll know there are wildly different definitions of the word clean. While one person may gravitate towards hospital benchmarks and daily sweeping, another may consider a thin layer of dust reasonable.
It’s similar wordplay with clean eating. When you hear the oft-uttered phrase “I am eating clean,” it’s hard to know what that person means. Are they vegan? Are they Paleo? There is a great 21-day clean eating challenge led by tuja wellness coming up this May to help to demystify the idea. Still, you need to determine for yourself how to define your diet.
With that in mind, we asked four yoga teachers how they would define clean eating. Surprise, surprise: no two answers are the same.
“To me, food dysfunction is a big part of our culture crisis, the megatrend addiction to suppress emotional symptoms like anxiety, rather than seek solutions to root causes. We suppress our feelings with medication and even more commonly with food. “We don’t have time” to cook, so we eat fast food, but somehow we have time to engage in hours of social networking, TV, and video gaming. To me, Clean Eating is part of a larger movement where we acknowledge that we are part of nature and that our food is to rebuild, heal, and enjoy, and not to push our feelings down, a practice that can be perilous.” - Max Strom
“Clean eating is an absolutely natural choice for me. It was how I was raised. Everything I ate was made at home, sourced from natural and local ingredients. It’s sad to realize we have moved so far from that in our current lifestyles. Ether way, clean eating is available and is a choice we can make every day. Even if it involves some awareness, it is there for us. Clean eating is simply one of the first steps toward positive living. This healthy lifestyle choice is complete with strengthening mind and body through meditation and yoga, in the pursuit of a more wholesome and real self.” - Grace Dubery
"Clean eating is about making food choices that are consistent with your values, your beliefs, and your love -- meal after meal, bite after bite, moment after moment. If you choose from the inside-out instead of the outside-in, you'll naturally make cleaner choices for you and the environment." – Dawn Mauricio
And since the writer of the article is also a yoga teacher, she will put in her two cents:
“For me, clean eating means that I am eating in a way that is respecting my body on a higher level. It also allows me to feel energetic. It is whole and fresh and lively food. However, I look at it like a baseline to return to rather than a strict standard. I consider moderation healthy, even if this means that I occasionally eat an ‘unclean’ food. Like a yoga practice, the idea is a practice, not a perfect.” – Courtney Sunday
Separating the healthy food from the not-so-healthy ones: it’s a lifelong foodie journey!