Clean eating is actually more of a lifestyle than a diet; while diets like keto and paleo cut out certain food groups, clean eating allows you to eat all kinds of foods, provided that they are natural and don’t contain processed ingredients.
The Health Benefits of Clean Eating
It turns out that when you cut out processed foods, you can experience numerous health benefits. Studies show that clean eating can:
- Assist with weight loss
- Increase energy
- Reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers
- Help manage/prevent diabetes
- Improve mental health
The Challenges of Clean Eating
It’s easy to look at the health benefits of clean eating and get ready to jump aboard. But then, you start reading the nutrition labels on the foods you buy. It seems like everything has added chemicals, sugars, and ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Even supposedly healthy items like protein bars, dried fruits, granola, oatmeal, veggie chips, soy milk, or anything with the label “reduced fat” are, in actuality, loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
So What Are You Supposed to Eat?
Clean eating is essentially a plant-based diet, or way of life, and you can add in whole grains like barley, brown rice, millet, and bulgur. You’re also allowed to eat poultry, fish, and meat, but organic/farm fresh is best, and you’re not supposed to overdo it. Dairy’s okay as well, in moderation, and it’s best to stick with full-fat yogurt and whole milk.
When you go to the supermarket, it’s crucial that you look at the nutrition labels on food. This way, you can be sure that what you’re eating is “clean.”
After you master nutrition labels, the next challenge of clean eating is the actual food prep. Plant-based diets involve a lot of food prep—washing, slicing, dicing, and cooking. Not to mention looking up recipes, which can be super-fun but can also take a lot of time.
If you’re going to stick with clean eating, you’ve got to find a way to make all that food preparation easier.
And That’s Where Smoothies Come In
Smoothies are the bright, colorful rainbows that shine over the flat fields of clean eating, and they’re super-easy to make. Whereas the food prep for your other clean eating meals might be more intensive (think cooking whole grains, stir-frying vegetables, simmering soups, etc.), all you need to do to make a smoothie is throw some ingredients in a blender. And voila—deliciousness in a cup.
Smoothies are also great because the variations are endless and you can eat them on-the-go. Clean eating allows whole milk or yogurt to be used as the base, and then you can throw in any veggies or fruits that you like. Frozen fruits and veggies are allowed in clean eating, and they can be your best friends in the smoothie-making process.
Smoothies are an especially great way to get in more veggies—when you add in spinach or kale, the color of the smoothie changes, but you barely taste it and you get all vitamins. You can also throw in chia or flax seeds, both of which are nutrient-rich and can keep you feeling full for longer.
Healthy Smoothies vs. Unhealthy Smoothies
Not all smoothies are created equal, and this is where your clean eating radar needs to perk up. Remember all those healthy foods that we thought were healthy, but really they’re not? Well, smoothies have the potential to fall into that category as well.
If you buy ready-made smoothies from the supermarket, chances are you’re getting a lot more ingredients than just fruit and milk. Ingredients that you could do without. The same goes for buying smoothies at restaurants—unless it’s a totally raw or vegan restaurant, you don’t necessarily know what’s being added to your smoothie. The only way to be 100% sure of what’s in your food is if you make it yourself.
When Even Smoothies are Too Time-Intensive
You love smoothies and want to incorporate them into your clean eating lifestyle—but what if you don’t have the time to shop and come up with recipes? Fortunately, there are meal delivery services that have special smoothie plans (which gives you an idea of just how popular smoothies are).
Daily Harvest is a service that uses only organic fruits and vegetables—you can sign up for the smoothie plan and choose from mouth-watering selections like Strawberry + Peach or Mint + Cacao. When you click on each smoothie, you’re shown exactly what ingredients are included as well as a list of health benefits.
Frozen Garden only sells smoothies; they come in the form of pouches, and all you need to do is spill the contents of the pouch into your blender, add water, and presto! Instant smoothie. Frozen Garden smoothie pouches are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, and contain no added sugar. Their ingredients are sourced fresh from local farmers and then flash frozen to retain nutrients.
Smoothie Box is yet another smoothie delivery service that offers smoothies as meal replacements and as snacks—you get to decide which kind you want. Like any smoothie delivery service worth its salt, Smoothie Box uses fresh and non-GMO ingredients and is totally transparent about what’s included with each smoothie box.
As you can see, if you want to incorporate smoothies into your diet, there are lots of options.
Smoothies Make Clean Eating Easy
When smoothies play a big part in your clean eating diet, it can be easy to stick with it despite all its challenges. If you prefer to make smoothies at home, all you need to do is stock up on frozen fruits and veggies, and use them as you wish. You can have lots of fun coming up with different combinations as well. If you prefer to use a smoothie delivery service, then you’re really gliding down easy street. Your smoothie ingredients will get delivered to your doorstep, come in individual packages, and all you need to do is pour them into your blender.
However you choose to get your smoothie fix, you can relax knowing that you’re filling your body with totally healthy ingredients. And the best part is, smoothies are so delicious that you’ll actually feel like you’re indulging, when in fact, you’re following clean eating rules like a pro.