Clean Eating Defined

What is clean eating? Which foods fall in the ‘clean eating’ category? Clients often ask me to define specifically what clean eating is; however, I believe the definition of clean eating is slightly different for everyone.

Broad Definition of Clean Eating

At the foundation, clean eating is God-made foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts (including nut butters IF it’s just nuts & sea salt. No JIF or Skippy!)
  • Seeds (note: quinoa is technically a seed!)
  • Meat (including bacon. Seriously.)
  • Fish (wild-caught only. Frozen is fine, but skip if you can only afford farm raised.)
  • Cold-pressed virgin oils (primarily coconut, avocado and extra virgin olive oil)
  • Eggs
  • Legumes (purchased dry and then soaked chick peas, black beans, and pinto beans. No junked up beans though, like Bush’s, baked in heavy syrups.)
  • 100% natural sweeteners (organic 100% maple syrup, raw organic honey, stevia, dates)
  • Spices
  • Herbs
  • Flours: coconut flour, almond flour, chia seed flour, flaxseed flour, and any other nut or seed that’s been grounded into a flour.
  • Full fat yogurt*
  • Full fat cheese (high quality like Kerrygold, not Kraft Singles.)*
  • Dark chocolate (high quality, 70%+ cacao only.)

*Many argue dairy shouldn’t be on the clean eating list, but I argue that if it’s full fat, high-quality, cheese and Greek yogurt, then it’s an excellent way to get in protein. Stay far away from marketing buzz words like “low-fat,” “skim,” “fat free,” it means it’s been tampered with and is no longer a byproduct of nature—it’s sugary, chemical laden junk. 

Easiest rule of thumb: if it was grown in the earth or produced on a farm, it’s good.

YOUR Definition of Clean Eating

In my Love Yourself Towards Healthy 6-Week Fitcamp the ultimate goal is for each participant to define what clean eating means to them; which foods are most nourishing and make them feel their best. The journey to defining clean eating is personal and directly related to YOUR own body. My personal definition of clean eating doesn’t include gluten—I have Celiac and must be gluten-free—but that doesn’t mean a gluten-free lifestyle is necessary for everyone. I actually get angry at nutritionists and fitness professionals who perpetuate the incorrect claim that everyone should stay away from gluten, as it’s simply not true. Everyone’s body reacts differently to different foods. While my issue is gluten, you may have an issue with dairy, another person may have a sensitivity to legumes, and someone else may have no issues with any specific food group.

Balancing the Clean Eating Lifestyle

Clean eating isn’t a diet. It’s an approach to life that helps you build a confident relationship with food. It allows you to gain control and make healthy decisions. At the very core of everything, your relationship with food is of utmost importance. Even if you successfully complete someone else’s intense 6-week program, are you able to maintain it? If you still have a bad relationship with food at the completion of the program; if you still feel like you’re in shackles with what you “can’t have” and feel guilty at any slip up, then unfortunately you haven’t improved your relationship with food and you’ll likely go right back to your old habits.

I preach the 80/20 lifestyle because it is the most sustainable approach to loving yourself towards healthy.

80-85% of the time we’re eating God-made foods from the list above, and 15-20% of the time we eat whatever we want without guilt. This approach prevents negative “diet” associations or feelings of deprivation. This achieves balance and a healthy relationship with food.

Clean Eating Recipes

Each week in my Love Yourself Towards Healthy Fitcamp I provide 6-days of meal planning, grocery shopping lists, 5-days of workouts, accountability, and direct access to the program’s creator (me!) Below are links to a few of my favorite clean eating recipes that appear within Fitcamp:

  1. Brinner Bowls
  2. Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
  3. Simply Pork Tenderloin
  4. Grainless Banana Pancakes
  5. Turkey Tacos with homemade taco seasoning
  6. Almond Pesto & Chicken on Zoodles
  7. Clean No-Bake Brownies

I am a self-described ‘lazy chef’ so I promise the above recipes are super easy to make AND delicious! 

My next Love Yourself Towards Healthy 6-Week Fitcamp launches on Monday, April 4th! It would be my pleasure to lead you on a journey to learn which foods make your body feel its best and help define what clean eating means to you. Let’s have a FREE 20 minute phone call to see if Fitcamp will be a good fit.

Send me an email at or fill out this form:



Meridith Oram
Meridith Oram is an ACE-Certified Health Coach at Below the Fork where she encourages women to love themselves towards healthy. She is married with two boys, and lives outside of Philadelphia. She earned a B.A. in Communications from Villanova University. Meridith writes about FASTer Way to Fat Loss, fitness, nutrition, Celiac Disease, and easy (but delicious!) gluten-free recipes at Follow her @belowthefork on all social channels.

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