If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media lately, chances are you will have come across the #CleanEating hashtag at some stage. It’s a diet craze that seems to be sweeping Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and the blogosphere accompanied by pictures of lush looking salads, green smoothies and many a hashtag. This health food revolution has even tipped over into mainstream media with the recent launch of the glossy Clean Eating Magazine.

But what exactly is so clean about clean eating? And why are more and more people opting for this diet and lifestyle?

It’s more of a movement than a single, prescribed diet plan – the many clean eating formulas out there tend to vary greatly. The basic principle behind clean eating is stripping your diet of processed gunk – sugar, sodium and nasty chemical-laden processed foods are shunned in favour of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, fish, complex carbohydrates (think whole grains) and plenty of protein. The movement’s proponents rave about its benefits, from renewed energy and better sleep to weight loss and improved complexions.

Generally speaking clean eating includes a diverse range of foods with some common substitutions of ‘processed’ stuff for more natural stuff – eating things closer to how they are in nature. A few common substitutions include:

The clean eating principles of opting for healthier, nutrient dense foods with minimal processing align with what most people think of as ‘healthy’ eating. And eating less junk food is a good move for anyone to make. But is clean eating any good for people with digestive issues or those suffering from serious conditions like IBD?

Well… that depends. Each individual’s experience of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis is different. These conditions are often as individual as the people who live with them. It’s important to work within your own boundaries and seek advice from your IBD team to develop a treatment plan that works for you – and this includes your diet.

That said, given the digestive sensitivities of people with IBD, clean eating principles may be attractive and applicable for many sufferers. The reduction of processed sugar (a common IBD trigger food) and reducing the intake of pre-packaged foods in favour of fresh homemade cuisine may be beneficial and enable you to better manage what goes into your body. Pre-packaged, processed foods often have hidden ingredients, which could act as symptom triggers. By taking some of the mystery out of what you’re consuming, you could be in a better position to keep your symptoms under control.

Some clean eating programs favour eating raw where possible – raw salads are a clean eating staple. Raw foods, especially some vegetables, may be very difficult for people with IBD to digest and might need to be avoided. That said, it is certainly possible to ‘eat clean’ without munching on carrot sticks all day, it just might take a bit of research to find options that work for your body, your diet and the demands of your condition.

If you’re after some clean eating inspiration you should check out Madeleine Shaw’s site, it has plenty of drool-worthy clean recipes with loads of hearty cooked options such as this delicious sounding carrot and turmeric superfood soup.

As with any change to your diet you should definitely seek medical advice first, especially for those with IBD or any other digestive problems.

Related articles:

  • Agave, honey or maple syrup instead of sugar
  • Wholegrain or wholemeal flours and breads instead of white flours and breads
  • Butcher-bought whole cuts of meat instead of processed meats, deli meat, burger patties and sausages


Tuesday, November 24, 2015 3:34 PM