If you’re adopting a clean eating lifestyle, you need to know what constitutes “clean” food versus other food. Read on to learn some basic guidelines for determining which foods are clean and which are not.

Whole foods. Any food in its natural state is considered a clean food. Fresh vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fruits all constitute clean foods. In general, the advice to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store applies. If you can get organic produce it’s even better.

That’s where you’ll find the freshest, most natural foods. Avoid the center aisles where there’s a lot of boxed and packaged foods. The one exception to this rule is the freezer section.

When it comes to clean eating, frozen fruits and vegetables can be great choices especially when produce is not in season and are very expensive. Frozen produce is picked in season and frozen quickly to preserve nutrients.

Eliminate refined sugar. Foods that contain refined sugars aren’t considered clean. This includes white sugar and corn syrup. You should also avoid artificial sweeteners that make things taste chemically sweet but are unnatural.

To sweeten foods many people choose maple syrup, honey, or stevia. In all three cases it’s best to choose organic varieties. Some people choose to use agave syrup. While this is more natural in some ways, it’s also highly processed and refined making it a poor choice for clean eating.

Grass fed or free range animals. When you choose meat, eggs, and dairy products it’s best if you can choose products from animals that are grass fed or free range. The majority of livestock animals live in overcrowded conditions, eat an inappropriate diet, and are filled with hormones and antibiotics.

When you choose animals that have been grown in healthier conditions, you’ll find that their products are healthier. Grass fed beef and organic chicken can be quite expensive. However, organic eggs are very budget friendly.

They do cost more than their non-organic counterparts, but you still get a lot of protein and nutrition for the price. And many people observe that organic eggs are richer and more filling so you use fewer of them.

Stay away from processed foods. Processed foods include those made with white flour, refined sugars, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives. Much of the Western diet depends on processed foods which are harmful for the body. Look for foods that have five ingredients or fewer and don’t contain anything artificial or mysterious. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it’s best to stay away.

Buy Local