Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4 Barriers to Clean Eating

My Journey toward Clean Eating

I've shared this with you recently, but I have been on a journey toward clean eating. Basically what that means is that I'm working toward a lifestyle that includes cooking and eating as many whole, fresh, all natural ingredients as possible and excludes as many processed, artificial, and unnatural products as I can.

This whole change in mentality takes a lot of effort, and when thinking about why I do eat what I do, or don't eat what I don't, or how what I do now compares to what I did just years or even months ago, I boiled it all down to 4 barriers to clean eating that I personally have faced (and am facing!).

1. Don't know how

There is SO much to learn! I'm not a nutritionist, farmer, or doctor, and yet I feel the need to take personal responsibility for what I put in my body. I want to learn all I can about how food, medicine, and method all work together in what we eat, what our bodies need, and how everything affects everything else! I am just recently becoming a student in this area, and what I find is fascinating and awe-inspiring (do you realize how intricate and complex, delicate yet strong God has created our bodies?!). What I am learning is also frustrating (They add what to our food?! And that is altered why?! These artificial ingredients are banned in how many countries yet not in the US?!) and confusing... There seem to be conflicting reports on what we should and shouldn't eat, how much, how often, affects and adverse affects, etc etc. So one of my biggest barriers to eating clean is just a lack of knowledge.

2. Don't have the money

Ok, so I've done my reading and would love to buy all organic products, pastured meat, farm fresh eggs, etc etc etc. But can I afford to? I know the question that some will counter with is, but can you afford not to? I don't know. I don't know if eating all organic now will save us thousands in medical bills later, or will allow us to live longer healthier lives. What I do know that we're a family on a budget, and I can't just buy an "organic" version of everything I would have purchased otherwise.  This means I have to prioritize and decide what is most important to me, and then choose where to start. Grocery shopping can be exhausting. At this point I'm still reading every ingredient label and studying every price tag. Money is a very real consideration and can be a barrier to clean eating.

3. Don't have the time

Time follows money in this list because the solution to a lot of the money probs take time. You can grow vegetables in your garden, and then can or freeze them for use throughout the year. You can make a point to buy local produce, eggs, meat, and cheeses from your local farmers' market. You can bake your own bread from scratch; hey you can even grind your own wheat for your homemade bread. Make homemade broths and stocks, roll out some fresh pasta, make your own yogurt. Some of these I've done, others I'd still like to try. They can be fun as a hobby or an experiment, but to make it a lifestyle take a lot of time! I know many of you are only home for a very few waking hours during the day. I work at home and from home, so I have more time than many, and yet I also don't feel that my entire life should revolve around food. I certainly appreciate food (and increasingly so!), and I sure enjoy it. Even preparing it can be a hobby for me. But preparing nourishing food at the expense of nourishing relationships is not worth it to me. I also have other responsibilities such as work, ministries at church, and various ways of seeking to serve friends and family around me. (Plus, there's always blogging to be done!) So how do I use the precious time I have been given each day? I think that's a question we each have to ask ourselves, and the answer will be different for each of us. We need to be gracious with each other. Lack of time can be a barrier to clean eating.

4. Don't want to 

Um... what else is there to say about this one? I can know all the facts about something, but some things are just hard to give up. Some days I just want a Coke, a Little Ceasar's pizza, and a whole bag of Doritos all to myself. But I'll be honest, that's happening less and less. The more I eat "real" food, the less I have a taste for... that other stuff. There are good substitutes for some of those cravings. I love a LaCroix or an Izze for a carbonated treat. Homemade pizza is the best. And there are plenty of good chip options that have recognizable ingredients and don't add artificial colors. When I'm out or eating at someone else's house, I eat what's before me and certainly don't ask for ingredient labels :) But the clean eating journey I'm on is one of creating good habits for a healthy lifestyle. To overcome this barrier of desire, I've got to decide that clean eating is important and then make the necessary choices in order to do it.

I hope this hasn't been discouraging. That isn't the point. The point isn't to focus on the barriers, but rather to acknowledge what we're up against, and then figure out how to get over those barriers! That's what most of my food posts on this blog are about.... the journey of learning about what to eat and why, eating on a budget, preparing good food in the midst of our busy lives, and then enjoying and appreciating this nourishing, clean way of eating!

What is the biggest barrier YOU face to eating how you would like to? What tips do you have for overcoming any of these 4 barriers?


  1. Juuuuust tried to post a comment and then it disappeared (I think), so hopefully this doesn't show up twice! But I am on this journey too and it is great to know I'm not alone :) Under #1, I have also been frustrated by how much health info seems to contradict...there is enough to learn without hearing opposite opinions! So that is just the extra step of sorting through and praying through and fact-checking various sources. Also liked that you mentioned prioritizing in #2 - there is only so much money, so that is key! I am also learning that you don't have to "do it all" or eat the perfect healthy diet to be succeeding and be a good steward with the body God has given us. It is not an all or nothing, it IS a journey!

    1. Thanks for posting a second time... I really appreciate your comments! The contradicting info really is frustrating. It takes a lot to wade through it all. Great thoughts on prioritizing... it's really good to be reminded that each good decision is beneficial and it's not all or nothing!

  2. I really enjoyed your perspective on this Biz.
    I have been somewhat skeptical about the current obsession with organic products. By no means am I saying it's wrong. However, I wonder if the potential benefit it might bring eventually is worth the exorbitant prices and excess time that life requires. (Especially when my agriculturalist friends tell me it's mostly just a good marketing technique).
    I got my degree in chemistry and yes, I am not an expert in this particular area. BUT I have to say most of the food related health articles I have seen are pretty weak in their science. Half of them are downright incorrect. I have been seriously put off by the host of advocates who like to use fancy sounding words and use "science" to prove their point. Especially when what they say is "proven science" is incorrect.
    Having said all of this, I don't think pumping our bodies full of processed junk is a good idea. I am all for a healthier diet! Yet, looking at the time and money I would sink trying to be purely organic, I think I'm ok with an ordinary head of lettuce, a lot less junk food, and some extra quality time with my hubby and family. It's such a balance and an exercise in choosing priorities.

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this! I appreciate your insight from the science perspective. There are so many fads, marketing tactics, and just plain bad information when it comes to our food... it gets frustrating. It is something we each have to think through for ourselves, which it sounds like you have! You're totally right that it's a balance in choosing priorities!


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