I get a lot of questions about clean eating and people are generally surprised to find out that I don’t eat clean 100% of the time.  For me, that’s just too restrictive.  Sometimes I go out with friends or date night with my husband and I order what I like and don’t worry too much about how clean it is.  When one of my loved ones has a birthday or celebration, I like to enjoy a slice of cake.  When I am at home and have complete control of what I consume, I make sure it’s as close to clean as possible.  But other times, I just don’t worry about it.  It’s more important to me to have a balanced approach to eating and be able to enjoy my food and the people I am around.  My general rule is based on the 80/20 principle.  I make sure to eat clean and healthy 80% of the time and cut myself some slack on the other 20%.  That has worked out really well for me and I’ve found myself eating closer to 90% or more clean most of the time.  But I have the space and freedom to have a meal or drinks that I wouldn’t ordinarily have on a daily basis and still consider myself a clean eater.

Let’s look at the math of the 80/20 rule:

Based on 3 meals a day for 7 days a week, we eat 21 meals each week.  Add in a snack each day for 7 snacks a week.  That brings our total to 28 meals/snacks each week.  28 meals * 80% = 22.4.  Therefore, 20% would be 5.6.

This means that if you eat clean for 23 meals or snacks, you are eating 80% clean.  That allows 5 meals that don’t need to be completely clean.  Obviously, the cleaner you eat, the better it is for your body and your health, but eating healthy 80% of the time is great!

Based on my experience with clean eating, the longer you do it and the more accustomed you become to it, the easier it gets.  When I don’t eat at least 80% clean, my body can really tell the difference and I feel sluggish and tired.  It’s amazing what a difference food can make!

Not sure how to get started?  Here are some great resources to help:

What does clean eating really mean?

5 Tips to get started clean eating

The ABCs of Healthy Eating

Eating Healthy When Dining Out

7 Ways for Your Family to Eat Healthy

Do you consider yourself a healthy eater?  Do you think it’s possible to eat clean and enjoy food or is it too restrictive?

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