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Clean Eating Vs. Paleo Eating

What is Clean Eating:

  • Eating food in it’s most natural state.
  • Nothing white (flour, sugar, rice, etc).
  • Avoid all things processed and refined.
  • Lean protein and healthy fats (like those from nuts)
  • Lots and lots of organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Shopping for organic and grass fed products.
  • No preservatives, no fast food, no alcohol (gasp!)
  • No or limited dairy (depending on who you ask)

I wrote about my decision to go clean recently, it really just makes so much sense.  Our nation’s food supply is in a very sad shape.  I’ve known this for a long time since I’ve seen the effects of it on my own child.  The food colors, the preservatives, and the disgusting factories that process our food has had me making most things from scratch for a very long time.  It was only recently though that someone made me realize that just because it’s from “scratch” doesn’t make it healthy.

Before I got started eating clean and converting my entire pantry over, I realized I needed to “jump-start” my dieting/lifestyle efforts.  I decided that I would do an extreme 21 Day Sugar Detox.  I knew I needed to kick my sugar addiction and this seemed like a good challenge.  The thing about the 21 Day Sugar Detox, though is that it is based more on a Paleo Lifestyle.

What is Paleo Eating:

  • Paleo is also called “caveman” or “primal” eating.
  • Lots of organic and grass fed lean meats
  • Lots of organic veggies and fruits.
  • Lots of nuts and healthy fats.
  • Consuming food in it’s most natural state.
  • No sugar, no beans, no grains.
  • No dairy.

The biggest difference between paleo and clean is that clean allows whole grains.  The main premise of Paleo is to eat only foods available 10,000 years ago in their most natural state (a common myth is that Paleo is raw food but this is not true.  But the less processed/cooked the better in their eyes).

So for three+ weeks I ate a Paleo diet.  I ate lots of chicken, steak, veggies and salads.  I did SO good and dropped twenty pounds!  It really wasn’t hard to eat this way although I discovered so much hidden sugar and crap ingredients in my favorite foods.  I started searching for recipes and cooking even more from scratch.

It was really pretty fun, too!

Now I am at a crossroads.  Do I stick with the paleo lifestyle or start adding back in some whole grains and let myself just eat clean?

Both camps have compelling arguments and both lifestyles are interesting and make sense to me.  Quite honestly though, eating clean would be easier and it would be easier to get my kids in on the wagon if they could still have pasta and breaded chicken nuggets (just prepared “clean” and healthy of course!).

For now, I am eating about 85% paleo and I will be gradually adding back in some organic steel cut oats (I’m just tired of eating eggs for breakfast every day) along with other whole grains and see about getting the kids on board with the whole wheat pasta.

I’ll let you know where I end up!



  1. You are SUCH an inspiration, beastie! I should join your bandwagon to drop the last 30

  2. Wow….I’m impressed you stuck with the Paleo diet that long! I can’t live without my “grains”. I love eating clean. There are many benefits to eating grains, including lots of fiber (as long as they are whole grains). The key is eating your grains in the early part of the day. I eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast, have a small portion of grains for lunch, and don’t have any with dinner. This way, your body has time to burn off the carbs throughout the day :) Best of luck!

  3. I am seriously considering going Paleo at least for Lent (so, only 40 days – with 4 exceptions during that 40 days). I am really worried about becoming diabetic plus the excessive weight I’ve put on in the past year. I have a friend who has been doing Paleo at least for the past 2 months and he is also very active in cross fit etc, so knowing he has the energy to do that without carbs is encouraging.

    If it doesn’t work, or if I really feel I can’t continue it past 40 days, I may work on adding in the grains and just eat clean.

    Thanks for the breakdown!

  4. I would be really happy if I could manage to eat food that is without chemical additives…you’re right, the state of our food is very, very sad. When even a can of tomatoes is full of BPA there’s something really wrong.

  5. hey there
    just wondering how this all turned out for you? I’m trying to decide between paleo and clean eating

  6. Colleen smith says:

    So I’m starting paleo tomorrow & I’m so nervous ! I’m at such a horrible standstill with my weight loss journey :..( I’m doing this to balance my hormones & detoxify my body naturally any advice I’m all ears


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