What is clean eating? As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I’m often asked that question. Although the notion of clean eating has been trending for some time, there is no ‘official’ definition of clean eating. However, when I think of clean eating, I think Sankofa—the African word and symbol that translates as ‘to go back and take.’
The symbol of a bird arching its neck to take an egg from its back symbolizes one taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present. That is what clean eating is. Promoting positive progress in health by reaching back to a time when we ate more wholesome, minimally processed foods. Simply put, it is eating more food from the earth and less food from a box, bag, can, or package.
The African Heritage Diet Pyramid is a great example of clean eating. It’s based on the healthy traditional diet of our African American ancestors. The pyramid is filled with fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and cereal, beans, fresh herbs and spices, peanuts and nuts, and tubers like sweet potatoes. These are the foods we should shop for, prepare, and eat most often.
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