What is clean eating and the quickest way it can benefit your life

Heard of clean eating? It’s not about washing the lettuce before you make a salad (although we do recommend that practice too). No, clean eating is a way of life and it’s gaining massive traction as perhaps everything else in life becomes increasingly complicated.

In its essence clean eating is about being not so much mindful about the quantities and calories being ingested as the state they are in from origin to plate. It’s about taking in ‘whole’ or real foods, largely unprocessed or in as close to their natural state as possible. To dig a little deeper into this quickly growing movement, we chatted to Durban based dietitian, Kelly Lynch, about her experience and understanding and how to quickly reap the benefits from it.


1. Tell us a bit about your area of expertise in the food and healthy eating space?

I spent 5 years at UCT completing my degrees in dietetics as well as psychology. I’ve always known that I would end up working with people, but was confused as to the route. I loved the psychology aspect of human beings but I was also very interested in health and wellness, having grown up in a very balanced, healthy home.

I never thought I would one day be able to combine both my degrees into a career. My message as a dietician is for people to realise and understand the effect the psychology of eating has on our eating-behaviour as well as to acquire the correct information about which foods provide the body with the most nutrition. I am passionate about helping people live healthier and happier lives – as both aspects go hand in hand.

I often thank my parents for instilling the importance of balance into my upbringing. This has given me a good grounding when tackling the psychology behind eating behaviours, as well as not to fear food or trying new things in the food space. Both of these aspects have helped me become a better dietician.

2. So what does ‘clean eating’ actually mean to you?

I like to call the whole philosophy “Clean Living” and Eating Clean is a part of that.

  • Clean living means addressing all the areas of your life that affect the way in which you nourish your body.
  • Eating clean simply means trying to eat food in its most natural form – so avoiding processed food and creating a balance in your diet of all the food groups.

I therefore advocate eating all the food groups (including carbs!) but in their natural or unprocessed form.

Examples of clean eating would be:

  • Eating rolled oats instead of instant oats
  • Steak instead of beef sausage
  • Fruit instead of fruit juice

Understanding emotional eating and the role the mindset or attitude has on how you treat your body are the other two aspects that I address as part of my Clean Living philosophy.


3. In your experience, what are the most common bad eating habits people have?

I would probably say one of the biggest problems today is that people keep changing the way they eat to conform to the latest fad – whether it be a fasting type diet, a diet that cuts out an entire food group or taking a pill or an injection. There is no consistency any more – the media have become masters of deception.

A more practical example would be the lack of planning people give to their meals throughout the day, constantly eating on the run, grabbing processed options because that’s all that is available.

4. Has there been a serious increase in any specific condition in recent years and what might that be attributed to?

In terms of global statistics, the chronic diseases of lifestyle – like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cancer rates are all definitely on the rise. I put this down to people not managing their lifestyles adequately. We’re all stressed, we’re all too inter-connected, there are so many ‘fads’ out there and farming methods have deteriorated to keep up with food demands. All of these factors hinder a balanced and sustainable lifestyle.

To combat this people need help in creating lifestyles that include:

  • Exercise
  • Good nutrition
  • Home-made meals
  • High nutrient content fruit and vegetables grown in good soils
  • Stress management

This will help lower the disease profile of certain populations.

Vegetable wrap ingredients

4. What’s the quickest health tip you can suggest someone add to their diet for rapid lifestyle transformation?

1. Cut out processed food!
2. ‘Get moving’ – but do something you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, there is no sustainability in it.

5. You feature the Nutribullet quite a bit. How has this product enhanced your life?

This machine is by far my favourite household possession. It has definitely enhanced my life and my health. A green juice is a staple in our house every week day morning and this is whipped up in my Nutribullet.

Every morning I add a piece of fruit and 2 big handfuls of baby spinach, kale or a swiss chard/mint mix together and serve that along with my oats or my eggs to ensure my husband and I are both getting a good ‘green veg’ dose to start the day.

What I love about the machine is that nothing gets thrown away – so I get all the fibre from all the vegetables and fruit, it takes 10 seconds to clean and the blade is so strong that the consistence is always smooth. No chunky smoothies allowed.

6. Favourite Nutribullet recipes?

I have many favourites as I have experimented a lot. Apart from smoothies I make date balls, soups and a few desserts in my Nutribullet too! I have even written an online recipe book called Breakfast in a Glass which contains 20 balanced breakfast smoothie recipes. These are my two favourites.


The cleanser Nutribullet smoothie

(a green juice that is so delicious I have it almost every week)

1 handful kale/ baby spinach
2 stalks celery
1 green apple
1 Tbsp rolled oats
1 tsp organic whey powder
Few mint leaves
¼ lemon squeezed – only the juice
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp honey – optional
Water and Ice

The cinnamon & honey Nutribullet smoothie

(this is what I call a “milky smoothie”)

175ml plain yoghurt/ 100ml almond milk
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp rolled/raw oats
1 tsp raw honey
1 Tbsp flaked almonds / 10 almonds
Water and Ice

Eating clean is a way of life. I believe it is easy and empowering for people as there is very little restriction and deprivation – this ensures sustainability in the ‘diet’. Everyone is unique and this is why I feel that along with this eating philosophy, we all need to be made aware of our emotional attachment to food and how we see our bodies. Once we can address all of these areas, we allow a person to live a happier life in their skin!

Check out Kelly’s range of ebooks all designed to help people live according to the Clean Philosophy.

Inspired to take on the clean eating lifestyle? Get a Nutribullet to set you well on your way to a daily health smoothie packed with nutrition.

Special thanks to Kelly Lynch for sharing her clean eating thoughts and recipes with us.