Eat a cleaner diet to reduce chemicals in your food. Bowl of fresh produce including carrots, peppers, broccoli and tomatoes.

Eat a Cleaner Diet to Reduce Chemicals in Your Food

Eat a Cleaner Diet to Reduce Chemicals in Your Food

Living as a green witch means also integrating wellness into my journey. You might notice that you also lean toward living a more natural and holistic life. Because of this, you’ll be much more aware of what you put in your body. So many processed foods contain chemicals, additives, MSG, and many more ingredients that you not only don’t want to eat but are completely unnecessary. That is why eating a clean diet is recommended so often.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what might be lurking in your food to help you better understand the food labels you’re reading.  (you are reading them, right?)

Types of Food Additives to Avoid

To eat a cleaner diet, it helps to first understand what food additives might be in your food, which tells you which direction to go. Look closely at the ingredients of any processed food you eat.

Here are things to look for:

High-fructose corn syrup: There is no reason you should ever need to buy something with high fructose corn syrup. This is a type of additive that makes your food sweeter, and is even used in foods you wouldn’t need to sweeten. For example, some store-bought premade chicken salad that is used in chicken salad sandwiches contains high fructose corn syrup, even though it should be naturally sweet with the cranberries and apples used.

Nitrates and nitrites: These are most often found in deli meat and other processed meats. It is a type of preservative that is going to help keep the food fresher longer, as well as give it the salty flavor you want. The problem is that it has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers and , higher cholesterol.  In general, it’s not a healthy or necessary additive.

Food coloring: Lastly, look out for artificial food coloring in your food, yet another unnecessary ingredient often used in processed foods. All it does is change the color and brightness of food to make it look more appealing, but there is no reason to use it. You might see ingredients like Yellow 6 or Red 40, which are just food dyes.

Pro tip: 

How many ingredients are listed on the label?  If it’s more than 5, try to find something with less.  Remember:  real food doesn’t require an ingredient label.

Eat a cleaner diet to reduce chemicals in your food. Bowl of fresh produce including carrots, peppers, broccoli and tomatoes.

Eat a Cleaner Diet -When to Choose Organic

Now that you understand what chemicals and artificial ingredients might be used, you can begin choosing items for eating a cleaner diet. This often means going organic, but when do you really need organic foods? Here are some things to start with.

Will you eat the skin? A really easy way to choose what produce to buy organic is if you will eat the skin. For example, bananas get peeled, which means it doesn’t really need to be purchased organic if you are on a budget. However, for fruits and vegetables like apples and pears, you typically do eat the skin, so in this case, it might be better to choose the organic option.

Dirty dozen: There is a list known as the dirty dozen, that includes 12 fruits and vegetables that tend to contain more pesticides. If you can purchase these organic, that is highly recommended. They include spinach, kale, strawberries, grapes, cherries, peaches, apples, nectarines, celery, pears, potatoes, and tomatoes.

Eggs, meat, and fish: Beyond produce, it is also a good idea to go organic, farm fresh, and pasture raised with things like eggs, meat, poultry, and fish.

When you can afford it, don’t underestimate the importance of sticking to a budget. If you’re buying items that aren’t within your budget, you new way of eating becomes unsustainable.  Remember, you’re in this for the long term.  So you’ll want to have extra money for other areas of your new holistic living journey. If you can’t afford organic, don’t worry too much about it. Just do the best you can. Forget perfection, go for progress!  You can read more about the dirty dozen, the clean 15 and choosing cleaner food here. 

The Wrap-up of Eat a Cleaner Diet

Eating a cleaner diet won’t happen overnight, so start small and be patient with yourself as you learn how to select cleaner foods.  It will take a bit of time to set aside some of your old favorites, so give yourself grace if you feel like you’re just not getting there.

Tackle one part of your diet at a time.  Maybe begin with the “dirtiest” foods (see the list referenced above) and then move onto other food staples you use.

Building your pantry of cleaner items may take you weeks, months, or even a year.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Just keep going.

  • Choosing cleaner food will be an ongoing process.
  •  Choose the cleanest food you can afford.
  • Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Just begin.
  • Enjoy the journey! Cook at home, try new things, find some new recipes or ingredients, and build your new pantry items.


Blessed be.


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