I get to meet a lot of people every day since opening my health food market in 2013 and I’ve noticed that the vast majority of people think they’re clean eating.  When I ask them to define clean eating, they’ll answer back with one of the 10 Common Phrases that I’ve defined below.  The first phrase is how I used to define clean eating so if you or someone you know is using one of these phrases (or something different) then please share this blog with them.  We’re all learning, we all want to make the best choices we possibly can so let’s do this together! 

10 Common Phrases #1 – I Eat only at high-end restaurants (celebrity chefs are a bonus) 

Ha, this is so funny to me now that I am 5 years into my journey, and in that time had the opportunity to create the 10 Commandments for Clean Eating.  Before I opened my store, I believed in terms like ‘fresh’, ‘home-made’, ‘simple-ingredients’, ‘farm-to-table’ etc. I also believed that if the restaurant had beautiful table-scape along with waiters and that the place was busy then it had to be good…right?  Well, I didn’t realize that the same ‘Sysco’ truck that drops off at your favorite taco shop also drops off at your high-end restaurants.  The joke was definitely on me.  The chef is only concerned about flavors and flavor profiles so they’ll use GMO ingredients, industrial oils (like Canola), white flour, sugar, soy and other substandard ingredients to make a sweet or savory dish.

One ‘farm-to-table’ restaurant touted they were using local pastured chicken but then when I dug a little deeper I found out they were marinating the meat in a blend of soy and cottonseed oils…yuck!  You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever downloaded recipes from Food Network – one of Bobby Flay’s favorite ingredients is Canola Oil! I have yet to hear a chef on that network educate the audience on the quality of ingredients and to steer clear of GMO’s and other industrial ingredients. 

10 Common Phrases #2 – I Don’t eat meat 

How many times have you heard one of the following statements? 

  1. I only eat fish or chicken 
  2. I don’t eat red meat 
  3. I don’t eat pork 
  4. I don’t eat any meat or fish 

You are encouraged to watch the ‘What are you Buying’ video.  You’ll definitely rethink your current thoughts; this quote from that video was especially eye opening for me; ‘If you’re going to eat industrial meat, eat red meat. Industrial red meat is the healthiest’.  Watch the video and leave your comments, one customer summarized her description as ‘righteous anger’.  How will you feel? 

10 Common Phrases #3 – Shop the perimeter 

I am equally astounded by the number of people that use this statement along with the number of people who have never heard of this phrase.  Generally, it means shop for the ‘staples’: produce, meat, dairy and stay away from the middle aisles where all the processed foods and frozen foods are located.  The issue with this thinking is that the perimeter also includes the bakery, the alcohol and all of the impulse buys!  I think the statement means well but you’re still buying predominantly Industrial Food.  You have to know what you’re buying so check out our ‘What are you Buying’ pyramid. 

10 Common Phrases #4 – If I can’t pronounce it then I don’t buy it! 

Another phrase that I think means well but falls flat.  How many of these words can you easily pronounce? 

  1. Acidophilus 
  1. Lactobacillus 
  1. Bifidobacteria 
  1. Streptococcus 

These are all probiotics which are friendly bacteria that live in the intestine promoting healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients. 

How about the following list: 

  1. histidine 
  1. isoleucine 
  1. leucine 
  1. lysine 
  1. methionine 
  1. phenylalanine 
  1. threonine  
  1. tryptophan 
  1. valine 

These are the 9 essential amino acids, and they must be obtained from food.  I think I’ve made my point, you have to let the ingredient list guide you and if you don’t know what an ingredient is then do a simple Google search and learn…good or bad! 

10 Common Phrases #5 – I’m Vegan 

Oh, the virtuous vegan! Although I’ve met plenty of clean eating vegans, I would say a fair number are ignorant when it comes to nutrition. The majority of their meals are comprised of industrial oils, industrial grains, industrial produce and processed foods such as tofu, cookies, cakes, chips, fake meats and fake cheese, etc.  Many vegans will eat Oreos but then snub their nose at honey! White refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, get a yes, and natural honey, gets a no!  Almost all vegan ‘patties’ that are supposed to substitute for meat are a veritable horror show of awful ingredients. And, it’s not like the drinks are any better – soda (diet or regular), wine, beer, spirits…all vegan! 

10 Common Phrases #6 – I’m Paleo 

Oh, the pretentious paleo or primal eater! At the onset, this lifestyle is very complementary for clean eating. You’re basically removing all grain, dairy, sugar and legumes. The philosophy is that if the food wasn’t around for our paleolithic ancestors then we shouldn’t have it!  Again, at the onset, this is fine thinking but many of the paleo or primal products are dessert style treats (breads/brownies/dried-fruit balls) that are still sugar bombs that use industrial ingredients.

Let’s take for instance the wildly popular RXBAR. They tout their clean ingredients (minus the ubiquitous natural flavors) and if you are deciding between the bar and a hot pocket then yes, RXBAR wins all day long.  But, if you’re a year into your clean eating journey and you’re still choosing RXBAR’s over other bars such as an all organic bar (for example, Mammoth Bars or Roo Bars) then you’re not upping your game when it comes to clean eating. 

10 Common Phrases #7 – I’m Keto 

Are you keto and clueless? This is a blog post on our site that is imperative to read if you plan on entertaining the Keto lifestyle…yes, lifestyle and NOT diet!  Check it out and leave your comments. 

10 Common Phrases #8 – I only buy organic 

When it comes to produce and you’re only buying organic, then yes this is much better than conventional or industrial farming practices.  You can get more information here.  The only way to improve on this option is to Grow Your Own.  Which, for a lot of us, is not realistic.  When it comes to meat, you definitely need to be more aware since organic might not mean what you think it means.  Once again, watch this video. Also, there are a lot of packaged foods that are labeled organic.  Yes, you can buy Organic Doritos…news flash, it’s still junk ingredients just labeled organic!  We are going to see an onslaught of these types of deceptive marketing techniques from Frito-Lay and other giant brands to try and pave the way to get into stores such as Whole Foods. 

10 Common Phrases #9I’m Gluten Free 

Another misconception people have when it comes to clean eating is they think that because they are ‘gluten-free’ then they are eating clean.  Flat out WRONG!  Many gluten-free items are just switching one bad carb for another and then adding a bunch of sugar, preservatives, artificial flavors and other unacceptable ingredients.  In a nutshell, Let the Ingredient List Guide You, it’s the first Commandment of the 10 Commandments for Clean Eating. 

10 Common Phrases #10 I follow the 80/20 rule, a.k.a. everything in moderation 

This phrase means a lot of things to a lot of different people.  For some it means, 80% of the time, they are ‘healthy’, then for 20% of the time, they consume what ever they want; fast-food, processed-foods, industrial food etc.  Honestly, I don’t understand this philosophy at all, even when I thought I was eating clean, I never subscribed to this mentality.  It’s similar to enjoying ‘cheat’ days, or having ‘fun-foods’.  Food that are made up of artificial ingredients and other junk don’t make them fun. It makes them dangerous…I don’t get it!  So if you think you’re clean eating and have this mentality, then you’re not clean eating…period! 

Bonus Phrase – I shop at ______________________ (fill in your favorite – Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco etc.) 

Yes, you can find some better options at these chains but they are NOT curated stores. Although Trader Joe’s or Costco does not market themselves as health food stores, there is a large percentage of the population that believes shopping there equals better products.  Whole Foods definitely will have better choices than your average grocery store but again there’s a lot of time you’ll try to buy organic produce and your choices are just conventional or industrial.  Also, their meat is only marginally better than what you have at your regular grocery store.  Hence, find a local farm that is raising true pasture meat. This means the animal is outside grazing on food that is their natural diet. Also, the farmer is ‘turning the land’.

When you understand that process, you’ll understand that ‘Industrial-Pasture’ is an oxymoron. Support stores that are curating clean products and visit your farmer’s markets and ask questions.  If they don’t answer, then don’t buy…yes, it’s that simple. 

In conclusion, do the following: 

  1. Don’t fall into the trap of the 10 Common Phrases.
  2. Read the 10 Commandments for Clean Eating 
  3. Watch the What Are You Buying video 
  4. Read the Keto and Clueless blog 

Leave me a comment so we can continue to learn together! 

At I am a Clean Eater, we do not want to tell you what lifestyle eating plan you should be on. We only want to help support you wherever you are on your journey. The message is about understanding what’s at the end of your fork and making the best and most informed decisions for yourself!

Further Resources.

For more information on this topic, watch this video:


To see all our videos, CLICK HERE to visit our YouTube channel and make sure to subscribe.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest so you never miss a thing.

Make sure to download your very own copy of “The 10 Commandments for Clean Eating”:


Enter your name and e-mail to kickstart your new lifestyle



deserve a happy and healthy life.

Sign up for our exclusive eBook on the 10 Commandments for Clean Eating and your own Clean Eating Journal

Discover how to:

1. Make a permanent lifestyle change

2. Stop dieting forever

3. Feel great every day

We can help!

Pin It on Pinterest