Get the dirt on this popular eating trend!

Guest Post By: Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, CSO, LDN

Clean eating. Eating “clean”. What does this mean exactly? A popular buzz word in magazines, on-line and among celebrities, this term can be confusing because it doesn’t have a set definition. Does it mean eating healthy? Does it mean eliminating everything processed? Read more to learn my definition and for a simple brownie bite recipe based on raw, unprocessed ingredients your whole family will love!



adjective, cleaner, cleanest.

  1. free from dirt; unsoiled; unstained:
  2. free from foreign or extraneous matter:
  3. free from pollution; unadulterated; pure:
  4. habitually free of dirt:
  5. characterized by a fresh, wholesome quality:



  1. to take into the mouth and swallow for nourishment; chew and swallow (food).

There are a few foundations of clean eating that most will likely agree on:

  • Choose whole, unprocessed foods in a natural state
  • Balance your diet with carbohydrate/fiber, healthy fats and protein
  • Avoid added sugars, colors, preservatives, or flavors
  • Increase water and avoid drinks like soda and coffee creamers.

I like to think about clean eating as first, a way to live – not just something to do now and then when you want to lose weight – and also, a combination of limiting processed foods or additives paired with increasing fresh, unprocessed foods. Personally, I believe that clean eating is more of a lifestyle. For example, I associate clean eating with cooking at home. I also associate clean eating with avoiding alcohol and also with being physically active. Whatever clean eating means to you, I encourage you to incorporate it as a way of living instead of a way to lose weight or detoxing. Here are my tips for clean eating as a lifestyle:

  • Increase your intake of fruits and veggies.
  • Utilize fresh herbs and spices rather than adding salt or other preservatives to recipes.
  • Choose whole grains like whole wheat, oats and brown rice rather than white bread, pastries or white rice.
  • If you see the words corn syrup, food dye, natural flavors or hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oil, put it back on the shelf.
  • Practice grocery shopping, cooking at home and food prep as many times per week as you are able. This will take some planning ahead!
  • Plan on including fitness each day.
  • Increase mindfulness into why you eat and the type of foods you eat. Fuel yourself with top quality ingredients.

Revised Brownie Bites

Real Brownie Bites

24 servings

Prep Time = 10

Cook Time = 0 minutes

Chill Tim= 30 minutes


2 cups medjool dates, pits removed

2 cups raw walnut pieces

¾ cup pure cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt, finely ground

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes


  1. Combine pitted dates, walnuts, cocoa powder and salt in a food processor and pulse until moist, crumb-like dough has formed. Add water in small amounts until mixture sticks together easily, one Tablespoon at a time, scraping down sides as needed.
  2. Pour coconut flakes into a shallow bowl and roll small 1 inch balls of ‘brownie’ dough until they are covered with coconut.
  3. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes and serve cold.

Nutritional Information per serving (1 ball): 134 calories, 3 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams fiber, 26 milligrams sodium

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N.
Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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