30-Day Clean-Eating Challenge

If you feel bloated and have low energy, your eating habits might need a tune up. Regain energy and lose the belly bloat with this 30-day clean-eating challenge. Not only will you increase energy and lose a few pounds, you'll also establish healthy habits and improve your skin appearance.

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating is a commitment to consume food in its most natural state. If your ancestors wouldn't recognize it as food, then it's off the table when you're "eating clean." If it comes in a box, baggie or is frozen, it's probably not going to pass the clean-eating test.

The concept of eating clean is not a diet at all—it's a way of life.

More: How to Adjust to a Clean-Eating Lifestyle

What can I eat on the 30-Day Clean-Eating Challenge?

The best part about clean eating is that you can eat as much food as you want. The food you consume has to be whole, natural, real food.

What Foods or Food Groups Must Be Avoided When Eating Clean?

Some clean-eating programs cut out a lot of food groups and include mostly lean meats and veggies. This is almost like the Paleo diet. There are many advantages to this kind of clean eating, but it can be a bit too restrictive for some lifestyles. For this 30-day clean-eating challenge there are three levels and you choose which level works best for your lifestyle. Level one is the least restrictive. Foods listed in each category are items you need to eliminate for 30 days.

More: 5 Eat Clean Tips

30-Day Clean-Eating Challenge Level 1

  • Processed foods
  • Refined grains
  • Added sugar
  • Hydrogenated oils

30-Day Clean-Eating Challenge Level 2

  • Processed foods
  • Refined grains
  • Added sugar
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Dairy products

30-Day Clean-Eating Challenge Level 3

  • Processed foods
  • All grains (gluten)
  • Added sugar
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

More: Active Cookbook: Clean Eating Recipes

The fine print for the 30-Day Clean-Eating Challenge:

  1. Pick which level works for your lifestyle.
  2. This challenge will require you to get comfortable in your kitchen, as fast food is off limits. You can still eat out, but aim for farm-to-table restaurants that use local, fresh ingredients and order according to the level of challenge you have selected.
  3. Because this is not a calorically restricted challenge, you should be able to exercise as normal. If you've selected level three and are eliminating all grains, your diet will naturally be lower in carbohydrates. Make sure you eat starchy vegetables or fruits before work out so you have enough energy.
  4. At the beginning of the month, record your weight, basic measurements and energy level. At the end of the month do the same thing to measure your progress.
  5. Using your tracker, check off the days as you complete the challenge and make notes of your compliance, cravings, energy and exercise. Throughout the challenge you'll begin to see patterns as all these areas are related.
As you record, consider this:
  • Compliance: How well did you follow your level? Rate this on a scale of 1 to 10. Consider a one being you didn't even try and 10 means you were perfect.
  • Cravings: Make a note of what you were craving and how much. If there were no notable cravings, note that as none.
  • Energy Levels: Rate this on a scale of 1 to 10. Consider one to be it was nearly impossible to get out of bed and a handful of naps needed throughout the day. Ten means you could hardly sit still and had tons energy.
  • Exercise: Write down what workout you did for the day.
  • Some days will be harder than others, especially at the beginning of this challenge. Push through your cravings, but not hunger. When you're hungry, you eat more "clean food."
  • Make sure to speak with your doctor before you start any new diet or exercise regimen.
More: 30-Day Burpee Challenge

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About the Author

Teresa M. Howes

Teresa M. Howes is a nutrition expert, fitness advocate, avid runner, published author and active blogger. Backed with a formal education and over a decade of professional experience consulting in the weight loss industry, she has an arsenal of tools, tips and tricks that she loves to share. Fired up with enthusiasm, she founded the 30-Day Challenge Series in May of 2013 and is thrilled to be cultivating a community of inspired, dedicated and successful fitness enthusiasts. You can find her latest and greatest at www.eatdrinkandbeskinny.com.

Teresa M. Howes is a nutrition expert, fitness advocate, avid runner, published author and active blogger. Backed with a formal education and over a decade of professional experience consulting in the weight loss industry, she has an arsenal of tools, tips and tricks that she loves to share. Fired up with enthusiasm, she founded the 30-Day Challenge Series in May of 2013 and is thrilled to be cultivating a community of inspired, dedicated and successful fitness enthusiasts. You can find her latest and greatest at www.eatdrinkandbeskinny.com.

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