The Clean Plates Philosophy

In a nutshell, our philosophy is this: “healthy” and “delicious” are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we believe that food tastes best when it’s loaded with nutrients, sustainably produced, and lovingly and artfully prepared. The quality of ingredients is what matters most, whether you’re a carnivore, a vegan, or somewhere in between.

We also believe that small steps lead to big change. Financial columnists like to point out that ordering a $3 latte every day adds up to $1,000 a year that otherwise could be accruing interest in a CD. Our daily food choices operate according to similar principles, but instead of building up our financial assets, we’re building our health resources.

That means every meal offers an opportunity to improve your health.

With this foundation, we offer the following five universal guidelines, or precepts:

Clean Plates: The 5 Precepts

  1. Embrace bio-individuality: Every body is different — which means there’s more than one right way to eat. One person might thrive as a carnivore, another as a vegan. Some bodies tolerate gluten or dairy, while others don’t. Embracing healthy eating means finding the way of eating that makes your body thrive.
  2. Choose real food: The overwhelming majority of your diet should consist of natural, high-quality and whole foods — in other words, food that comes from nature, not factories. If you can picture a particular food item growing on a branch or sprouting in a field, then chances are, it’s “real.” (A word of caution: many manufacturers misleadingly label products as “all-natural.” Read the ingredients list and use your own judgment to determine whether the claim is likely to be true.)
  3. Eat more plants: Plants are the most nutrient-dense food source and everyone would be better off if they ate more of them. When possible, choose local, organic vegetables (especially leafy greens), fruits, nuts and seeds, because they suffer less nutrient loss than their long-distance counterparts, while reaping the benefits of nutrient-rich, organic soils.
  4. If you eat meat, know the source: If you choose to eat animal products (see precept #1), consume only (a) high-quality and sustainably raised animals (ideally pasture-raised and grass- fed, but at least hormone and antibiotic-free), and do so (b) in moderation, so you’re eating smaller portions with less frequency.
  5. Reduce toxins: To feel better immediately, simply reduce your intake of artificial, chemical-laden, processed foods as well as sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

The more you practice these precepts, the more they will become second nature. Remember: big change starts with small steps. If you stray from your commitment to healthier eating, don’t beat yourself up — guilt is a form of stress, and stress interferes with good digestion (on top of having other nasty side effects). Just acknowledge that you made a choice you don’t wish to make again, and move on.