By Onicia Muller of ASE Beauty
Recently, celebrity chef and nutritionist, Chef Tiffani Janelle sat down with ASE Beauty to discuss how the average person can incorporate clean eating into their daily lifestyle.
Chef Tiffani was born into a family of passionate foodies. Originating from Louisiana, Tiffani knew since age five that she wanted to be a chef. As the oldest of three girls, she’d often forgo playing outside to experiment in the kitchen.
“I was just always in trouble because I was always in recipe books and cookbooks when I was very little. I was very blessed to be able to go to culinary school and all of that later. … I was always in the kitchen just experimenting and seeing if things came out like the picture I was trying to mimic in the cookbook.”
Discovering clean eating
As a child, Tiffani’s mom was pretty adamant about replacing pork and beef by prioritizing poultry and fish. While her family would enjoy fast food and other treats on special occasions, they mostly ate, freshed home cooked meals.
Tiffani believed the food from her childhood was “clean.” However, after graduating from the French culinary school, Lenotre Culinary Institute in Houston, Texas, she learned that her family’s cooking could be cleaner.
“In my research as a chef and nutritionist, I learned that the way food is processed is what makes it [foods] not clean anymore.”
Clean foods are whole foods. Clean eating is knowing the source of your food and choosing items that are less processed. These items are typically found on the outer edges of the supermarket; think of fresh produce and low processed meats.
Chef Tiffani explains that clean eating is a journey, not a destination: “[Clean eating requires] research, but I think like anything else that we want to do — food is such a huge part of our everyday life — you have to research and be in the know. … Clean eating, to me, is knowing where your food comes from and deciding not to alter it drastically before digesting it.”
Starting the journey
One common objection to clean eating is the alleged cost. Chef Tiffani believes that’s a myth.
“To be honest, most things on the outer aisles of the grocery store are not that expensive. We’ve worked up in our minds that grocery stores like Whole Foods are expensive and they can be … but I would say the average person can spend less than $75 a week on simple groceries at organic grocery stores. They are gonna spend way more on dining out. … [Clean eating costs] is just about what you’re picking up.”
One way to limit costs is by planning to eat in-season foods. For example, cherries or strawberries are more expensive when they are out of season.
Finally, have a flexible strategy for consuming and storing your food before it spoils. You can prevent fresh produce going bad and extend its shelf life by placing it on the counter versus putting it in the fridge. Remember: When you see it, you eat it!
Doing the research
Because the food industry is ever-changing, being true to a clean lifestyle requires a commitment to being a life-long student/researcher.
Food items will usually state the place of origin and ingredients. If there are no labels, you can ask your produce department management, or your meat manager, or fishmonger for their source guide. Some markets have the source guide on the walls.
With this information in hand, you can then research your food sources and ingredients and make informed decisions based on your findings. A straightforward internet search query like “Where does the majority of fish come from for Whole Foods?” is an excellent place to start.
Research is work, but Tiffani assures those with simpler diets, that the primary research can be done in days and not weeks.
Reaping the benefits
“As a mom, [researching clean eating habits] helped me with raising my daughter. Up until she was four, I raised her to be a vegetarian. … I think young babies and toddlers can’t quite digest things the way we digest things as adults. So, I went out of my way to make certain decisions for her.”
As a celebrity chef, staying in the know of trending diets and clean eating has also helped her in how she advises her clients.
Staying the course
Tiffani does not believe that there’s one perfect diet. She recommends reading “Eat Right 4 Your Type” for anyone who is trying to eat clean for themselves.
“What works for Beyoncé is not necessarily going to work for you because of her body type, blood type, and age. All those things affect how a diet is going to show up in your life.”
Creating a lifestyle — not just diet — that works for you is a matter of trying to build a habit and focusing on how the change makes you feel.
“You have to try something — I say that thirty days is the max you should try a diet to see if it works for you. You can tell after about a week of doing it if you feel better. … Then you can continue to do it to reach weight loss goals. At the end of the day, feeling your best is what matters. … Any habit you can form within thirty days will allow you to see results that you like.”
Finding the fun
Chef Tiffani Janelle is an executive chef and owner of one of America’s fastest-growing food experiences. Today her clientele includes celebrities and star athletes. Her whole food persona is watermelon because it is a standalone food. “It is actually a hybrid by nature, not a fruit. It’s a little misunderstood — Much like myself. It is very sweet. Most of all it is filling; you can eat it as an entire meal. You don’t need to eat anything else. It is extremely hydrating!
Onicia Muller is a clean beauty enthusiast who currently serves as Culture Editor at ASE Beauty, a clean beauty lifestyle brand for women of color. You can read the original post and more at ASE Beauty’s #CleanConversations blog.