7 Things I Noticed When I Ate Clean For A Month

Web editor Victoria ditched processed food for 30 days. Here's what happened...

Cart with products

1. I got seriously bloated

Despite the rave reviews of extra energy and feeling slim, my first week of going processed-free actually made me feel terrible. My stomach bloated, I had horrible abdominal cramps and I felt seriously sluggish. A little research revealed that this was all down to dramatically increasing my fibre intake, and it would go away within a week or two. Thankfully it did.

2. My skin broke out

My skin didn’t react well to going free-from either. In fact, during the first two weeks of the diet I was plagued by extra breakouts along my chin, jaw and cheeks. But then, on week three, my skin miraculously cleared. I was told by numerous friends that my skin was looking noticeably clearer and that I ‘glowed’; a compliment, that thanks to years of acne, I don’t hear too often. After the month, my skin is still at it’s best; it’s looking brighter and more plumped-up than it ever has, and while I’m no nutritionist, I’d say upping my intake of healthy fats (Uh, hello avocados) definitely played a part.

3. I lost weight (duh!)

Although weight loss wasn’t my main goal (I ditched bad foods because I wanted to feel better) it was a nice bonus. I steered clear of the scales during my clean-eating journey, but I certainly felt lighter and less bloated, and was fitting into my smallest pair of skinny jeans a lot more comfortably. In particular I noticed weight loss in my tummy and thigh area, but the biggest change was definitely in my face; I never realised just how bloated I looked in pictures until I started eating clean.

4. I was spending a fortune on groceries

Here’s the thing; clean-eating certainly doesn’t come cheap, and while I shunned fancy ingredients like chia seeds and raw cacao, I was certainly buying a much higher quantity of food, to make sure I was well stocked up on everything I needed. I switched out normal bread for an organic rye version, substituted vegetable oil for extra virgin olive oil, and seemed to be buying peanut butter by the bucketload. On the flip side, thanks to some smart meal prepping at the beginning of each week, I was spending next to nothing on eating out.

5. I was eating a lot more than normal

There was no restrictive eating or calorie counting for me. Instead, I ate when I was hungry, and I ate my fill. On any given day, I might have something like a large batch of banana and protein pancakes for breakfast, a berry smoothie for brunch, two salmon fillets and salad for lunch, some dark chocolate to get me through the afternoon slump, and a healthy portion of grilled chicken, roast veggies and sweet potato chips in the evening.

6. I didn’t miss junk food

I had anticipated missing a few of my favourites, like pizza, chocolate, and ice-cream, but in all honesty I didn’t. I put this down to two things. First, the food I was eating was delicious and super satisfying, so I never really had cravings for the bad stuff. Second, I was making great healthy alternatives for my favourite foods, replacing pizza with a tortilla-based version, switching milk chocolate for dark, and ditching my fave ice-cream (Ben ‘N’ Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup, if you’re interested) for a homemade banana nice cream instead.

7. I had a stack load more energy

After the initial bloating and sluggishness subsided, there was a noticeable improvement in my energy levels. In fact, tellingly I was feeling more positive overall, and aside from the added bonus of better skin and feeling slimmer, perhaps the biggest benefit for me was the improvement in my mood.

Will I be making a commitment to eat clean from now on? Absolutely. While I may be a little more lenient about what foods I can and can’t eat long-term, I’ll certainly be making it my mission to keep my diet as clean as possible.