Eat Clean Manual

Welcome to the Eat Clean Manual. This handbook is designed to help you understand, in the simplest way, key terms used in the clean eating world. The Manual is also your easy guide to the various dietary lifestyles that exist. You know, just in case you decide to go paleo or vegan one day :)


Here at Eat Clean, we follow strict guidelines to ensure thorough categorization of dishes to ease your search for healthy food according to your dietary needs. Apart from giving you the option to search by specific diets (vegan, pescatarian etc.) as well as by intolerances (wheat free, dairy free among others) we also give you the option of searching for high protein low carb and low calorie meals; below are our guidelines: 

High protein meals: If more than 20% of the total calories of a meal is made of protein.

Low carb meals: If less than 10% of the total calories of a meal is made of carbs.

Low calorie meals: These include all meals below 400 calories.

Furthermore, vegetarian meals listed on our platform are for those who are lacto-ovo-vegetarians, meaning that dairy products and eggs could be included in the dishes.



A diet is any type of eating plan. There is a misconception in today’s age that associates the word “diet” to weight loss. However, a diet simply defines the kinds of food a person eats. 

Calorie (kcal or cal)

A calorie is a unit of energy in food. Carbohydrates, fats and protein in the foods and drinks we consume provide energy or "calories." The number of calories needed in a day differs for each person. It is based on gender, age, height, weight and frequency of physical activity. 

Did you know? Protein and carbohydrates both contain 4 calories per gram, while fat provides 9 calories per gram.

Kilojoules (kJ)

Similar to calories, Kilojoules is a different way of representing energy people get from consuming food and drink. 1 calorie= 4.2 kJs. 


Protein provides amino acids which form and preserve healthy body tissue. There are 20 essential amino acids the body needs to function properly. Twelve of these are produced in the body, and the other eight should be supplied by the diet. Foods from animal sources often have all these essential amino acids such as meat and eggs, while a variety of plant products must be taken together to provide all the necessary protein components, like nuts and tofu for example.


Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. There are two kinds of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates (such as honey or sugar) or complex carbohydrates (such as grains, peas, beans or potatoes). Complex carbohydrates are favored because they are more nutritious, have less calories per gram and cause fewer problems with over-eating compared to fat. 


Fat supplies energy, transports nutrients and supports many of your body’s functions. There are various kinds of dietary fats: trans, saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated such as omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids which are essential fats that your body needs but cannot produce and can only be supplied through food. Good sources include: fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, and trout), canola, walnuts, soybeans, chia and flax seeds.

Did you know? It is recommended to increase your consumption of omega-3 oils to help reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases and cancer as well as alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, premenstrual syndrom, dermatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats were also proven to improve blood cholesterol levels.


Organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMO), or ionizing radiation. To be considered organic, a product must meet federal standards for production, processing, and certification. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are free of antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic produce generally has lower levels of pesticide residues, which is one of the main reasons people are attracted to them. Moreover, organic production is more sustainable. It uses less energy, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and creates healthier soils.

Did you know?

Organic food labeling standards are based on the percentage of organic ingredients in a product. Products labeled “100% organic” must contain only organically produced ingredients. Products labeled “organic” must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients. Processed products made with at least 70% organic ingredients may use the phrase “made with organic ingredients”.


The FDA has not established a definition for use of the term. However, it was not objected to use it if the food does not contain added artificial flavors, color or synthetic substances.


A nutrient is a biochemical substance used by the body that must be supplied in suitable amounts from foods consumed. There are six classes of nutrients: water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.  It is a food or other substance that provides energy or building material for the survival and growth of a living organism.

Whole grains 

Grains and grain products are created from the complete grain seed commonly named the kernel, which consists of the bran, endosperm, and/or germ. If the kernel has been cracked, crushed or peeled, it should preserve almost the same amounts of bran, endosperm and germ as the primary grain in order to be called whole grain.

Whole grains are great sources of fiber and other vital nutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains can either be sole foods (brown rice, popcorn) or ingredients in products (whole wheat in bread).

We have listed here some of the foods with the most verified health benefits and slightest harmful properties. Although there are no legal definitions or official standards for the term, the list is continuously growing and includes: citrus, olives, olive oil, dark green vegetables, tomatoes, blueberries, pomegranate, cranberries, pumpkin, acai, shiitake mushrooms, flaxseed, whole grains, walnuts, yogurt, soy, green tea and garlic.

The one characteristic that all superfoods share is that they are “real” unprocessed foods.


Many people confuse a food intolerance with a food allergy, and this is mainly due to the fact that an intolerance can cause some of the same symptoms as an allergy. While some intolerance symptoms can be quite minor, some can be extremely severe. A real food allergy causes an immune system reaction affecting numerous organs in the body, which can cause a range of symptoms which in some cases can be severe or life-threatening. However, food intolerance symptoms are commonly less severe and very often limited to digestive issues. If you suffer from a food intolerance, you could be able to eat controlled amounts of the offending food without major trouble and you could also prevent a reaction.

While more than 160 foods may cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the FDA law recognizes the eight most common allergenic foods below.


Allergies and intolerances are major reasons for going dairy free.

Lactose intolerance: Milk sugar (lactose) needs to be broken down in order to be absorbed by the body. When the enzyme that breaks down lactose, lactase, is lacking - the lactose remains undigested. This condition is referred to as lactose intolerance. Because dairy products are the primary source of lactose, eating a dairy-free diet may seem like the easiest way to avoid symptoms.

Dairy allergy: This is one of the reasons why a person may feel ill after consuming dairy products. A dairy allergy is a condition caused by an immune reaction to a food substance, and is more severe than lactose intolerance.

Dairy free tip:

You can replace cream cheese, butter, or dairy-based dips with spreads such as nut butters (eg, cashew, almond, peanut, hazelnut), mashed avocado, or hummus.

Plant-based dairy alternatives are widely available in the market include various milk options such as:  soy, almond, coconut, rice, hemp, and flax, in addition to dairy-free yogurts, frozen desserts, spreads, and cheeses.

If you are lactose intolerant and a dairy lover, you may be able to take lactase enzyme pills (Lactaid) to aid digestion and prevent any trouble after dairy consumption.


Celiac disease:  This disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by a permanent intolerance to the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and other grains. When people with this condition consume gluten, their immune system affects the small intestine, preventing absorption of vital nutrients such as iron, folate, calcium, and vitamin D.

Gluten sensitivity:  This is used to describe individuals who can’t tolerate gluten, but who don’t have celiac disease. After eating gluten-containing foods, people with gluten sensitivity generally experience GI symptoms but not intestinal damage.

Did you know?

Those with a gluten allergy (celiac disease) and those with gluten sensitivity suffer similar symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and abdominal pain. However, individuals with celiac disease suffer further complications from gluten consumption. Persons with gluten sensitivity can avoid complications by following a gluten free diet.


Wheat allergy (which is different than Celiac disease), is an immune reaction to the many proteins found in wheat. A person with a wheat allergy should avoid eating any type of wheat, but can consume gluten from non-wheat sources safely.

Wheat free tip:

Substitute grains that can be included in a wheat free diet include: barley, quinoa, corn, amaranth, oat, rye, rice and tapioca. 

Nuts (including tree nuts and peanuts):

Tree Nuts Allergy: Tree nuts include, but are not limited to, walnut, almond, cashew, pistachio, hazelnut and Brazil nuts. These are not to be confused or grouped together with peanut which is a legume, or seeds such as sunflower or sesame.

Peanut Allergy: Peanuts grow underground which is what differentiate them from tree nuts which grow on trees (almonds, walnuts etc.). Peanuts are from a different plant family called the legumes (other examples of legumes include beans, lentils, peas and soybeans).


Although it is the whites of an egg that contain the allergenic proteins, people with an egg allergy should avoid eggs entirely (the egg white and the egg yolk) as it is impossible to separate the egg white fully from the yolk, causing a cross-contact problem.


More than half of all people who are allergic to one type of fish also are allergic to others, so it is better to avoid all types of fish if you have an allergy to a specific kind (the most common allergies are toward salmon, tuna and halibut).


There are two kinds of shellfish: crustacea (crab, shrimp, lobster) and mollusks (mussels, clams, oysters, scallops). Allergic reactions to crustacean shellfish tend to be especially severe. Since most people who are allergic to one type of shellfish are usually allergic to other types, it is best to avoid all varieties.


Soybeans are a member of the legume family which include plant species that bear seed pods that split upon ripening. People with a soy allergy are not necessarily allergic to other legumes. 


Vegetarian & Vegan:

Listed below are different subcategories of vegetarianism:

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian:  A diet that does not include any meat, poultry, fish or shellfish, however, dairy products and eggs are included.

Lacto-vegetarian: A diet that does not include any meat, poultry, fish or shellfish, eggs, however, dairy products are included.

Vegan: A diet that does not include any meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, dairy products, eggs, or any other animal product.

No Meat, No Problem!

Protein is the building block of lean body mass and is essential for repairing damaged cells. Vegetarians and vegans may lack protein and the minerals and vitamins that accompany it such as iron, vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and vitamin D. However, these nutrients can be found in other food sources such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, soy, seaweed, beans, peas, lentils and cereals. Combining various plant based protein sources can provide a good balance of protein, and allow consumers to meet their recommended intake.

Research shows plant-based diets reduce the risk of heart diseases (heart attacks, stroke etc.), type 2 diabetes, hypertension and certain types of cancer. Following a plant-based diet reduces the intake of saturated fat, animal hormones, and cholesterol while increasing the intake of fresh fruits and veggies.


A diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts, seeds and oils (coconut and olive oil). This diet excludes wheat, grains, legumes, dairy, potatoes, processed foods, refined sugar and refined vegetable oils (canola etc.)

Points to consider when you go Paleo:

  • There is no calorie counting with this diet.
  • The fiber-rich fruits and vegetables will fill you up, as well as the lean meat.
  • The diet encourages increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, enjoying more sweet fruits and less sweet treats.


Pesce, the Italian word for fish, is associated with consumers who add aquatic animals to a vegetarian diet. This diet includes fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, eggs, and dairy (similar to lacto-ovo-vegetarian), in addition to fish and shellfish. A healthful pescatarian diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.

Did you know?

Research has shown that pescatarians had lower levels of blood cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as decreased risk of diabetes, when compared with non-vegetarians. It was shown that eating fish is good for the brain as well as the heart. Interest in the impact this diet has on consumers appears to be rising. The combination of the known benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle with the proven health effects of omega-3-fatty-acid-rich fish makes pescetarianism a recommended diet when looking at the relationship between nutrition and long-term health. 



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Hyperlink to all fish dishes