The Problem With ‘Clean Eating’

the problem with clean eating

I’ve been cooking and I’ve been thinking and I’ve been building recipes and I’ve been doing some more thinking. As you might already know I chose 2016 to be the year I thought about what I was putting in my body and made a very conscious effort to eat well. As a result, I now typically just eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, wraps and quorn. I make vegetable bake and Mexican style black bean burritos and quorn and vegetable bolognese and get to eat small parts of this bulk cooking throughout the week. I think a lot about vitamins, healthy carbs and protein. I think a lot about natural sugars and rarely use processed sugars. I have never felt or looked better.

My issue is how to phrase this way of eating. I hear several variations…plant-based diet? No, I eat more than plants. Healthy eating? Well technically yes but people seem to think healthy diets must include meat which is the opposite of healthy. Clean eating? I have the biggest of problems with the phrase ‘clean eating’.

First of all, I would like to address the definition of clean eating. It refers to a diet that is typically very natural and includes everything that one would be able to forage if they were sent back to the time of cavemen. It is natural. It is unprocessed, it is in many ways clean eating. It is exactly what it says on the tin.

And yet, I can’t help but feel that it implies that any other way of eating is not clean. It seems to imply that if you do not eat this way then what you are eating is a dirty diet and so when I drift occasionally from plants and fruits, which is easily done, I am filled with this sense of guilt because I feel dirty.

As someone who has struggled with food all my life, my relationship with food is always very fragile. In many ways, now that I have learned how good plants can make me feel and how to adequately nourish my body with what it needs to feel energised, my relationship with food has never been stronger. But throwing around do’s and don’ts of eating and running into terms such as ‘clean eating’ throws a spanner in the works. I don’t think food should make us feel guilty. I don’t want to let food inspire old negative feelings.

Health is important and I am glad of the speedy progression we are making into more natural, sustainable and healthy diets but I think we need to start paying more attention to how we are phrasing our findings before people start restricting themselves into oblivion or feeling ashamed at eating something that didn’t grow from the ground.

If you have any thoughts on the matter then do get talking because I’m curious to know whether or not other people feel ashamed or guilty about what they eat when confronted with what the ‘cleanest’ way of eating is…

H x

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