Is #cleaneating ruining your health?
It may seem counter-intuitive, but it really is possible to be “too healthy”! Regardless of whether you’re fructose-free or a full-time fruitarian, there comes a point when “clean eating” does more harm than good.
Back to the source…
It’s 8am and the sun is peeping through your blinds. Before you’ve even got up out of bed, your fingers find the familiar edges of your iPhone. Passcode entered, screen brightness down, Instagram open: let the onslaught of healthy #foodporn begin.
Paleo pancake stacks, raw vegan bliss balls, dairy-free ice cream, grain-free waffles with superfood sauce… it all sounds too good to be true and it’s all right there, just waiting to be visually devoured.
Without a doubt, the “clean eating” trend currently sweeping social-media sites is an abundant source of inspiration for those looking to take control of their health. It encourages us to experiment with more nourishing recipes and try a more varied range of whole foods. It motivates us eat more real food and less food-like products. It prompts us to move our bodies and connects us with other liked-minded souls.
So what’s the deal? How could #cleaneating possibly be ruining your health?
Unplug, disconnect, separate.
1. It’s never a good thing when the online world takes the place of the real one. If that thing you call your life consists solely of screenshotting recipes, overpowering thoughts about your next meal or obsessing over the perfect 6 pack, chances are it’s not much of a life at all. Your body may be thriving but your mental health sure isn’t.
They said what?
2. The majority of “clean eaters” are not professionals. They are not dietitians or nutritionists. Sure, there are a lot of these people online too, but most “clean eating” accounts are run by everyday people. This means that many of their choices and the advice they give comes from personal experience. In short: don’t cut out major food groups or stop eating bananas because someone “insta-famous” read that they feed cancer cells. That’s an open invitation for an eating disorder. Seek advice from the professionals if you need or want it. You'd be suspicious taking free food or a free car from a stranger as you don't know if it's dangerous or not - so why take advice about what you put into your body from an unqualified stranger you've never met?
3. At it’s core, there is nothing inherently wrong with the actual act of “clean eating”. What is wrong, is the labels we are giving to this style of eating. If we exclusively associate “clean eating” with being “good” and “healthy”, then it follows that anything not considered “clean” is “dirty” by association. And we all know that “dirty” = “unhealthy” = “bad”. But hang on a minute - food is not “good” or “bad”, it’s food! Food is not a moral issue and should share no relationship with guilt. Eating something cannot make you an unworthy person, nor can it make you any better than someone else. Labelling a certain style of eating as “clean” attaches negative connotations to many foods and ingredients - and the people that eat them. Would you label a piece of cake lovingly made by your grandma “dirty” and “bad”?
Besides, a paleo or vegan ginormous pancake stack, or choc chunk brownie, or salted caramel fudge cake is still a treat!!
#Cleaneating has had it’s turn, but now it’s time to stop with the labels.
In the words of Michael Polland, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. And remember, you don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time.
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