Is Clean The Dirty Word In Nutrition?

Rebecca Reading

I had written this post about clean eating a while ago but after I watched the Horizons documentary on the same subject I thought now would be a good time to share my thoughts.

The term ‘clean eating’ has risen to prominence in the past few years.  Mainly on social media but now it seems to be used more and more in daily life.  For me, clean eating means food is minimally processed without added additives or chemicals.  As many of you who know me, know I’m a big advocate of eating real whole foods.

I’m a big proponent of cooking from scratch, eating foods that contain ingredients which are recognisable and I don’t need a degree in Latin to decipher.   But and it is a big BUT that does not mean to say I don’t eat foods which have been processed.  I eat whole foods and cook from scratch about  80% of the time but will I have a packet of crisps or enjoy a snack bar?  Hell yeah!  I enjoy food and I eat to nourish myself and I love how I feel when I eat wholesome foods but I’m human and there are days when I eat things out of packets and I feel absolutely no guilt or shame at all.  Food should not make you feel guilty or shameful it should make you feel nourished and good.

Clean eating has become something of a status symbol (search #cleaneating on social media and there are millions of photos) that it concerns me greatly how obsessive people are becoming over it.  If you are not pictured with the right food/smoothie/juice etc then you can’t possibly be eating clean and living a healthy lifestyle, but that is just ridiculous.  Eating real food is not a bad thing and as a society with rising rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes we should all be aiming to eat better but it is not healthy to demonise food groups and what works for one person will not work for another.  I know the way I eat will not be for everyone; not everyone is the same size, gender, or does the same physical activity.

Eating well is only part of being healthy.  Exercising, career, spirituality, social and family life all contribute to your state of health.  It is hugely important to have a healthy relationship with food and not feel fear, guilt or shame around it because it isn’t ‘clean’ enough.

If you do have negative feelings around food, then I would urge you to talk to a health practitioner who can help you.

Health and happiness.



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