The Dark Side of Clean Eating

I’ve wanted to get a Star Wars reference into a post for ages, so anyone who knows me, knows how happy that made me 🙂

That being said, how the title of this post came about will become clear as you read on.

So the idea for this post came to me whilst I was eating my second lunch of the day (if that’s even a thing) and having a quick scroll through my Instagram feed.

What I saw was less of a guiding light, and more of a showcase of food (not to mention the abundance of half naked bodies).

This is how you should do this, if you want to look like XYZ.  And I feel that this creates a disconnect between the people posting and the people looking at the posts.  It creates an image of perfection to the level that if someone wasn’t to eat this way, they would somehow fail at life and to not bother trying to better themselves at all.

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^^Star Wars reference number 2 there^^

So before we go any further, answer this for me:

 

Ok, so for those of you that haven’t heard of it before (and to refresh for those of you who have), here’s what a quick internet search says:

 

“Clean eating is a deceptively simple concept. Rather than revolving around the idea of ingesting more or less of specific things (for instance, fewer calories or more protein), the idea is more about being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate.”  <—- basically as close to picking from the ground or chopping off an animal or fish as possible.

 

At this point, I want you to have a quick think about what the term ‘clean eating’ means to you.  Is it anything like the above?  Is it anything that isn’t junk food?  Does it mean it has to be washing before you eat it?

 

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Joking aside, I now invite you to think about what has led you to come up with that answer.  Is it because someone has told you to eat this way? Or did you read something on the internet, or perhaps one of those Instagram accounts I mentioned up there ^^^^^ (or any social media for that matter).

I know for me, it was when I first became a Personal Trainer, that I was exposed to this phrase and concept.  And this is how I interpreted it:

  • Meat, Fish, Eggs
  • No Dairy (I’m not lactose intolerant so looking back that made no sense)
  • Fresh Veggies
  • Mostly Berries, and the occasional Fruit
  • No Pasta (because I thought Gluten was bad)
  • No Bread, for the same reason as the Pasta
  • No Cereal (again, it was a grain-phobia sort of thing)
  • Only Carbs coming from Rice

Now as ‘clean’ as that all looks, how limited are my choices there?  VERY!

What ended up happening for me (and this may be a case for you too), is that I became so indoctrinated to this way of eating, that I almost refused to eat anything outside of that list.  I thought I was doing what was best for my physical health; so much so that I was ignoring my mental health, in terms of my eating habits.

There is a term now, still in its infancy, for this.  It’s called Orthorexia.  Another quick internet search and I came across this:

“Orthorexia as an eating disorder is very much still in its theoretical stages, that is to say that it is not officially recognised by the medical profession. It describes the development of a restrictive diet which completely avoids foods that are feared to be unhealthy. It can be triggered by the innocent motive of wanting to improve your diet. ‘Clean eating’, meaning eating only fresh fruit/veg, lean meat and avoiding processed foods, for example, is the kind of diet that could lead to somebody becoming obsessively avoidant of certain foods and thereby depriving themselves of essential nutrients and hindering themselves socially.”

Now while that might read a bit scary, it’s something I’m noticing more and more in the world of health and fitness, and it’s because of that I decided to write this.

And if through reading this you at least start to question why you eat the way that you do, and if it’s really the best thing for you, then please drop me a message and let me know.

And if you’d like to have a conversation with me a bit more about it all, drop me a message about that and we can arrange some time for a chat, there’s a form at the bottom for exactly that.

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

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