It’s right up there with gluten-free, Keto, and superfoods, and just like all of these, this whole clean eating movement has done far more harm than good.
And before I get on my soapbox, let me just say that I’m not against the consumption of healthful, nutrient-dense, and even organic foods; not in the least.
What I’m against is the obsession with eating so, to the extent that it interferes with your life and causes you stress.
For example, I have a client who has become so obsessed with clean eating, that’s she’s stopped attending social events with friends for fear that she’s not in control of the food being served.
Or there’s the man I met with recently who was made to believe that the only way he could achieve “health” was by following a clean eating regimen. So, now if he eats anything other than a salad, he feels guilty and ends up bingeing for feeling like a failure.
Can you see the problem?
So, what is clean eating?
Great question, because there’s no real definition.
Clean eating, while I do believe at its roots DID have good intentions, is basically just a sneaky way to repackage diets and label foods as being either “good” or “bad;” once again, reinforcing the idea that your food choices determine your worth.
Initially, clean eating sprouted from a desire to eat in a manner that emphasized more whole, nutritious foods and again, this isn’t a bad thing. However, the diet industry got its hands in it, but this time selling it as a “lifestyle;” and one with no shortage of strict guidelines and requirements.
One that I would even say has an air or superiority and privilege, passively aggressively sending the message to those who either choose not to eat clean or simply can’t afford it, that they don’t care as much about their health.
Eating clean can cause more harm than good
Taken to the extreme, restrictive practices, such as those laid out in the clean eating lifestyle, can lead to disordered eating patterns and orthorexia, which is the obsession of eating clean or healthy. And while still not an official diagnosis, orthorexia can be all consuming, posing major negative impacts on a person’s mental and physical health and social life.
For others, the pressure to eat clean can lead to anxious thoughts about food, excessive preoccupation around eating, stress, feelings of shame, and compensatory behaviors, all of which result from the restrictive nature of clean eating.
And I don’t know about y’all, but I think people are going to be a hell of a lot healthier when they’re not stressing and obsessing over every bite of food, and instead, understand that all foods can be a part of a healthful life.
Just because it works for you, doesn’t mean it works for everyone
If you eat clean, cool, I respect anyone’s desire to eat in whatever way they choose. But what isn’t cool is this phrase/term/lifestyle/diet, whatever you want to call it, being forced upon others.
While it may work great for some, for others it can trigger binges and feelings of guilt or shame when “clean foods” aren’t adhered to. And for many others, such as myself, we simply don’t believe in or support the belief that we need to eat clean in order to be healthy, so please let us be; it does not mean we don’t care about our health.
Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you. Drop a line in the comment section or shoot me an email.