Ever uttered this sentence to yourself: “If I could just clean up my diet and get back on track, I’d be as fit as I want to be and accomplish all my goals.”
I bet you have. I have too. If you’re me, it was likely quickly followed by trying to eat everything from whole foods, stressing over what was on nutrition labels and of course, hating myself if I chose to eat anything that wasn’t “clean.”
Hey, this isn’t everyone. There’s a few people I’m sure who went on this clean eating train and then never got off. In fact, I’ve heard they went their entire lives without ever eating another piece of cake, ingesting a single gram of sugar and are completely sober.
Does that sound kind of laughable?
If it doesn’t, it should at least sound boring, impossible or stressful. After all, what birthday party didn’t serve kale with baked sweet potatoes and sparkling water right?
The thing about eating “clean” is that it borders on illogical when it comes to what that means as well as the way that it undeniably creates a bad relationship with food. What does eating clean mean? What’s a clean food? If I wash a donut under the sink, that’s clean right? See how ridiculous that sounds?
Clean food enthusiasts would more likely say whole foods are these clean foods. Foods that are grown from the earth and are nutrient dense. Clean foods should help us lose weight, feel strong and move better.
What about those other foods? Again the zealots would say they are dirty foods. Think for a second, what does the word dirty imply?
It makes us dirty. We don’t want to be dirty. If we eat dirty foods, we become dirty. What do dirty people look like? It’s easy to tell, you can see the dirt on them as they walk around.
From a food perspective, it instantly creates this relationship that if we eat so called dirty foods, we’ll have the opposite effects of clean foods. We’ll gain weight, we will lose strength and we will feel and look better. What a load of crap.
Merely thinking that changes the way we as a society look at those dirty foods. It’s how to develop an emotional attachment to certain foods. It’s how we shame eat Oreo’s sitting on the couch or sneak treats when a family member goes into the other room. It’s emotionally damaging and needs to stop.
The point I’m trying to get across is that eating clean really isn’t a sustainable diet all the time. By sustainable, I mean one that you’re doing for weeks, months or years at a time UNLESS you have some sort of medical condition that forces you to.
This isn’t to say that we should go the other direction and eat processed foods at every meal. EATING WHOLE FOODS IS STILL SUPER IMPORTANT. But the minute you’re doing so as an exclusionary rule and attaching morals to certain types of food, you’re missing enjoyment, love and solidarity that ALL FOOD can bring.
Food isn’t black and white. Throw out the dogma, and end your negative relationship with food.
A former journalist and sports blogger, I've turned my writing prowess and love of fitness and nutrition into a personal blog where you can find anything you are looking for on the world of health, nutrition and fitness.