Clean Eating’s Dirty Secrets

So I watched this BBC 3 Documentary on clean eating, and I think it highlighted some really important issues in the health and fitness industry. I just wanted to throw my hat in the ring and give some comments about what it covered, and some points that are really important in this industry.

Avoiding food groups is fucking stupid
As the programme showed, there’s so much misinformation out there it’s ridiculous. It’s sad that bloggers and influencers can get away with outright lying (as you’ll see if you watch it). It’s stupid the amount of times I’ve had to tell people that gluten free isn’t a healthy option. People have been brainwashed into thing it’s healthy. The only reason you should avoid gluten is if you have coeliac disease or an intolerance. A gluten free cake? It’s a fucking cake. With more stuff in it to make up for the gluten. You are eating cake. Maybe worse than normal cake with gluten in. Get over yourself. Same goes for that smoothie you think is healthy because it’s not solid. It’s got 40g of sugar in. Grow up.

Orthorexia is real it is a thing it needs to be talked about
I’m so glad they touched on this, because I had no idea what it was until I went through it myself. Until I was crying and getting anxiety over sandwiches and over eating out. I had disordered eating, I still struggle from time to time with orthorexic tendencies. It is so easy to get consumed by this industry and to think that clean is the only way. It is not. It is so fine to eat whatever you want in moderation. Mayonnaise won’t kill you and neither will carbs on a rest day. Repeat after me. Repeat it again and again and do not let it ruin your life like it almost did mine.

But that doesn’t mean that people who eat clean are wrong or disordered
I eat relatively clean because it is in line with my goals. I have found my body performs well eating clean, and that when I eat cheat meals (which is how I get in the ‘bad’ stuff) I feel a bit sluggish and not as energetic. But my version of eating clean is a lot to do with balance: I eat protein, carbs, fats, dairy, gluten, fibre, salt, sugar. I eat wholesome foods. I like cooking for myself so will never eat a ready meal because that’s how I’ve been brought up. But I will also eat a burger when I go out for a meal. This is clean eating for me: balance.

Bloggers are great but are not all qualified
The main thing to take from the programme was that, although someone has nice abs and 100k+ followers on Instagram it does not mean that they know what they are talking about or that what they do will work for you. I think they vilified bloggers a bit, though. They’re not all the same. I follow some lovely girls (Zanna Van Dijk and Hazel Wallace, for example, who were briefly shown in the doc) who are a) qualified PTs and b) promote balance. Not all bloggers should be tarred with the same brush, but a lot of them don’t help. If you want to eat a raw diet great, fine, go for it: but taking out food groups from your diet isn’t the smartest move. It doesn’t make you healthy. We all have a choice, but the healthiest way to live your life is to find what works for you. Ironically, the girls I know who have the nicest bodies are the ones who eat ice cream as well as chicken and rice.

Balance balance balance
Above all, I hope anyone who watched the programme realises that many diets are just fads. It baffles me that ‘clean eating’ is seen as eating raw, plant based, vegan diets. To me clean eating is protein, carbs and healthy fats, and balancing it out with chocolate, ice cream, meals out. Clean eating is 80/20. Balance it out or you will be so unhappy, believe me.

Please, please if you take anything from the programme, from this blog, and others like it, make sure it’s that finding balance is healthier than any diet you could ever go on.

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