I got in on the whole clean eating trend a while back but I’ve since realised that a lot of what it stands for is elitist, problematic and potentially very damaging. It is not a new invention to declare certain foods “clean” and therefore by default others “dirty”, religions and cultures have been doing this for time immemorial. But clean eating as a health trend is largely awash with bloggers, gurus and corporations keen to part people from their money with outlandish claims and fear mongering. White sugar is the work of the devil! Gluten will end the world! Clean eating seems largely concerned with promoting expensive alternatives to readily available and affordable foods.
When studying nutrition, the lesson I learned was that fads come and go but a main thread of consistency runs through most “diets” and that is that it is better to prepare food from scratch, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid eating too many processed foods plus if you want to lose weight then you need a calorie deficit and if you are looking to gain then the opposite is true. That’s not sexy though is it? We want the next miracle cure to end obesity or gain muscles like Arnie before you can say “Get to the chopper.” Why have a potato when a sweet potato is presented as somehow superior? Chuck out that vegetable oil. Coconut oil is the bomb now!
Clean eating memes extol the virtue of eating clean as morally superior mocking low fat alternatives as a “chemical shitstorm” but what does that really mean? Everything made of matter contains chemicals. To say chemicals are bad for us is a nonsense. In reality a lot of low fat foods contain exactly one extra chemical and it’s called H2o.
In a world where we are increasingly manipulated by the media, fame hungry Charlatans, Multi Level Marketers and Politicians we should remain sceptical of those claiming to have quick fixes for difficult problems. It’s really hard to see it when we are getting swept along by the excitement of a movement and all of us can be emotionally driven to fall for this stuff but I will try my hardest as a Personal Trainer to steer away from mindlessly promoting a movement like clean eating or any other type of “diet” which encourages disordered eating. Food is food. If it’s dirty wash the mud off and enjoy.