Ok, so what is all this about? The term 'Clean Eating' is thrown around so much these days. Plus, it's not just 'thrown around', but it's given a really bad name. So much so, that celebrity food bloggers such as Deliciously Ella has actually wiped the term from all of her blog posts!
What does it actually mean though? Is it really as bad as it's made out to be? Is it really causing all of these eating disorders and health problems?
From what I have read and am aware of, it can actually have quite a wide meaning - which is quite worrying. To some people it can mean cutting out whole food groups such as carbs (the main culprit), it can be eating a raw food diet, it can mean cutting out fat and sugar and also everything in between.
So what does it mean to me though?
I don't hate the term, but I do think it is very much overused. To me, I feel like I eat a 'clean' diet around 80% of the time. I try not to eat anything that has been overly processed or anything that my body will find hard to digest. So, for example, I don't like to eat biscuits and snacks that are laden with sugar, E numbers, emulsifiers, trans fats etc. The type that come out of a plastic packet from the super market. If I fancy cookies, I can quickly bake a batch. If I don't have the time or inclination, I will just snack on something else.
I also try and avoid dairy as it doesn't suit my body and I know I find it hard to digest. I never realised this before, but when I stopped eating anything that had a lot of dairy in, I found my body struggled to digest it when I did. I now avoid anything overly creamy like milk, cream, yoghurts etc as I just start to feel a bit queasy when I have them. Similarly with meat, it just doesn't suit my body. If I eat it, it feels super heavy in my tummy and kills my energy - so I don't have it.
I think if you decide to eat 'clean', it is a very personalised decision. What is clean to me might not be clean to you. I personally don't recommend cutting out whole food groups unless you are really sure that you are intolerant to them. You also need to be aware that if you are cutting whole food groups out of your diet, there will be some nutrients that you're missing out on, therefore they will need replacing. For me, I get a lot of protein from vegetables, pulses and seeds and I also take a B12 supplement. I eat foods fortified with calcium and try and ensure that my diet includes everything it needs.
So, if you have decided to jump on the 'clean eating' bandwagon, make sure it suits your body. It's all very well following these food bloggers who define clean eating on their terms, but make sure that it suits your body and not theirs. If you're not feeling well on any of these diets, then don't continue. I need carbs in my diet. That doesn't mean I sit chomping down packets of biscuits, but I definitely feel a bit faint and not myself when I don't have them. For me, eating carbs are foods like potatoes, brown rice, gluten free pasta (mainly because I prefer the taste and lightness of it than the whole gluten thing), sourdough bread etc. Anything that is minimally processed or as close to it's natural state as possible.
You make your own mind up though. Work with your own body, your own needs and don't forget about balance too! I hope this was some 'food for thought' ha ha!
Thanks so much for reading,