Monday, December 3, 2012
Why I am No Longer "Eating Clean"
I wrote a blog post about clean eating that I published around the time I was getting serious about this blog. I deleted this post today despite the fact that it went viral on Pinterest and was one of my most popular blog posts ever. Why?
First of all, as I am getting more advanced in my knowledge about nutrition, the more I dislike the term 'clean eating.' Ask ten people what it means and you will likely get ten different responses. To some people eating clean means only eating grass fed meats, organic fruits and vegetables, to others it simply means not to eat processed foods, and to others it is strict Paleo. To publish my version of clean eating is irresponsible, since I am not a nutritionist. I encourage you to research your food choices for yourself and develop a healthy diet plan that works best for you.
Secondly, I have a tendency towards obsessive eating. That was really hard to type. I always make sure I eat enough food for my activity level, but I admit that I can be overly restrictive with my food choices. Sometimes the rights and wrongs in my head are just that, in my head. I tend to have an all or nothing mentality towards food, which is something I am personally working on. The very last thing I want to do is perpetuate my personal struggles with food onto my readers, especially to those who are more inexperienced looking to learn about nutrition.
Lastly, in this deleted post, I categorized foods I eat into three groups; Good foods, OK in moderation, and foods to avoid. Your (and my) food choices should never be this black and white. What is OK in moderation for me, might be in the good category for someone else, and maybe the foods I avoid are OK for someone else in moderation (or all the time). To develop rules for eating only leads people down a black and white path of disordered eating. At the time, I thought that it was enough to add a disclaimer that I wasn't a nutritionist, that this was a simply a list of foods that I eat, and I wasn't making recommendations about what anyone else should eat. I realize now that by posting the list at all, I was telling people what I thought was good and bad, and that was wrong.
Then I would read blog posts where someone would claim that fruit was bad for you, or avocados were bad, or potatoes were bad. While I think all the above statements are wholly and completely false, I realized that by publishing my own (different) list of good and bad, I was essentially doing the same thing. Who am I to say what is good or bad? I don't want anyone to make any decisions about what to put in their bodies based on what I put in mine.
I realized the errors of my ways and deleted the post. I strongly encourage anyone with questions about nutrition to talk to their doctors or nutritionists and not rely on information found on the internet. There is a lot of well-meaning, but bad information out there. There are also a lot of women with eating disorders and body image issues publishing blogs under the guise of health and fitness. If we all learn to think critically about the things we read online, we can learn to distinguish what is the good information and strip away the bad.
So, I am no longer 'eating clean.' I am eating whole unprocessed foods that come from nature as much as possible. I am fueling my body with nutrient dense foods for optimal performance in exercise and (more importantly) in life. I am exercising most days of the week and not restricting any certain foods, food groups or macro-nutrients. Most of all, I am enjoying food. I am eating the same as I always have, but I am not calling it 'clean eating' anymore. I don't have to put a label on my food choices.
My hubby said it best:
I said, "Think outside the box."
Hubby said, "What box? The fact that you think there is a box is what is confining you, there is no box. Do whatever you want."
I apologize my dear readers, for my mistake early in my blogging career. I hope you will continue to grow, learn, and evolve with me as we each navigate our own individual healthy lifestyles.
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photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc