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.

Keep Running,


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photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc


  1. This is a wonderful post! I agree and support you in everything that youve said!!! Great choices that you're making for yourself! :0) spa<3

  2. Amen. I don't care for labels very much either for just the reason you said... it means something different to everyone.

  3. Nah, labels are no is too short....I like to be healthy but treat myself too!

  4. this is excellent. i, too have an all or nothing mentality. i drive myself crazy thinking -- oh god was that too many carbs? too much fat? too little? i'm working on fixing this, and i've come a long way -- so i'm just eating the food. good food. food that fuels me for my work outs. food that makes me feel good. thank you for this =)

  5. well said. I admire this post very much! Good for you.

  6. Oh how I wish other bloggers would follow your example. Wonderful post. I'm an everything in moderation type of person and I find it a little alarming when I see bloggers vilifying types of foods.

  7. thank you for your honesty. what an amazing, healthy, and supportive post.

  8. I used to be the same way girl! I used to think all these things were so bad, then I learned more and I grew. I think it's all part of the process. It's amazing to look back and realize how far we have come though!

  9. Perfect! I couldn't agree more. All our bodies are different, let's celebrate that and eat our version of healthy and nutritious!

  10. Wonderful post! It's hard to take ownership of our own shortcomings, but major props for being honest and real about what does and doesn't work for you!

  11. I am in the same place, but you articulate it so much better than I!

  12. Very honest post....and very smart hubby!! My husband and I were just talking nutrition earlier today and about how there is SO much conflicting information available online and from other people. If you felt the need to delete your post, that was what you needed to do, however, I think most people KNOW to weigh info for themselves and decide what is right for them.I enjoy reading your blog, as well as some other health, fitness, and running blogs, because I find them very motivational and I get some great ideas for myself!

  13. I used to have stronger views on clean eating until I met someone at a party with major digestive issues, almost to the point where white bread was the only thing she could eat consistently. Made me think.

    I like the gray, in all things, at this point. Personally, I find the idea of clean eating just wrong. Life is dirty. Being obsessive probably won't improve health, but will increase stress.

  14. Such a great post! As a person that is overcoming eating issues it's great to have honest and motivational blogs to read and learn from. =)

  15. Excellent post - I couldn't agree more. Love your husband's comment about thinking outside the box - we don't need no stinking boxes.

  16. Great post! Trying to overcome eating issues myself- you say it best here!

  17. Love this post! So honest, and so true! I have a bad habit of judging others' "clean" eating.. but right - who's to say my way is best? :)

  18. Some of this could have come from my own mouth. Bravo!

  19. Yes! I love it, thank you for posting.

  20. Ahhh, I like this. I am a very black and white person who gets spasms of the rainbow at times. Hard to explain. I was raised black and white and if I don't do things perfectly then I tend to just throw in the towel and go wild crazy. So I will be really good, exercise, and lose weight but one bad weekend gives me such guilt I give up. I just want to avoid so much processed food and eat more of what comes from God's creation. ;)



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