Friday, 15 July 2016

'Clean' Eating




Before I dive into the post, a quick disclaimer. In no way am I saying that clean eating, veganism etc is wrong. Just because I don't necessarily agree, doesn't mean I judge those or not like those who are. It works for some people, but not for others. 

The concept of 'clean' eating is all over the internet. I spend a large amount of my time on social media, and especially being exposed to the blogging community, the phrase, is thrown around a lot, as well as 'What I eat in a day' posts and recipe ideas for a healthier, well life life.

II've had issues with my body image a few months ago, and this was at a time when I was staying at my university house by myself and writing my dissertation. I was stressed out to the max, and after a somewhat indulgent Easter, I thought the only way I would feel better was to eat healthier. I cut most carbs from my diet, eating salads for lunch, and vegetable curries for dinner. I was watching workout videos, healthy eating videos and looking on the #cleaneating #healthyeating instagram hashtag. I thought it was going to make me feel and look amazing, but in fact, it just did the opposite. About  two weeks later, I was tired and stressed, so I decided to F*** it basically and started eating like I usually did, but with adding extra vegetables in and cutting down on the chocolate.

I then watched Grace Victory's documentary 'Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets' on BB3 yesterday. I absolutely urge you all to watch it as it was eye opening. Her interviews with a trained government approved dietitian showed that these diets that are promoted so often aren't actually healthy or good for you. Interestingly too, none of the bloggers/youtubers are trained dietitians and have no formal training into what is right and wrong. Grace actually bought a license to be a nutritionist for £30 online, which took about 20 hours of 'work'. That is so scary, that it can be done so easily by anyone. The documentary also bought up the amount of influence that bloggers and youtubers have on people. I think this too is quite a scary thought.

I don't know where I stand on the whole clean eating thing. I know that it is definitely not for me. I know what works with my body, and that's making a few small changes and going to the gym. I do this because I want to, and that's the main thing. Clean eating may work for some people, but is it really that healthy?

But I think there needs to be a lot more information about it, exposing the good and bad, as well as information into ensuring that all essential nutrition is being obtained and that this information is regulated. The stories of people who have seen and followed these clean eating blogs who have had eating disorders is terrifying, as well as a clinic in London saying that they have many clean eating bloggers actually attending the clinic for body image or eating problems. Even though I did not experience it on the extreme at all, it's so easy to be swept up into the idea and lifestyle, so much so that it can and has taken over the lives of many. Is this healthy?

I don't know, of course I'm not trained to say. But as a 21 year old woman, exposed to all of these clean eating advocates, I'm sorry, but I can't do it. Hand me the white bread and chocolate.

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