The Trend Is Turning: The “Clean Eating” Myths That Have Been Researched

Popular topic today: CLEAN EATING!! Nutrition is such a vital aspect of our well-being, so it’s no surprise that it has become such a focus in recent years. The internet has given us all the power to have more control of the food we eat and how it’s sourced than ever before. No longer do we just have to accept what’s on the back of a packet as being good for us – we can go and check, verify, and even test the claims that people make. But just like most popular subjects on the internet, there is SO MUCH information and it can be so easy to have no clue what is healthy and what is not.  

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Being healthy has always been important but it seems to be at a new level these days. How to be my healthiest self, constantly hearing of new healthy things and needing to try it, “fueling” our bodies, pinning hundreds of healthy recipes that we someday might try, this popular interest in healthy eating developed the over used term, “clean eating”. When this term was first thrown around it was all you would see on the popular blogs, all about living out a life with “clean eating”. It dominated the blogosphere which meant in time, it spilled into traditional media as well. Anyone who cared about their nutrition wanted to ensure that they were doing it in a “clean” way; they wanted to know what foods to shun, and what foods they should introduce into their diets. Honestly, as annoying as the phrase “clean eating” can be, because it is overused so much, what a great annoying phrase it is! Just like everything new, sparkly, and exciting, it was a bit over the top but really, what is wrong with people wanting to nourish their bodies with clean food and having a genuine interest in what they are putting into their bodies? The negative perceptions on clean eating in my opinion is not on actually eating clean, its on the annoying term CLEAN EATING. 

The tide is turning. There has been a backlash against clean eating for awhile now, to the point that some of its most famous proponents refuse to use the term. The reasons for concern are primarily psychological rather than in terms of nutrition (though there are dangers in this sphere, also). The idea that some food is inherently bad – i.e. dirty – is not a healthy way to think about food and not how we want our kiddos thinking of it either. Are we gross or bad for eating a cupcake? NO! Eat the darn cupcake, just do not eat 10 of them a day 🙂 

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Does “Clean Eating” work, or is it bad for you?

It’s not bad for you, but it can be if you take it too far. The idea of everything in moderation is one that applies strictly to clean eating, though people tend to forget that. It is not an all or nothing concept. Many people follow a “clean eating” lifestyle but remember that everyone is human and even those perfect eaters still indulge, just in moderation. 

When someone switches to a “clean” diet, they tend to have to throw out a lot of processed, high-sugar, bad-fat type food. Of course they feel better and lose weight when they do that! Anyone who reduces their intake of highly calorific food and replaces it with something more nutritious is going to feel the better. The benefits of removing processed food from your diet is undeniable. 

Why Change If It’s Not Broken?

This is a natural thing to wonder if you have been adhering to the “clean eating” rules for awhile now. The main problem with diving in 100% with the clean eating process is that it’s expensive; especially when you factor in all those “superfoods” we’re meant to want to eat or drink. It’s also time-consuming, which can lead to occasional fall-off-the-wagon moments when you’re rushed and it’s inconvenient to prepare a meal from scratch. This cycle isn’t eating in moderation which – remember – is the key.

What’s Wrong With Superfoods?

The problem with superfoods (as well as supplements and dietary additions) is that they don’t tend to be that well tested. Without scientific evidence, you can spend a lot of money for a benefit you’re never going to get.

Of course, some superfood, supplements, and dietary additions are indeed everything that they claim to be. The nutritional content of these foods can be checked and verified, or can be a solution to a genuine problem. So not all of these things are bad – in fact, some of them satisfy a genuine need, and shouldn’t be eliminated from your diet.

So Which Are Okay?

Again, it doesn’t have to be an all in, 100%, only taking in clean foods and eliminating everything else. This is not realistic and leads to frustration. If you want to supplement a healthy diet, then there are some foods and additions that can genuinely benefit your diet.

  • We know that chia seeds are high in protein, so they’re a fantastic source if you need a natural energy boost. 
  • Dietary additions such as sulfur crystals and magnesium flakes are also satisfying a need; the issues that industrial farming has brought to the nutrient quantity of our fruit and vegetables. This is a known fact, so using these items to try and replace what has been lost over the years is a great idea. I will say I have not personally tried this one but I had to share the research as it is very interesting. 
  • There’s a pretty great chart here which brings together all of the scientific evidence for the various superfoods. Garlic, olive oil, and omega 3 supplements all score well; superfood staples such as acai berries or alfalfa, meanwhile, are struggling. What?!? I thought acai bowls were an awesome thing, that’s what pinterest and instagram post have shown 😉 

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What Should Proper Nutrition Look Like, Then?

So how in the world do we know what is right and what is wrong? The opinions and research are overwhelming and often over the top. If adhering to the core principles of the “clean eating” movement isn’t the best idea and you don’t need to spend a fortune on unnecessary superfoods and supplements… what do you do?

The truth is that nutrition is a complicated science, which means there is no “one diet fits all” available. Instead, you have to listen to your body, especially if you’re trying to solve a health condition. You could try an elimination diet , which can help you identify the foods that you have an issue with. I was having stomach issues years ago and I used the elimination diet to find out that I have a sensitivity to lactose. 

If you just want to eat well for general health, then many of the principles of “clean eating” are good to follow – there’s just no need to call it clean eating, that might just annoy someone 😉 for the love!  Instead, think of it as proper nutrition and keep it simple! 

  • Plenty of vegetables
  • Not so many fruits, as fruits are notoriously high in sugar.
  • Opt for low-fructose fruits such as blackberries and blueberries if you do want to eat fruit.
  • Grains and nuts should be incorporated into your diet.
  • Avoid highly processed food on a regular basis – it’s fine for an occasional treat, but not for a nightly staple.

And there you have it. Clean eating has, to an extent, been busted. The superfoods that cruised on the back of the movement have definitely – with a few exceptions that satisfy other “need” criteria – been busted. You don’t need to spend a fortune on nutrition to feel and look good; you just have to practice moderation, and never let yourself be convinced that anything is inherently “dirty”. Sometimes we need to step back and just do what works best for YOU and ignore all the newest trends. Do your best, stay realistic, indulge in moderation, and don’t be too hard on yourself! 

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you have a great first day of summer 🙂

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