Is “Eating Clean” a New Fad Diet?
Lets face it, fad diets are here to stay. Strange thing to say since the entire premise of a fad is that it comes and then goes. However fad diets themselves will always be around, once one is on top and falls, there is another coming quickly to take its place. As a culture we encourage this, when we emphasize “ideal” body types, all the while living in an an environment where we have almost unlimited access to food that is very likely to cause weight gain. Additionally, we have almost no connection to the food we eat, and are at the mercy of companies who fill food full of ingredients that we don’t know (This is why the idea of Aquaponics and urban farming have become so desirable for my husband and I). With so many of us overweight and wanting to change, fad diets (who usually promise quick results) seem like a beacon of hope that also promise instant gratification.
What is Clean Eating
What clean eating actually is can depend on the source. Generally, descriptions of clean eating emphasize fruits and vegetables over processed and ingredient laden foods. This has created a movement that makes some sense in relation to what is coming out regarding the safety of sugar and commercial food additives.
And boy does it ever look fantastic on Pinterest and Instagram.
|Pretty Food is Pretty|
However clean eating has recently caused some controversy with comparisons to orthorexia, and because it seems to be inherently judgemental that there is a “right” and “wrong” way to eat.
My Approach to Clean Eating and Some Tips
For most of us, eating clean can be so much more than a fad diet. I would say that the majority of my adult life I ate maybe 10% good, unprocessed food. Aside from that I very much allowed myself to go on a weight and health roller coaster with junk food, takeout and high sugar/fat/salt snacks.
I felt depressed, had symptoms of chronic illness and overall just felt like garbage, After having my second baby in 2014 I decided to give clean eating a try and noticed drastic improvements in my weight, energy levels, and mental happiness. Since I fell off the wagon with eating healthy, I have felt the difference. This is why I am hopping back onto the clean eating train again. Instead of viewing this as a diet, I prefer to approach it as a lifestyle change that will lead to better overall health and just happens to have the side effect of helping me manage my weight. Like anything, it’s important to remember that moderation is key.
I consider myself to be eating clean when:
- I am aware of the ingredients in my food
- I am eating foods with less processed ingredients
- I am eating foods with little need for or opportunities to contain additives
To achieve this I have a couple of tricks.
- Prepare food at home when ever possible. If you are worried about running out of time and caving for pizza, make sure to meal prep or have healthy easy freezer meals on hand.
- Eat foods with color. Typically, beige foods include fries and bread products made with refines white flours. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everything, but making sure you add color in the form of natural fruits and vegetables can help make food more interesting as well.
- Try to buy food which doesn’t produce much (if any) garbage. Meat trays and vegetable bags are obviously an exception (although for environmental reasons I am trying to find an alternative to produce bags as well!)
It’s About Healthy Choices
For myself whether it’s called “clean eating” (clearly these are currently popular buzz words) or something else, the principles are to make healthier choices that can help attain your goals, whether it be weight loss or a general desire to limit your exposure to food additives that may be hurting your health.
What does clean eating mean to you?
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