clean eating | The problem with the term - Healthtps

clean eating | The problem with the term

When I was about 10, I was at a party, my friends and I sitting cross-legged on the living room carpet watching the birthday girl’s mom cut the cake. As she passed out slices, she announced to us all, “None for Julie, because she’s too fat.” It was my first public shaming (and far from my last). I sat awkwardly as my friends ate their cake in silence, glancing over at me with confused pity as I tried hard not to cry.

clean eating | The problem with the term 
I was the only member of my healthy, active, mostly junk-food-free family who was visibly heavy. Over the course of my life, I’ve spent more physical and emotional energy attempting to wrangle my body down to a socially acceptable size than on anything else. Basic calorie counts became as deeply ingrained as basic math. Moving from diet to diet over decades, I was constantly on the lookout for social situations and the inevitable food they came with, approaching life from a standpoint of risk management and damage mitigation: How would I get through the holidays/a movie/the weekend without eating more than I should? Would it be weird to bring this frozen Jenny Craig entree to my boyfriend’s house for Sunday dinner? Who am I letting down by eating this cookie? It’s hard not to buy into the idea that your body is a physical manifestation of poor judgement and lack of self control. But I’ll tell you this: Guilt is a terrible motivator.
And yet, one healthy-eating buzzword that continues to endure is “clean”– with its virtuous connotations, it certainly plays into all the usual guilt traps we have around eating. And even though diet culture has evolved since my first trips to Weight Watchers in the eighties – calorie counting is no longer the primary activity, and the focus has ostensibly shifted toward being healthy and strong – the guilt and shame associated with food have not dissipated. For as long as people have had the freedom to choose what they eat, food has been classified as good or bad: Fresh fruit and vegetables are righteous, while desserts, snacks and sweets are sinful, guilty pleasures. Although specific diet programs have come and gone, and we fancy ourselves progressive in the ever-broadening realm of wellness, guilt remains widely accepted as a normal reaction to food: We say we’re “being bad” for eating a cookie, and then there’s “cheating” – how so many of us commonly refer to straying from an intentional diet plan.

So what exactly is clean eating? It’s an amorphous term applied to a wide swath of dietary beliefs, popularized by increasingly influential social-media personalities, that has no clearly defined set of rules. Clean is an abstraction so broad and so culturally intertwined with ideas of purity and goodness, it makes an easy selling point whether you’re promoting keto, paleo or an Instant Pot. Who wouldn’t want to be absolved of all the guilt associated with food?

Some “clean” cookbooks include meat, but naturally, the vegetarian and vegan ones don’t. Some who tout “clean” eschew wheat, gluten or all grains, pulses, dairy and sugar. Interestingly, sugar appears in different forms. Clean Eating magazine’s list of approved sweeteners includes cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, date sugar, coconut sugar and xylitol. There are programs based on raw foods, and others that consist of strictly alkaline ingredients. Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest book, The Clean Plate, which promises to help readers cleanse, detox and “hit the reset button” – all questionable concepts commonly associated with “clean” – contains no red meat, gluten, processed foods, sugar, caffeine, dairy, nightshades, peanuts or soy.
The overarching idea – a well-intentioned one, rooted in enough practical, back-to-basics common sense to make it easy to buy into – is to avoid heavily processed foods. But most cookbooks, clean or not, generally call for whole foods anyway. “I don’t like the term clean eating; I don’t like what it’s associated with, and that it’s so ambiguous,” says Raj Bhardwaj, a family physician in Calgary and CBC Radio columnist who discusses medical issues each week. “The idea of clean eating gets lumped in with all these completely pseudo-scientific concepts that have zero scientific evidence.”

Although at just the once weight-loss programs were marketed specifically to those desirous to drop pounds, dietary regimes these days claim to treat just about any condition, from canal distress to skin condition to wakefulness. the quantity of Canadians World Health Organization devote themselves to specific dietary practices is increasing – and in step with a recent study from Dalhousie University in Halifax, thirty-two percent people square measure committed to some type of structured diet regime. “Who could be a candidate for mistreatment this program? everybody World Health Organization lives a contemporary life, chow a contemporary diet, and inhabits the trendy world,” writes big apple heart specialist Alejandro Junger in promotional materials for his book Clean: The Revolutionary Program to revive the Body’s aptitude to Heal Itself.

In 2017, a story in the Telegraph proclaimed “clean” had reached its inevitable peak. Yet, the word continued to pick up steam, used by food evangelists promising cure-alls in exchange for devoted dietary stringency. Search for “clean” on Amazon and there are more than 8,000 results in the cookbook category. Use of the hashtag #cleaneating has increased by 60 per cent in the past two years and has been used more than 43 million times on Instagram (with #eatclean and other similar tags in the same ballpark), spurred by attractive celebrities and influencers such as Paltrow, with charisma, large followings and personal experiences that trump professional expertise.

Eating is at the very core of our being; it’s a very personal thing, reflective of our tastes and feelings, our environments, cultures and pasts. We use food to celebrate, socialize and comfort. Our eating habits are learned, and to encourage a broad and divisive food culture that turns the act into a moral issue is damaging. Characterizing some people as wholesome, strong and righteous based on what they eat invites discrimination toward others who are in turn perceived as weak, lazy or morally corrupt. And when physical appearance is taken as a tacit indicator of one’s overall health or eating habits, a whole subset of our community is stigmatized.
There is nothing virtuous – nor anything unscrupulous – about a bowl of quinoa or a chocolate cupcake. If eating or not eating certain things works for your body or belief system, eat them or don’t eat them. To understand and accept that all bodies operate in different ways, with wildly varying tastes, appetites, energy and satiety levels – and that goodness can’t be bought – is the only way we can all have our cake and eat it, too.
clean eating | The problem with the term clean eating | The problem with the term Reviewed by ‪Healthtps‬‏ on April 20, 2019 Rating: 5
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