Hey guys, how’s everyone doing? You can really tell the summer is coming to a close and schools have begun again. Hello annoyingly long commute.
Anyway, I wanted to rant talk about this business of ‘clean eating’ today in line with WIAW (check out Jenn’s blog).
I read a great article the other day that really made me think. Honestly, go and read it.
It made me wonder. What is ‘clean eating’? You read so often in so many blogs, magazines, adverts etc. that clean eating is the done thing. The healthy thing. The right way forward.
No processed food. Lots of vegetables. No refined sugar. No white bread. No caffeine. Something like that, right?
The article basically argues that clean eating doesn’t exist. It raises some very interesting points, such as for every diet/way of eating (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, paleo, low carb, etc.) there is always a type of food or selection of different foods that are deemed unhealthy or toxic (unless you’re a veggie for animal welfare reasons I guess**). Basically, all food can be seen as unhealthy from one perspective or another.
So, by rights, this meal could be described as ‘not healthy’.
Stir fry with river cobbler fish thrown in, tons of veg, courgette noodles (or coodles as we fondly call them in our house) and a large dollop of cream cheese to create a lovely creamy sauce. [With a corn on the cob because they’re so damn juicy right now.]
Yep. Processed Philadelphia low-fat cream cheese. Not the full fat version…probably produced in a factory god knows where adding god knows what making it taste like pure heaven.
I have also been eating loads of turkey and pork sausages.
And they don’t always contain stellar ingredients. Check out the ingredients list on your sausages (pork, chicken or turkey). Doesn’t look great doesn’t it? Do I even know what half of those things are??
But they taste pretty good. I mean, they taste like sausages. If you want to remove all that other stuff out then just buy a damn pork chop or turkey breast. But let’s be honest, you’re not eating sausages for breakfast, lunch and dinner are you? Every day? Then seriously: stop worrying.
I am a strong believer that no food is bad for you. No food is going to cause you nutritional harm. Obviously if not eaten in excess. Let’s be very clear here: any food eaten in excess will cause you issues. Yep, that includes my beloved apples.
Now, you know I like my cake. I eat cake every week. I even ate this bad boy then my husband made and he didn’t even make his own icing.
He used SHOP-BOUGHT icing. Icing from a tub. OK it didn’t taste as good as normal icing but it was pretty good. He went for the quick and easy. Quick and dirty.
My point is I’m tired of hearing about clean eating all the time. I understand that for some people that’s their life and that’s their prerogative. I don’t mean to offend anyone so I’m sorry if this is how it’s come across! But it really annoys me the tone that some of these blogs or articles etc. can come across. The ‘holier than thou’ tone. I agree that eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and whole foods is a great approach, but it’s not the only approach and it’s not mutually exclusive with eating foods that, let’s be perfectly honest here, taste amazing but have been in some way been processed.
Those tasty dirty foods. Ice cream. Chocolate. Cake. Sweets. BBQ sauce. Steak. White bread!! Stuff that we can turn to when life just sucks a little bit or we just fancy eating.
Let’s not feel bad about not eating clean! Let’s enjoy the balance of life. Don’t banish those cupcakes (*cough* cupcakes with ACTUAL sugar in them and actual WHITE flour). Enjoy your food, whatever it is your eating.
*Jumps off her soap box* Have a great Wednesday!
**I know that some people can’t eat some types of food for medical reasons as well. My aim is not to offend anyone!
Clean eating: what’s your opinion?
Do you avoid any foods? Why?
What’s your tasty dirty food preference?
29 Replies to “Tasty dirty food”
Thanks for the article and for writing this, I see where you’re coming from here and agree with your point of view. I don’t claim to eat ‘clean’ but I do try and limit sugary and processed foods simply because they don’t fill me up as much as other things (fruit, veg, wholegrain carbs, protein, fats) – and if I eat too much sugar then I do tend to want more and more. I’m also not too keen on some of the negative side effects I experience when I eat too much sugar (and diabetes, which is in my family, scares the heck outta me) and I get bloated if I eat too much processed stuff. But I certainly wouldn’t ban things because they are not ‘clean’ – most of our fruit, veg and meat is horribly contaminated with chemicals anyway (unless you buy organic, which I can’t afford to!)! If someone wants to live and eat with such restrictions then fair enough, it works very well for a lot of people but in the long run I’m not sure how sustainable it is. Me, I definitely still eat cake and crisps, but I balance these with home-cooked meals made from fresh ingredients and plenty of exercise, and that works for me 🙂
I agree that sugar and sugary processed foods don’t fill me up at all. In fact they just leave me wanting more. But I don’t think they should be disregarded or demonised in anyway. I believe they still have a place in a balanced diet.
And yes to the chemicals in vegetables etc….organic food is brilliant, but so expensive it’s such a shame.
Life is certainly all about balance. I would call my diet clean, plant based whole foods, I don’t really eat ‘processed’ or ‘refined’ foods as I don’t really have any craving for them and I feel crap when I do eat them. My treat foods would be things like clif bars, raw desserts or raw chocolate which are on the more processed side but still healthier than most of the stuff out there I suppose, I like to treat myself to them now and again. I don’t eat animal products for animal welfare and health reasons, I also don’t eat wheat, refined sugar or white processed foods as they make me feel shit.
I completely respect the way you eat. I think if things make you feel rubbish then it’s clearly the most sensible thing to do to avoid them. As long as you enjoy the food you eat then I think it’s fine. Not that you need my acceptance hehe 😉
Amen, Sister!!! You nailed this post to the T. I like the way you think. I will eat what I want. If it’s good, why on the world would I pass it up??!!
Thanks, Jessie. Exactly, as long as you like what you’re eating and you’re healthy then keep on enjoying it!
I certainly agree with everything you said here. Actually I was expecting your post to actually include DIRT. Like, perhaps you dropped your cake in the grass or something? I don’t know. Lol. It’s way too early in the morning 😉
I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with eating unpronounceable ingredients every once in awhile, and I also don’t think there is anything wrong with not wanting to eat those foods either. Whatever makes us happy and fulfilled!
Hahaha…there’s a thought. If my cake felt in dirt would I still eat it….?
I agree – eat whatever you like! I just disagree with some the way this can come across sometimes. That superiority of choosing certain foods over others. Especially when clean eating can really mean anything at all!
Exactly! Clean eating should be just eating what’s best for you, whether that is desserts or no desserts, meat or no meat. It’s all so subjective!
A big THANK YOU for saying this! I feel like most of the blogs I read definitely take a ‘holier than thou’ tone, or worse, start apologizing when they eat a slice of cake. I love you and your blog because you’re so normal…well except being stupidly fast at running! 😉
Don’t get me started on the apologising for eating certain foods. Or the justification of eating it. I just get so bored of hearing the same things sometimes….I just want people to relax a little bit and not worry so much. Life is about enjoyment. And 3 ingredient ‘mug cakes’ ARE NOT proper desserts.
Cupcakes should totally be part of a balanced diet!
Cupcake in one hand and an apple in the other – there’s my balance 😉
Checking out the article now. Buuuut we pretty much have the same taste buds.
Hehe yes we do!
I don’t really get why people get offended by the term clean eating? Maybe it’s because I don’t read certain blogs where people do push it down peoples throats, but for me it’s just a simple term to explain a certain way of eating rather than have to specifically explain what you do or don’t eat. Maybe I’ve missed your point? For me it’s important to eat as ‘cleanly’ as possible as it really does affect the way I feel, and I do beleive that allowing processed foods in my diet often leads to the urge to binge. Not to say that I eat ‘clean’ all the time- far from it, but I do think that a lot of people would get something positive out of eating clean most of the time- and of course eating cleanly is defined however you want it to be! For me it’s just a more specific way of explaining that I eat healthy!
I love your blog and respect the way you choose to eat – for example, you eat a lot of paleo inspired meals. I think that’s brilliant as it works for you. That doesn’t bug me at all! What does bug me is that some blogs and some articles can be a little narrowminded and dogmatic in their approach. There’s a superiority that irks me. Like there’s no other way to eat and god forbid they choose to have a real pudding for once.
Clean eating, like you said, can be whatever you want it to be. There’s so many definitions of it. My point was only that I don’t want to class food as unclean or clean. I just want to eat food with the pure goal of being healthy and enjoying it.
Firstly, those marvelous creations are the biggest hype here right now in Australia. EVERYONE is obsessed by them! Clean Eating is such an individualistic thing and anything can be clean or dirty, as you mentioned above. At the end of the day, as long as your satisfied, nourished, and eating a wide range of foods whether it be pop tarts or raw carrots, thats what is most important!
Exactly! Thanks for your comment – I totally agree. Eat to be healthy and to enjoy life!
I completely agree. I try to make sure most foods I consume are “clean”, but have to be honest when I say that Starbuck’s syrups, artificial sweeteners, and partially-hydrogenated oils sometimes make it into my food/drink on a a weekly basis. I agree that these foods are completely okay in moderation and allow me to feel like I’m not depriving myself of my favorite foods. I enjoyed this post! Thank you! 🙂
I think you have a great approach! I don’t think you should really worry about the syrups and things like that as long as it’s not making you feel rubbish. You make a good point about not wanting to deprive yourself 🙂
Clean eating is definitely not something I could stick to 100% unless I had to for medical reasons, simply because I love food! Especially food that isn’t “clean.” 😉 However, if I told myself it was ok to go off and have a diet that wasn’t mostly clean, I would feel awful (physically, mentally, etc.) and gain weight like crazy. For me, it is all about balance – I try and keep my meals clean, but let’s be honest, there’s no way I could say no to ice cream or chocolate!
Oh yeah I agree, there is definitely a balance. You can’t eat rubbish food day in and day out and not expect to feel rubbish. Free reign on all the processed food is not a wise move. But now and again it can be enjoyed alongside the good stuff. It’s just not something to be terrified of though or demonised.
I agree with your sentiment entirely (I think there are so many diet fads- paleo, low carb, high fat etc etc although I have always taken clean eating to mean just natural and as unprocessed as possible), but I don’t agree with that article- for example it says that vegetarians believe that meat is unclean. I am only speaking for myself, but that is not why I eat meat (it also has a category of people called “hippies” who sound sensible as they avoid artificial sweeteners and things!). The article talks about how red meat has never been found to damage your health, but cancer research companies etc have found otherwise- especially highly processed meats with all the additives and whatever they are called. Also high fructose corn syrup has been shown to enlarge livers (eg like fois gras) and is not at all a natural food, and some foods do make people begin to get insulin resistant which is why a low GI diet is important for some people (so although calories in vs calories out is in the basic sense correct, actually a lot of people need to look at where their calories come from) .
I think there is a scale- some foods are healthier than others, and as long as you have a balance then you are fine- like you say eat cake each week or whatever, but make sure you get a good mix of fresh foods too.
I also think you can think about the impact your food has on the world- for example some cultures would kill an animal, but then eat or use every part of that, and so their impact on the environment is as nature intended and so could be viewed as the “cleanest” of them all.
Yeah the article is a bit ‘take no prisoners’ kinda style. There were a lot of generalisations going on.
You make good points with your comments on red meat and high fructose. And I think the article hasn’t quite examined all the evidence…
What I took from the article was, like you said, the sentinent of it. It just resonated with me in the idea that really ANY food can be seen as unhealthy to some extent. And that life is too short to worry about every little thing.
And great point about what effect your eating has on the world. We’re a nation that generates a lot of wasted food. Ready meals and cheap food make this quite easy. I like your ‘cleanest of them all’ comment – I agree!
Love this post Anna! I’m a true believer in airless of what you fancy does you good. Honestly, sometimes I read through ‘rules’ for certain diets and get so frustrated because they leave you with such a marginal selection of foods to eat! As long as I’m getting in lots of fruit, veg and salad then I don’t mind eating chocolate, cake or – shock horror – my favourite Haribo.
😀 As soon as you start thinking of food in terms of rules it’s a recipe for disaster.
I ADORE pick ‘n’ mix. Every time I go to the cinema I get a big bag and make myself feel a bit sick. But I love it.
HERE HERE!! Haha love this post.