Escaped the ‘clean eating’ cult and found food freedom

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I almost feel ashamed to admit that I once used the term ‘clean-eating’ to refer to my diet but yes I did. I had an awful relationship with food, llabelled food as good and bad or clean, I had scheduled cheat days where I would eat junk food without feeling guilty. I restricted certain food groups, and avoided going out with friends and family afraid of breaking my clean eating rules. Then there were times when I would over-indulge, feel guilt then compensate with excessive exercise. I spent an enormous amount of time fixated on what I ate, it took over my life. It was awful, but at the time I thought it was the only way to achieve weight-loss and healthy living.

A complete lifestyle change can be overwhelming. The thought of changing the way you eat is daunting and requires a lot of hard work and will power. I guess that’s why most of us choose to diet over changing our eating habits; we think it would be easier. After all, what’s hard about restricting certain food groups until you reach your desired weight then go back to your old ways. One big problem, it NEVER works. Trust me I know, I have been there and done that. I’ve done juice fasts, and cleanses. I have done the cabbage soup diet and the lemon water detox for 21 days. So yes, I know and I never want to go back there.

Healthy living is something I’ve become passionate about and I’m always encouraging others to create and build healthy habits. But I have developed this hate for the phrase ‘clean eating’ that many people use to refer to a healthy diet. It’s so trendy right now. Folks be like ‘I’m on a clean eating diet and I can’t eat that and you shouldn’t either because it’s bad for you’, or ‘I can’t have that today, Saturdays are my cheat days’. For crying out loud, live a little, eat the damn cookie and give me a break. Let me clarify something before I get misunderstood. I don’t hate the concept behind the phrase, in fact I’m all for it. But it’s the word ‘clean’ that I have a problem with, which implies that everything else that doesn’t fit into the clean category is dirty, shameful and wrong. Food is food, some more beneficial/healthy than others but all is food. Yes, we should eat more greens and whole-foods but does that mean no to real ice-cream, cookies and chocolate? I don’t think so, we should be able to enjoy some of these not so healthy foods without feeling guilty or dirty.

Let’s look at what this phrase means. Well, it refers to whole, unprocessed foods but the actual definition is different for everyone and it wouldn’t be wrong. Different people have different meaning of clean eating. To some people it means only organic and to others only plant based. Some will argue that clean eating is the elimination of dairy, sugar, grains and legumes. Whatever your definition is of the phrase; don’t label it clean eating. What’s wrong with the term healthy eating/living that it had to be replaced with ‘clean’. I would have to say I’m a dirty eater. Wait a minute, I could be onto something here. New trend: Dirty eating!

The bottom line is clean eating causes people to associate food with stress, fear and guilt. Many people have bad relationships with food because they think food is the enemy. Labelling food as good and bad is where the problem lies. Food should be for our enjoyment. Don’t associate these ugly feelings with food, the thought of food should bring you joy, pleasure and excitement. We need to relax and not become overly obsessed with healthy eating that it takes over our lives. The concept of healthy eating is different for everyone. Forget the rules and labels, find out what works for you and makes you happy. Find a middle ground between all the extremes.

I love food, A lot and I’m so glad I’m off the clean eating wagon. My perspective on healthy has shifted and I guess you could say I’ve evolved like we all do. MODERATION, VARIETY AND BALANCE is my new definition of healthy living. Food is my passion, I love trying new recipes so how could I possibly cut out any food groups. That would be like cutting out a piece of what makes me ME. I love to indulge in decadent brownies, and be buried under some rocky road ice-cream. I adore my white rice, the beautiful aroma that comes through when it’s cooked and there’s just no way I can substitute it with cauliflower rice. On this blog, I share foods I absolutely love but that doesn’t mean you have to follow the recipes to a T. Change them to suit your own lifestyle, explore different foods and find out what you love and enjoy. Healthy eating is not all about kale salads, and green smoothies, you can make it into something that works you.

My approach to healthy eating is quite different to that of my husband yet we live under the same roof. I love vegetables and he hates them with a passion. He’s a creature of habit and happy eating the same foods over and over again and I enjoy variety. I’m happy with a smoothie for breakfast, but he prefers cooked breakfast. I used to think my diet was better than his, and I would give him a hard time about his diet but at the end of the day what’s important is eating the food we love and makes us happy. He doesn’t eat much junk, but loves his rice, pasta, bread and peanut butter and that’s perfectly fine.

I absolutely adore my new established healthy relationship with food. It’s all about finding that balance, nourishing your body with good real food but living a little at the same time and indulging in the not so healthy foods. I’ve claimed back total control over what I eat and i feel free and alive. I eat anything I want in moderation. There’s no perfect one diet fits all, your perfect diet depends on YOU. Don’t take someone’s opinion of healthy, DO your home-work, add a dash of common sense and make informed decisions based around YOU.