There are so many different diets, or ways of life, to try and adopt when it comes to losing weight or getting the most out of your training and exercise.
Clean eating seems to have been around for a while, but the terms “eat clean” and “clean eating” means so many different things to different people.
For me, clean eating is eating the best that I can – plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, limiting the amount of processed foods I eat and making sure I get plenty of water. It’s not eliminating whole food groups, it’s not saying that I can’t have a chocolate bar and it’s certainly not frowning upon those who don’t have the same ideas as me. We’re all individuals and what works for one, may not work for another.
I love food (understatement), but I know that if I don’t put the right fuel in, I won’t get the best out of my body. That said, I enjoy a glass of wine and I won’t feel guilty for indulging – maybe just when I overindulge.
I watched the TV show Clean Eating’s Dirty Secret and was shocked at the amount of crap that seems to surround the clean eating world, and the amount of misinformation that seems to be spreading, without anyone having to answer as to where they get their information from (I would say facts, but there’s very little of those about).
There are so many people on social media now who seem to have become overnight gurus with regards to this new clean way of life, but just how do they get there?
From my perspective, I’m not a nutritionist or dietician, so I can’t write specific meal plans or tell people what to eat. I can advise what people should be eating, what they should maybe limit and where they can make changes, but that’s it – clients will ask, and I’ll tell them what will get the best results for what they’re looking to achieve but, people can easily ignore it.
The scary thing is, only dieticians are regulated by law, and anyone can call themselves a nutritionist after buying a £29 special off Groupon (for the record, I’ve purchased one of these and used it to enhance my knowledge of micro-nutrients, supplements and sports nutrition, but not with the view to thinking I’m suddenly an expert!).
What scared me the most from watching the programme was the amount of hatred spouted by people towards certain foods and food groups. Granted, if you suffer from intolerance to wheat or dairy then, of course, eliminating them from your diet is a necessity but not eating certain foods because you think somehow they’re ‘dirty’ is misinformed and, in some cases, dangerous. Getting in the mind-set of an extreme elimination diet is unsustainable or unattainable and verges on disordered eating – let’s get one thing clear, our bodies need protein, they need carbohydrates and they need fat. Eating too little or too much of any of these can cause problems.
Some of the gluten-free products are 4 times as expensive as their normal equivalent so, some of the recommendations people are making just aren’t inclusive to everyone. As a result of this, people moan that healthy eating is expensive, because they’re aiming to aspire to something that isn’t even necessary. You don’t need quinoa to eat clean, you don’t need chia seeds to eat clean and you don’t need pumpkin seeded spelt sourdough bread to eat clean, you just need the best quality fruit and vegetables you can afford, you need plenty of lean protein and you need to cut out the processed foods. Simples.
A balance diet is the way forward – eating a little bit of what you fancy, consuming food in moderation and eating foods that actually look like foods is a great lifestyle to aspire to. Some days it will work, some days it won’t, but that’s fine.
Take a look at your diet and see what changes you can make, just make sure those changes are sustainable, affordable and realistic, and then it’ll be a new way of life not just a fad diet.