Diets have become an obsession within society, from the latest celebrity who’s lost all their pregnancy weight at a click of a finger to the craziest diet. But what ever happened to just clean eating to provide our bodies with all the nutrients and vitamins it needs?
In 2007, fitness and diet guru Tosca Reno published a book called “The Eat Clean Diet”. Since then celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie all swear by the new lifestyle choice. To ‘eat clean’ means that we provide our bodies with whole foods that are in their natural form. Foods that have not been poked and prodded to last longer or look tastier.
To eat clean, we should ideally avoid eating refined or processed foods or anything that contains artificial ingredients or that’s grown using chemical fertilizers, pesticides or with hormones and antibiotics. Instead, Tosca recommends that we eat 6 times a day to stimulate our metabolism, combine lean proteins and complex carbs in each meal and include healthy fats, drink plenty of water and eat local produce.
By cutting out processed foods, clean eating can help us to lose weight as well as maintain a healthy lifestyle. Clean eating encourages us to eat more fruit and vegetables, which means we are eating fewer calories but consuming more fibre that will keep you fuller for longer.
Eating fresh fruit and vegetables will also provide you with more energy. Fruit and veggies give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs to boost your health and energy. Eliminating the sugar and refined carbs in processed foods will also decrease your blood sugar levels- which is increasingly higher in adults today.
The vitamins and minerals will not only boost your energy, but make you look healthier. As well as healthy fats and proteins for the body the condition of your hair, skin and nails will all improve.
However, fitness guru Kayla Itsines thinks that clean eating is restrictive. She explains that eating clean is damaging to our mental health as it makes us feel unhappy if we can’t stick to our diets or make us feel disappointed when we have a slice of chocolate cake. She also explains that there is no such thing as a good or bad food as they all offer us nutrients, and some more than others.
There is also a clean eating disorder called orthorexia, which is when a person has an unhealthy obsession with healthy food. In fact, 80-90% of eating disorder patients had been on clean eating diets. Nigella Lawson is one of the few chefs who understand that clean eating isn’t always a healthy lifestyle choice but an eating disorder. While, Emmy Gilmour, a clinical director says clean eating encourages people to restrict food groups, deprive themselves and to be self-critical.
To lead a healthy lifestyle, we need to know what our bodies require to be healthy. We should always know what is going into our meals and what we should ideally be avoiding. Clean eating can be part of a healthy lifestyle but we should never deprive ourselves for both health and wellbeing purposes. Adding fresh fruit and veg to our diets is crucial but we need to also add products of each food group to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.