The Dirt On Clean Eating (And My Food Philosophy)

“I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.”

-Joyce Meyer

When I say clean eating, what do you picture? I picture a bunch of tanned, smiling people sitting in the middle of a field enjoying a picnic of veggies, fruit, and farm fresh meat. That’s all good. I eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, and meat. I believe most people should. Clean eating is about eating whole foods or “real” foods. The problem I have with “clean” eating is the fact that it insinuates that everything else is dirty.

How Do You Define Clean

What is clean food? Does it have to be organic? Non GMO? Gluten Free? If I’m in a candy shop and choose a candy made in the shop, is that “cleaner” than the candy shipped in? There is so much left up to personal interpretation that I think one person’s clean diet could be COMPLETELY different than another person’s.

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It Doesn’t Account For Portion Control

Many people set out on a clean diet with lots of meat, veggies, and fruits ready to go. What often gets missed is the fact that overeating is overeating no matter what you’re eating (try saying that 10x fast). Portion control matters. Knowing when you’re hungry and when you’re full is not always as easy at it sounds. If you eat quickly, have dieted often, or have malabsorption issues, it could be really easy for you to over (and even under) eat if you’re not being mindful. Would I prefer someone overeat on a veggie and meat diet than on a candy and Doritos diet? Yes, but ideally they eat nutrient-dense food and know how much to eat.

Start Diet>Fall Off Diet>Guilt>Guilty Eating>Start New Diet

When we start associating guilt with food, we start to put ourselves and options in a box. What happens when you put someone in a box? They want out of the box and as far away from it as possible. You start a new diet, it’s going well. A week or so in you start to miss food you used to eat, and you start to get tired of saying no to dessert with friends. One night you’re feeling so deprived you start searching the cupboard, and you find the Oreos. You tell yourself you will have one, but as soon as the crunchy/creamy goodness enters your mouth you know it’s hopeless. Before the end of the night you have devoured the entire package. This is the vicious cycle known as yo-yo dieting. I’ve talked about it before here. Not only does it stress your body out, it most often causes any progress you’ve made to be reversed.

I’ve tried them all

I’ve tried lots of different styles of eating. I’ve done clean eating, paleo, IIFYM, etc., and what I found was that all of them had their positives but I wasn’t necessarily motivated to stick to them. I wondered why. Why when I had seen positive results would I not want to stick to the diet? It wasn’t conducive to my lifestyle. I love going out with friends and family, everybody should have a burger once in a while. I didn’t want to have to count my grams at every meal. I didn’t want to pass on the baked potato every time. I wanted to enjoy food, but also live a healthy life. I found it so much easier to do this when I stopped trying to name my style of eating. Most people looking in would say I’m closer to paleo than anything, but I don’t call myself paleo because I know my body needs denser carbs than the paleo diet provides. Why put ourselves in a diet box? Instead why don’t we make mindful decisions based on our health?

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My Food Philosophy 

One diet does not fit all. We are all biologically unique, so it would make sense that we require unique diets. Some of us need more protein, some of us need more carbs. Guess what? The only way you will know is if you listen to your own body. I notice a big difference when I increase/decrease my protein…my body likes protein. I only found this out by experimenting with my diet. I also believe that micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are just as important as macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein). Sadly, candy bars and Dairy Queen Blizzards are not a significant source of vitamins or minerals. I choose foods that I know contribute to my bodies overall biological processes. I choose colourful vegetables, delicious fruits, and savoury meats. I choose to eat some potatoes and rice. Sometimes I choose to have a chocolate bar as a treat, knowing it does not contribute to my overall physical health, but keeps me from feeling deprived in the long run. I look at food as fuel, as something to be enjoyed, but also something that has a specific purpose. That purpose is to fuel my body for a long and healthy life. Change your mindset, change your relationship with food.

Eat your veggies 😉

Charity

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