I stumbled upon a really interesting programme that’s available on BBC iPlayer right now called Clean Eating’s Dirty Secret.
It’s a documentary starring Grace Victory, a Vlogger on beauty, fashion, body image and mental health. Throughout the programme, Grace explores the recent ‘trend’ of ‘Clean Eating’ that’s sweeped social media and become a lifestyle for many.
In short, she compares insta/YouTube famous ‘nutritionists’ opinions with scientific, factual information from a qualified dietician. I’ll begin by clearing up the difference between a nutritionist and a dietician. ANYONE can call them selves a nutritionist. In fact, Grace herself took a 20 hour, £30 nutritionist course online in the programme which enabled her to claim she’s a raw food nutritionist, despite her not even having any real understanding or passion for nutrition. The difference with a dietician is that they must have studied at university to gain their qualification and it’s perhaps more factual and less opinionated.
Through the programme we see some (in my opinion) crazy diets from all potato, to virtually protein free banana based diets and 100% Raw and vegan. At the start, they do mention how clean eating is dairy, meat, egg and gluten free. I have to say I don’t really agree with this (I’ll come onto that in detail) as to me, clean eating is eating natural which includes meat and eggs so I would say that’s only some peoples version of clean eating.
That gets me on to the fact that pretty much EVERY diet/nutrition/fitness person has a way of doing things and pretty much think their way is the only correct way. There’s some magnificent claims made, for example Freelee – The Banana Girl eats around 30 bananas a day and claims that protein is like acid for the body!? And that the human body receives most of its protein through your own flesh!? Of course this was totally rubbished by the ‘real’ dietician. Another claim by Deliciously Ella is that milk damages your body. Again, rubbished by the dietician who stresses the importance of the calcium that milk offers to the body.
The programme showed the physiological dangers also associated with the clean eating hype, that often go alongside the physical. Many more girls/boys are suffering from Orthorexia Nervosa – an obsession with eating foods that are deemed as healthy by the person. I took this little Orthorexia Self Test which showed that I may have a modest case of Othorexis and I must say I may agree. When I see these (mainly) girls on Instagram with crazy clean meals and insane workouts, it almost makes me feel guilty when I go slightly off course. It’s probably phycological but I actually feel healthier and more attractive when I’ve been ‘eating right’ and restricting myself as opposed to eating what I really want. I must add this isn’t a worry for me, as I do regularly make food choices that aren’t ‘clean’ just because I want to.
Another one to add is gluten free. I do try to eat a gluten free diet due to it being a trigger for my IBS (and no one likes looking 8 months pregnant for no reason) but I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would CHOOSE to be gluten free if they don’t need to?! It’s so restricting. The other day I went for lunch with friends post-training and wanted a Caesar salad which the menu said came as a gluten free option. So of course I presumed the croutons would be gluten free maybe? Nope. The server came out and said that the gluten free option would literally be chicken and lettuce and is this okay? At £10 uhmmmm, nope. Oh and the sweet potato fries? Coated in flour. So if you think gluten free is easy, you couldn’t be more misguided. Not to mention the fact that gluten free options can be 3 times more expensive and can contain all sorts of nasty chemicals and additives!
I think the most important thing I took away from this is that each individual is different. You can’t follow someone else’s lifestyle in its entirety because every persons body is different. You wouldn’t see my trainer giving a 13 stone lady the same workout as me and this applies to the diet even more so! You need to find what works for YOU and remember you can have everything in moderation. It’s useless trying to cut out certain food groups in their entirety because chances are, your body needs them! Just try and cut back on the things your body doesn’t agree with and that you know aren’t good in large quantities.
Oh, and don’t believe everything you read online.
*Clean Eating’s Dirty Secret can be found on BBC iPlayer.
* I am not a nutritionist or dietician, I just have an interest in food and fitness.
* Any major change in diet requires an all-clear from your GP or dietician.