After every few days, we discover new ways of food habits, diets and food culture. Food is a sector where time and again new experiments keep coming and going. Many of us try it out too. Some love it, while some don’t become a fan of it. And thus, some food habits become a hit and some fail to impress us.
Many of us have probably heard of the keto diet, vegan diet, low carb diet, sugar-free diet, raw food diet or vegetarian diet. Another kind of diet or food habit which is trending these days is “clean eating”.
Clean eating is deemed to be highly beneficial for us. However, is that true? Continue reading the article to know all about it.
ABCs Of Clean Eating
In basic terms, clean eating involves eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and everything which isn’t processed. In case you are following this diet, then you need to avoid processed foods like cheese, packaged snacks like chips or other munchies, food containing artificial sugar or added sweetness and foods that contain unhealthy fats.
If you are following a clean eating diet, for snacks you can munch on fruits and vegetables, cereals like oats and a variety of seeds too. Furthermore, it is important to eat foods that are present in their natural form. Like you cannot drink apple juice as an alternative to apple or vegetable chips instead of fresh vegetables.
These alternatives might contain preservatives, added sugar or artificial taste and while following a clean diet, you cannot consume all of that. However, it is imperative to remember that one can consume eggs and other dairy products that are pasteurized as it is done to keep the food safe.
Also, according to experts, it is okay to eat frozen fruits and vegetables as they are slightly processed and might also contain more nutrients than fresh fruits and veggies.
As stated above, you have to stay away from processed and packaged food. Hence, try to consume food that you can make at home instead of relying on stores. Examples can be yoghurt along with fruits or an avocado egg sandwich.
The idea of clean eating is to provide your body with vitamins and minerals, high quality and healthy proteins and fats, improve heart and brain health, maintain weight, increase energy and create a strong immune system.
Is It Really Healthy?
Clean eating is trending nowadays and several people are following this diet. According to Jaclyn London, a nutritionist, “I do love that the original concept prompted an important question: Where does our food come from?
So, if a clean eating mindset reminds you to read labels, check sources, and understand what’s what about the food you eat, I’d absolutely encourage you to keep that up.”
However, with many people randomly following the diet and adopting habits that they read online, the true idea of clean eating has been modified and altered.
People believe that if you are not eating clean, as in the food items mentioned above, then other foods that you are consuming are dirty and unhealthy, which is absolutely absurd. As per Jaclyn, “Not only does the phrase establish a hierarchical model for eating well, it’s yet another medium for food-shaming.”
Honestly, it promotes the idea of being thin and spending unnecessary time on finding “fresh and clean” food items. Not everyone has the time or resource to indulge in such a diet and such a concept largely favours the elites.
Moreover, shopkeepers might sell you fresh fruits and vegetables which are originally adulterated by adding artificial sweeteners or colours. And thus, if our diet revolves around this only, then we are doing more harm than good.
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“Agave (a kind of sweetener or syrup) is no better for you than any other version of sugar; coconut oil is still a mostly saturated fat (even when your kale salad is doused in it); cold-pressed juice is still a concentrated source of sugar (and not very nutritious); and that vegan chocolate pudding is still dessert — not breakfast”, says Jaclyn.
An article published in the British Medical Journal stated that a lot of claims made about clean eating are originally a “loose interpretation of facts”.
Even though it’s great that a clean eating diet encourages you to adopt healthy eating habits and being mindful of what you choose to eat. However, at the same time, it might lead you to miss out on another wide variety of healthy and nutritious options.
It can also cause an eating disorder termed Orthorexia Nervosa meaning “fixation of righteous eating”. When a person suffers through it, they indulge in fixation of diet which is an unhealthy approach.
Perhaps, a lot of people following this particular diet might not want to socialize with others as they fear being bullied by the ones who do not follow this diet and also because they might not find the appropriate kind of food they want to consume when following such a diet.
How To Reap Maximum Benefits?
As mentioned above, if not followed properly and without flexibility, clean eating can be harmful for you.
Hence, rather than following the diet as it is, consider following the below-mentioned tips to reap maximum benefits:
1. Social Media Is Not Your Rulebook
Use social media to educate yourself, but not as a rule book. Understand that if an eating pattern suits one person, do not comprehend it as being suitable for another person. Every one of us has different dietary requirements and digestive capabilities.
2. Term “Healthy” Is Subjective
Healthy is a subjective term and it carries different meanings for different people. A food that is healthy for one doesn’t have to be healthy for others. For example, milk is healthy, but on another hand, some people might get pimples or cysts after consuming milk.
3. Balance Diet To Your Rescue
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean eating “only” fruits and vegetables. It means creating balance while eating other foods as well.
4. Keep It Flexible
More often than not, clean eating is confused with eating only salads, smoothies, fresh juices etc. However, your diet isn’t supposed to be that rigid. You can order or prepare food items that contain salads or juices along with other food items too. Like a sandwich with a side of salad maybe?
5. Look Out For Transparency
Consume food items that are transparent about their ingredients rather than blindly eating foods that are considered “clean”. A pack of baked beetroot chips with all the ingredients clearly mentioned could be twice more nutritious than adulterated fruits or vegetables. Not all packaged food is unhealthy. A multi-grain bread or bagel containing a variety of seeds can be healthy too.
Thus, it is essential to make healthy life choices. However, it is also imperative that you don’t get fooled easily. Rather than being rigid, allow yourself to be flexible and choose what’s best for you.
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