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Why we fell for clean eating

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/11/why-we-fell-for-clean-eating

theguardian.com

Why we fell for clean eating
The long read: The oh-so-Instagrammable food movement has been thoroughly debunked - but it shows no signs of going away. The real question is why we were so desperate to believe it

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Orthorexia

It is a serious eating disorder, manifesting as an obsession with consuming only foods that are healthy, pure and perfect.

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Clean eating and its rise in popularity

“Clean eating” established itself as a challenge to mainstream ways of eating. It's perhaps best seen as a dream of purity in a toxic world. 

Powered by social media, it has been more absolutist in its claims and more popular in its reach than any previous school of modern nutrition advice.

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"Pure" food

Clean eating is about eating nothing but “whole” or “unprocessed” foods. 

It has quickly become more of a belief system, which propagates the idea that the way most people eat is not simply fattening, but impure.

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Clean eating backlash

Clean eating has been attacked by critics as being a form of body fascism. Others have pointed out that, as a method of healthy eating, it’s founded on bad science: for example, the coconut oil beloved as a panacea by clean eaters actually has no known offsetting favorable effects, and consuming it could result in higher LDL cholesterol.

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Clean eating and post-truth

Clean eating shows few signs of dying and one possible explanation is offered by Hadley Freeman, who identified clean eating as part of a post-truth culture, whose adherents are impervious, or even hostile, to facts and experts. It’s impossible to avoid the trend altogether because it changed the foods available to all of us, and the way they are spoken of. 

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#eatclean trend consequences

#eatclean trend consequences

From 2009 to 2014, the number of Americans who actively avoided gluten, despite not suffering from coeliac disease, more than tripled. 

It also became fashionable to drink non-dairy milk, ranging from oat milk to almond milk. 

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Clean eating is not entirely false

....because it's right to say that we should eat more vegetables, less refined sugar and less meat. 

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The art of eating

The art of eating

... is a question of psychology as much as nutrition. We have to find a way to want to eat what’s good for us.

We make frequent attempts – more or less half-hearted – to change what we...

Food preferences are learned

All the foods that you regularly eat are ones that you learned to eat.  Everyone starts life drinking milk. After that, it’s all up for grabs. 

But in today’s food culture, many people seem to have acquired uncannily homogenous tastes: food companies push foods high in sugar, fat and salt, which means we are innately incapable of resisting them but that the more frequently we eat them, especially in childhood, the more they train us to expect all food to taste this way.

0.3% of young women are anorexic

... and another 1% are bulimic, with rising numbers of men joining them.

What statistics are not particularly effective at telling us is how many others – whether overweight or underweight – are in a perpetual state of anxiety about what they consume, living in fear of carbs or fat grams and unable to derive straightforward enjoyment from meals.

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'Clean eating' is the most widely followed diet

'Clean eating' is the most widely followed diet

Clean eating can best be described as a holistic approach to finding foods that are fresher, less processed, and a higher quality. The broader idea comes from the belief that your ...

Clean eating mindset

Clean eating is about choosing whole foods and ingredients, products that are minimally processed, and as additive-free as possible. It is not a punishing mindset, but a prioritising one:

  • Whole foods and ingredients first.
  • Minimally processed foods made with whole and familiar ingredients.
  • Where possible, avoid synthetic chemicals, pesticides, and preservatives, as well as artificial sweeteners, flavours, and colours.

The practice also promotes home-cooking and developing a culture of food that leads to meals that taste great and are better for you.

What clean eating is not

  • It's not a hard science. It is a conceptual framework to help navigate the vast food choices available.
  • Exclusive and judgmental. It's not an all-or-nothing approach, nor a tool by which to measure someone's value.
  • Versus "dirty." Clean eating can only be contrasted with "messy," where western diets are complicated and confusing.
  • Inflexible. It is an inclusionary approach that you can adapt, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, or simply choose not to eat certain foods.
  • Only about avoiding processed foods or chemicals. It is about moving toward quality and making the healthiest choice.

Replacing protein

Protein is not just found in meat. It is also found in grains and vegetables. And if you are getting enough calories, then you are getting enough protein.

Try to keep the daily mix of wh...

Eat Beans

Beans come in many varieties and are excellent stand-ins for meat in certain recipes.

Cooking the beans yourself provides a better flavor and texture, but canned beans are also a good alternative as convenience food.

High-Protein Grains

Grains have more protein than we think and also contains a host of other vital nutrients, especially when we eat them whole.

Some staple that fills a grain bowl is quinoa, Kamut, teff, millet, wild rice, buckwheat, cornmeal, and even pasta.