Type “Clean Eating” into Google and a million sites pop up with most being weight loss related. What is “clean eating”? Well, it depends who you ask! According to some folks, clean eating is going vegan or vegetarian. Others say it means avoiding all processed foods. Some say it’s eating only organic and GMO free. Of all the definitions, I think I like Michelle Dudash, RDN’s the best, “”The foundation of clean eating is choosing foods in their whole-food state or as close as possible to how they’re found in nature.” Michelle gets it. Shout out to you, girl!
With that being said, I also kind of feel like “clean eating” is totes misleading and frankly, kind of BS. In fact, it just makes me think of the 20 somethings posting pics of themselves in their trendy work out gear, abs on full display, sipping or promoting some drink (usually green juice or an unnecessary protein shake). Girl, enjoy your 20s. You’re still in the “I can eat whatever I want” chapter of life. Just wait….
But in reality, eating clean doesn’t mean a thing. Now, before you get all fired up, hear me out. I am all for avoiding foods that are crazy high in sugar, sodium and or fat. And if you read any of my posts before, you know I hate juicing (particularly juice cleanses). I think you should definitely eat whole fruits and vegetables opposed to juicing them or blending them all up in a drink. We have TONS of science that shows chewing a food versus drinking it offers WAY more health benefits. But, moving on, let’s talk about processed foods.
I was recently sipping wine at my friend’s house as she was making dinner for her kiddos. “Caroline, we only eat clean in this house. None of that processed stuff”. She said this as she sliced a few apples then, boiled some whole wheat pasta and heated up some sauce. I took a deep breath, topped off my glass of cab (priorities) and dropped some knowledge. Did you know slicing a fruit is processing it? By boiling pasta, you are technically processing the pasta. So avoided all “processed” foods is not only crazy, it’s very difficult to do. Look, I am all for staying on the perimeter of the grocery store and avoiding extra junk. However, I have a strong passion to stopping those fear mongers (I’m looking at you Food Babe) and setting the record straight with all those trends in pop science. Don’t even get me started on the “fewer ingredients means it’s healthier stupidity”. The number of ingredients has NOTHING to do with a product’s nutritional value. Marie, says it best. (Marie, I adore you.)
Remember, nutrition is a SCIENCE, not an opinion. I have a dear friend who is also a RDN. She is gluten free due to her health issues. But, she educates her clients about whole grains and their benefits all day long. As a RDN, it is our job to educate and share science….not our opinions. So here is the science: the term clean eating isn’t defined. Eat your fruits and veggies. Drink your water and go workout.