Sunday, 23 October 2016

When Clean Eating Becomes Obsessive

Hi there friendly friends!

I hope you are having an awesome day and if not, eat something incredibly delicious that your body will thank you for and that should do the trick in making the day a little more on the awesome side.

Alright, all necessary intros aside, today I wanted to talk about something a little more on the serious side of things and a little closer to me, personally.

Clean eating.

This idea that by eating certain foods, one's diet can be described as clean. This obviously leaves the opposite and opposing diet not containing these foods or in fact containing other foods along with said 'clean foods', as one that is 'dirty'.
Through a quick internet search of clean-eating, sparked by my curiosity of the types of things that would pop up from such a search, the amount of do's and don'ts and rules and regulations and lists of suitable foods and lists of 'dirty' 'unhealthy' 'life-threatening' (yep, even this word appeared in the search) flooded my screen and I was suddenly quite overwhelmed by all the 'advice' and 'ways to eat for health' that were available on the internet from a quick google search.
Now, I've touched on this before in previous posts where I have brought up my own personal struggles with the recently acknowledged eating disorder of Orthorexia Nervosa, whereby the prospect of only filling my body with 'clean' acceptable foods free from processing, added sugars, saturated fats, white flour, dairy etc. etc. and any of the other 'bad things' I'd come to fear with a gnawing feeling in my gut when I'd be put in a situation that would require me to consume such foods.

What a way to live huh? Always thinking about your next meal and what you can/ can't eat, what you've already eaten that day, so what you should eat at your next meal, making sure you are having a salad at lunch because you know you are going out with friends to a restaurant for dinner and are ordering the vegetarian wok with noodles (there's no way you could go for the pizza, even if it's veto because of all that white flour, salt, cheese- oh my!), packing pre-made meals to almost every outing you go, turning down invites to go out because it's during a meal time and not having the control over the food choices is a panic attack just waiting to happen.

To some, this may seem unimaginable, preposterous, how-the-heck-can-anyone-live-like-this!?! But I did and I know for a fact that many, many other people like me have to or are still living like this. Trust me when I say I am not fully recovered from my orthorexia mentality because it is something that does stay with someone in the back of their mind and pop up in times of weakness. It is the ability to squash that voice out and love yourself that shows the strength and journey you have come on.

So what in the world sparked that kind of thinking in me and in so many other people in our society today?? Unfortunately I would have to say it is the rise of the new, highly popularised and religiously followed lifestyle known as Clean Eating.
You log onto Instagram and one search of the tag; Clean Eating will offer you hundreds, if not thousands of accounts dedicated purely to the lifestyle of eating clean, offering a myriad of pictures of bright fresh veggies, green smoothies, healthy alternatives to your 'devilish favourites'.
Oh, yes, some watermelon pizza is just what I feel like when I was just about to go out and order some thick crust, cheese pizza. Not.

Anywho, I need to make this clear also (because the above comments might appear a little harsh.. maybe I'm just hungry... who knows! :P) I love these Intagrammers and their accounts of beautifully fresh and abundant foods and recipes and new takes on ways to make traditional dishes and heck I've done all those things myself.

The issue occurs winsome of the posts feature words like; Always eat this many veggies a day to be happy. Make sure you cut out so-and-so to lead a healthy fulfilling life. Never eat this. Eat this daily. Cut this out forever. These global and demanding statements are the ones that stick with me. That push the competitive, perfectionist inside of me to follow to a T and to be the 'perfect eater' I know I can be.

So I never eat this. So I eat that every day. So I cut this from my diet entirely. So I ensure I always make a healthy substitute for whatever I'm feeling like. So I stop living my life the way I want to.

Clean Eating can be a truly beneficial and abundant way of living... if you don't submerge yourself in a pool of rules and regulations and lists of foods and times of eating and restrictions when going out. Clean eating should be a lifestyle one can sustain. But not only that, a lifestyle one can enjoy. And if that means you go out for pizza with the girls, or have an ice cream after dinner with the family, or laugh over a bag of skittles when trying to study for that dreaded test with class mates... than that's ok too.
Gotta love friends! :P

Clean eating becomes an issue when those things become an issue to you. If they can just fly in and out of your day as little funnies that happened and then finished- that's true health!

Again, I am so far from this healthy way of living and still find myself tormented by what I should/ shouldn't eat and so my challenge as I head on into adult-hood and out of the highly structured and protective-ness of school is to truly start living my life because my experience with 'clean eating' has done the exact opposite.

I want to be able to go out with friends when I want and eat what I want. I want to eat abundantly; the fresh fruit and veg I have come to love so much and not think about what vegetable to have because this one has more starch, or I've already had this one today. I want to be able to finally listen tony body and go with what the natural self wants, not the overly stimulated and filled with 'eating facts' brain thinks is right.

And that's why I think clean eating can be extremely beneficial to some people, but also can cross a line with others, like me, who once started, will strive for perfection in all that they do. And unfortunately with clean eating? That takes the fun and life out of living.

Your turn:
What are your thoughts on the current 'clean eating' lifestyle?
How do you ensure a healthy relationship with food?
Best meal you've eaten recently?

I hope you enjoyed reading about my thoughts on this topic. Took it as a little study break and then got really into it- so my mind must be pretty fired up! Have yourself a wonderful day, be kind to yourself and others and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

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