Does clean eating make you feel dirty? The nutrition craze that's launched millions of hashtags on social media may not be as healthy as you think. According to one nutritionist, the trend is just elitist, junk science.
Jaclyn London explains to Cosmo that so-called clean eating began as eating real foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Cooking at home with quality ingredients--nothing processed or out of a box--was encouraged. "I do love that the original concept seemed to be a call to action for understanding the traceability of our food," she writes. "So, if clean eating as a 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 part of it up."
What isn't so great is how the craze has spiraled out of context. Categorized by hashtags like #EatClean, the diet has been taken over by marketers and Instagram hounds. "I'm worried that the phrase has taken on a new, misguided meaning. The implication is that if you're not 'eating clean,' what you eat otherwise is dirty or unhygienic, and that's simply not true," she says. She points to things like cold-pressed juice and coconut oil as being categorized as clean when in fact, they're chocked full of sugar and fats. "Agave 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," she says.
Take for instance the yummy and Instagram-worthy acai bowl. Filled with fruits, nuts, granola and honey, one bowl can clock in at almost 600 calories!
She recommends that we focus on nutritious foods and most importantly, to stop thinking of food as our enemy. Plus, don't be afraid (or beat yourself up) about the occassional splurge. Hashtag that.