As a society, we seem to have a long standing obsession with food. Whether it’s focussing on a new celebrity-endorsed diet craze, or stressing over new research suggesting that what we once held dear might eventually kill us (goodbye bacon!) food is often at the forefront of conversation. What has been a blessing in the age of technology, is the wealth of information that is available to us. Gone are the days when we could plead ignorance about not knowing what is good for us.

Healthy eating is big business, and everything we need to know is a mere click away. But on our quest to being more healthy, have we forgotten the art of balance?

Vegetable Basket

Eat clean or DIE!

The term ‘Clean Eating’ has become commonplace, and not just amongst those who are considered the professionals when it comes to health and fitness. It is used by man, woman and child alike, and is worn as a badge of honour to symbolise TRUE dedication to the cause – the body. Some are of the opinion that if you’re not clean eating 24/7, you simply cannot be serious about your health, and to shun clean eating at ANY point in time is to shun life itself.

However, what has become confusing for me is how we defined clean eating. Does it mean going strictly organic? Or simply cutting out processed foods? Can you be a true ‘clean eater’ if you consume animal products? Or does it all come down to how they have been produced? Does eating clean also mean ‘drinking clean’ and avoiding alcohol? With so many people embarking on what they consider to be a clean eating journey, it is no wonder that some of the information might be conflicting. It seems very much like a label that is applied to what people think it should be applied to, so how are we supposed to know where we stand?

STOP plate shaming!

I LOVE food. I look forward to mealtimes, and knowing that I have an extra special lunch to look forward to can give me a certain spring in my step. Food punctuates my day and is one of the things that can turn a crappy day around, and I ain’t ashamed to say it!

Sometimes the soul needs a dirty burger. Don't deny it!
Sometimes the soul needs a dirty burger. Don’t deny it!

As someone with a fairly varied and balanced diet, I don’t feel bad about wanting to indulge in something a little ‘naughty’ every now and again. I eat salad most days for lunch at work because I love it, but occasionally like to be face down in something that is dripping with grease. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that, but because opinions are like arseholes and everyone has them, I can almost guarantee that someone will chuck in an unwanted two pence worth as I get ready to chow down.

My issue is, why do people think they have the right? Boundaries have become invisible in these situations, and it’s becoming worrying. People don’t wear a placard stating their struggles with food, therefore you can never be sure about how a flippant comment may affect them. So in the absence of having something good to say, it’s better to keep it damn well zipped!

Inspirational or evangelical?

I’ve found social media to be a great source of inspiration for health and fitness, and fantastic for finding alternative food solutions when boredom sets it with the usual choices. But I have noticed a trend creeping in that doesn’t sit right with me. There are those who are simply not happy with being an inspirational example. Instead, they prefer to use their platform as a pulpit, preaching to others about why their way is the RIGHT way, and why anyone who is not on board is a fool. This approach is not only unhelpful, it is rarely effective.

Almonds

Even if what they have to say is good, delivery is everything. Arrogance (usually) doesn’t win fans, and can often mask the message, even if it’s of value. Someone that truly cares about the wellbeing of others will be mindful about how they come across. The ones that aren’t, the ones that shout the loudest and use aggressive, overbearing tactics, are simply only interested in the sound of their own voice. It makes me wonder if commitment to the lifestyle is something they want to prove to others, or NEED to prove to themselves…

Can we all just live and let eat?

Wanting better for your loved ones and those around you is only natural. But unless someone is going down a reckless path, can they just be left to live? Life is all about balance, and moderation is key. I think we can all agree that too much of a deep fried thing can’t be good, but having a little of what you fancy every now and again is fine, and NOTHING to be ashamed of! I’m a girl that loves a green smoothie, but you know what? Cake makes my heart sing! Why deprive yourself of a little indulgence for fear of judgement? Life is too damn short!

Have you ever felt pressure to prove you’re eating clean?

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