I’m normally a fairly mild-mannered sort of girl, but there’s something that I really need to get off my chest. It’s this business of “clean eating”. So-called clean eating is the health and fitness industry’s buzz phrase right now. For those of you blissfully unaware of the movement, it’s essentially all about eating non-processed foods. There are other “rules” attached as well, such as eating little and often, avoiding alcohol and various other restrictions, but at the heart of it is eating whole foods.
So far so sensible. In an age of horse burgers and trans fats, I’m all for a cooked-from-scratch, healthy diet and there are plenty of lentils, whole grains and vegetables in my cupboards and fridge.
But what really gets me hot under the collar is this word “clean”. The clear implication in clean eating is that anything that doesn’t conform to the dietary list of rules – the occasional HobNob, a handful of Jelly Babies, a relaxing glass of red wine – is dirty. And before you protest that nobody’s calling that kind of food “dirty”, they actually are. Let me quote this from an article on clean eating: “Burgers & chips McDonalds style is [sic] dirtier than a £2 whore”. That’s just one example of many.
As a mother, I strive on a daily basis to teach my kids a healthy attitude to food. I want them to enjoy their food, to eat well and healthily, and not to fear the occasional treat. But making an association between food and dirtiness, as I’ve seen on countless blogs and websites, is just about the most dangerous message you could give your kids.
I don’t want my family to feel guilty about food, and I’m fine with the odd cupcake. So please. Choose your words as carefully as your next meal.
Oh, and pass the biscuits, will you?
This post originally appeared on my sports blog, Girl on the River.