Clean-eating is hard. First fat was “bad”. “Don’t eat fat, you’ll get fat. You’ll get high cholesterol. You’ll have a heart attack and die.” So the industry went nuts and foods were made “low-fat” and crammed with sugar and salt to maintain the flavour. Then someone else did a study and found that, oh, actually, sorry guys, fat was okay, it was the SUGAR that was the problem. So then sugar was cut from yogurts and soft drinks and replaced with sweeteners. Then we realised that no, no, no it’s SALT that’s the problem. Then no wait, it’s dairy. Or maybe it’s alcohol… oh and stop eating fruit because all of your teeth will fall out. And now? Now everyone’s started going crazy for protein, so we’ve got protein powders and protein cookies and protein cheese and protein PIZZA (wtf?!).
And I wish that we weren’t so stupid to buy into this. I’d love to believe that the general public has a good handle on general nutrition: that we know that fat is important (in fact CRUCIAL to any diet) and that we shouldn’t eat too much sugar or too much salt and we need enough protein blah blah blah. But in reality, a huge percentage of us haven’t a clue how to eat.
So to all of those people, I just want to make one thing completely and utterly clear.
Just because a label says “LOW FAT” does. not. make. it. good. for. you.
It does not make it healthier than the original full fat option. Just because your bagel is “high protein” does not mean it’s what you should be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Drinking diet coke everyday isn’t any better than drinking normal coke. At the end of the day, if something has been PROCESSED, it’s not something you should be eating regularly. I was raised on whole foods and vegetables and full fat butter and cheese and everything like that, because I was told that food in its most natural form is what the basis of any diet should be. And I still hold very true to this outlook.
A little bit of full fat cheese is better than 5 slabs of low-fat, processed cheese. A couple squares of pure chocolate will be better for you than your low-calorie high sugar sweets. YES, in terms of losing or gaining weight, it comes down to the number of calories you consume, not the quality of the food you are consuming. But in terms of your general health and body function, the quality of the food has got to be considered.
“is this food good or bad?”
I get asked quite often “Bon, is this good for me?” or “Bon, I’m going to have a curry tonight – is that bad for me?”. And to all these people I say, listen: nothing is inherently good or bad for you. Let’s just clear that up. Too much of anything won’t be great for your body, even the “good” foods. Fruit is fantastic, but eating 10 apples every day will damage your teeth. Vegetables are great, but the high fibre content will wreak havoc on your stomach if you’re eating 3 broccoli’s a day. Anything in abundance will have its side effects.
But the problem isn’t that we’re getting 10 a day instead of our recommended 5. My concern is that too much of our diet is coming from foods which have no nutritional value. Sure fruit is high in sugar, but better to get your sugar from a pure, natural source than from a packet of gummy bears which are “reduced sugar” so they’re okay for you right? Do you have any idea how that shit is made? Of course you don’t. “Clean eating” is by no means a black and white topic but there is one thing that is completely clear:
The more times something has been processed or the more ingredients it has, the less you should eat it.
Simple as that. Gluten free bread isn’t better than normal bread. Soy milk isn’t inherently better for you than cow’s milk. Sure if you have an allergy to lactose or gluten, it’s the better option, but these foods and drinks are so highly processed to achieve a viable equivalent to the original, that you’re probably better off going without.
You think you’re doing the right thing because you mix your protein powder in with your oats in the morning, and you eat “protein” bagels instead of regular bagels, and you eat the low-fat yoghurt and milk instead of the full fat. But do you really know what’s going on behind those labels? Do you really think that protein powder is “good” for you? I was taking protein powder every day for around 6 months and it made me sick. I don’t touch the stuff now. I asked myself “what am I putting in my body?” and I didn’t know the answer. If you don’t know what is in your food, why are you eating it?
Look at your labels
Foods are being marketed as “healthy” because they’ve got “LOW-FAT, HIGH-PROTEIN” plastered all over the label. This doesn’t make it “good”. This doesn’t make it “clean”. Your corn flakes aren’t good for you because they’re “high in vitamin XYZ”. They’re high in these vitamins because any nutritional value in the original form of the food was stripped in the production process, and so manufacturers add vitamins back in to “enrich” them. You see? Every single one of these items is advertised to sell, to make money. Do you honestly think these companies are genuinely concerned with your health and well-being? That they really care that their customers are getting their daily vitamin dose of B12? NO. Of course they don’t. They are completely mugging us off and we are all falling for it. They know that protein is all the rage right now, so they’re making anything and everything “high-protein”. Because they know that it’s appealing. That it will SELL. So quit buying it. Quit putting stuff into your body that was made in a factory. Not sure what aspartame is? Can’t pronounce monosodium glutamate? Thought ascorbic acid was something you used in a chemistry class? THEN STOP PUTTING IT IN YOUR BODY.
so what do i do?
You want to know how to eat? Eat simple. Eat smart. Eat basic. Eat things which you know came from a tree or a field or a chicken. Avoid buying anything in a packet, or with 25 ingredients listed on the back. If you can’t pronounce half of the items in it, don’t buy it. If you doubt where something came from or how it was made, don’t eat it. It’s the most basic rule, but it’s so easy, and it cuts out all the crap.
Be smart. Pick up foods. Read labels. Be more aware of what you are buying, and what you are consuming. You have a responsibility to your own body and your own health to stop feeding it this stuff. So if the ingredients list looks like a question from your high school chemistry exam, put that shit back on the shelf.
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