There’s been a lot said recently about ‘clean eating’ and what it really means and as it’s something that I hear a lot of in the fitness industry I though I’d throw in my two cents. This programme from Grace Victory has brought the discussion about clean eating back to the forefront and I think it’s opened up a lot of people’s eyes.
If I look back 2 years in my fitness journey I was following the Honestly Healthy diet and eating a majority of vegan food with the occasional bits of goat cheese, fish and white meat. Yes, I was lean and slim but I was also lacking in energy to do all the different bits of training that I wanted to. I wasn’t really building any real muscle mass because looking back on it I definitely wasn’t eating enough for my body to grow muscle.
I’ve also followed the diet beloved of Crossfitters all over the world, the paleo diet which in its strict form eliminates dairy, grains, sugar and gluten leaving meat, veg and a fruit to live on. In fact it was this diet that created anxiety for me because I was genuinely scared of not being able to eat ‘paleo’ if I went out for dinner or to a friend’s house. I used to make excuses or prep food in advance to take with which for someone who loves food (and let’s face it, nearly everyone) is not a healthy or happy way to live.
I fully accept that there are people who have genuine dietary allergies and intolerances but a majority of the population is not affected by this and therefore shouldn’t stay away from things like gluten and dairy. I have IBS that is sparked by excess gluten consumption in stressful times but that doesn’t stop me from chowing down on sandwiches, croissants and burgers as long as I’m not in a stressed state of mind.
Having experienced clean food obsessions and emotional binging, I can probably say that my attitude towards food and my body is the most peaceful that it’s ever been.
Yes, my legs jiggle when I run, yes I have sports bra bulge and yes my thighs chafe if I wear shorts to workout but I also feel beautiful, I have energy and I have zero feelings of guilt when I eat the food that I want to. Not that I’m eating chips every day and I do try to stick to a 70/30 rule – 70% unprocessed homemade food, 30% whatever I fancy. The reason it’s not 100% whatever I fancy is because to stay healthy, have energy and be able to progress in my fitness challenges I need to fuel my body correctly and for me that means meat, fish, rice, pasta, lots and lots of vegetables, some dairy, some bread and a lot of water.
And I think that’s my point. This process works for me but it might not work for the next person. I can argue until I’m blue in the face about the benefits of micronutrients and unprocessed food but ultimately you have to experiment to find out what works best for you. Just because someone else has killer abs and only eats a high-protein, high-fat diet that doesn’t mean that it will work for you.
As I’ve said before, you do you and I’ll do me and let’s just let everyone get on with his or her vibes. Are you in?