No doubt if you read anything about meals, meal planning, healthy eating, or some similar subject, you’ve come across the term “clean eating.” I am not one who gloms on quickly to new buzz words, and this one is no exception. In fact, you could probably say I just plain don’t like it. So what IS clean eating? And is it (or whatever it means) something you should be paying attention to?
Clean eating is one of those terms like “social justice.” It has so many possible meanings, that it really has none. What is clean? Likely most of us can agree on things like vegetables and fruits, but what about meat? Is red meat “clean”? Fish? Chicken?
Are Grains Okay?
And then what about grains? All the paleo people out there say grains are bad. Are they “dirty” if you are following a paleo diet? Most mainstream nutritionists consider whole grains to be a wise choice for daily consumption. Dr. John McDougall has been promoting a very low fat and protein diet for decades–one that is high in whole grains, fiber, vegetables, and fruit. He has seen remarkable results with this diet (as have I).
Can I Have Some See’s Candy if I’m eating clean?
So, who is right? Is it “dirty” to have one piece of See’s candy per week as a treat? I have lived long enough to realize that eating foods that might promote weight gain or poor health in large quantities can be eaten in moderation. This, of course, assumes you have some control over what you eat, and won’t go eating a full bag of Doritos (which I may be inclined to do, so they are not in my kitchen).
What about a reasonable slice of birthday cake? I make all cakes with liquid egg stuff (real eggs, but with the fat taken out), and natural applesauce in place of the oil. True, the mix has white flour and white sugar, but a piece a few times a year? Is that really going to kill you, or sabotage your mostly healthy diet? I don’t think so.
Moderation with clean eating is Where It’s At
Don’t get me wrong here. If you don’t want to indulge in a piece of cake, a glass of wine now and then, some chips and salsa, or whatever, that is absolutely fine. Just don’t be ragging on everyone else about it, and bragging about how “clean” your diet is, or how only eating clean will get you in the shape you want to be in. It’s just not true. I’m living proof. I drink wine a couple of times per week, I eat pizza on Sunday nights, and I have that piece of See’s Dark Butterchew once a week or so. Oh, so very delicious.
Most of the time, however, you will find me eating chicken breast, ground lean turkey, fruits, vegetables (that I force myself to eat), whole grains, skim milk, etc. Fortunately, I like most of these things, and over the years I have found many, many recipes that I love. I’m not a very adventurous eater, so eating relatively the same things over and over doesn’t bother me. I get my variety in other areas of life. Like workouts.
Let me know what you think.