It seems like the latest trend in dieting is Eating Clean. Capital E, Capital C.
Disclaimer: I’ve read none of the Eat Clean books. From what I understand, the plan seems pretty great–eat lots of complex carbs, veggies, fruits, legumes, organic dairy, et cetera. All things I like. I’m sure Tosca Reno is a nice lady.
But for the life of me, the phrase “Eat Clean” makes me want to go on a stabbing rampage.
Clean. What’s the opposite of clean? Dirty. Dirty is bad, and shameful, and wrong, and lurks in vans with candy and chloroform.
My completely unscientific opinion is that women, especially those who are seeking out “diets” (the original book is entitled The Eat Clean Diet, so obviously, gonna attract dieters), are guilty enough about food. We stash the ice cream under the bananas in the shopping cart. We never clean our plates in public and compare our plates to the other women at the table. If you’re like me, you raid the fridge when your significant other is away. (Not anymore. But I did.)
Calling it The Eat Clean Diet means that when you’re not eating the recommended foods, you’re dirty. And bad. And doing it wrong. Hey, awesome, let’s throw another complex on the pile of women’s various psychological hang-ups!
Why do we need to place a qualifier on foods? Good, bad, clean, dirty, healthy, unhealthy. They’re all food. There’s a time and place for all of them. Even the Double Down. Yes, we should eat more vegetables than Twinkies. But should we skip the Twinkies altogether if we find them delicious and really enjoy them? NO.
I also think that the “clean” versus “dirty” distinction smacks of…arrogance, maybe? (Note: I’m not saying that people who eat clean are arrogant.) What I AM saying, though, is that someone saying “I eat CLEAN” to me would automatically make me think “Yikes, I must eat DIRTY then” and feel all self-conscious and whatnot. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–there is absolutely NOTHING dirty, wrong, or shameful about eating a slice of apple pie made with real butter, sugar, and apples.
My objection is this–do we need to go there? Why can’t this be called “The Back to Basics Diet” or “Don’t Eat Things You Cannot Pronounce”? What do we GAIN from these terms?
What do you think?
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