Does extreme ‘clean eating’ do more harm than good?

Why you should think twice before swearing off ‘unhealthy’ foods forever


Clean eating is promoted as the antithesis of a diet. Proponents say: “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” Furthermore, fitness models and health bloggers associate eating clean with being “happy” and “healthy.” There’s no doubt many of the principles associated with “clean eating” are key to a healthier mind and body—less processed foods, limited alcohol and more vegetables come to mind.


But this is where things start to get sticky. Some people insist on cutting out gluten, dairy and sugar (including fruit)! Others cut out all animal products (vegans).

Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen’s private chef Allen Campbell reported the couple’s militant-like diet restricts nightshades, because they cause inflammation. “So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms or eggplants,” he said. “Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation.”


Other big players in restrictive eating include Vani Deva Hari A.K.A. “Food Babe.” The blogger advocates whole, organic and non-GMO foods only—urging readers to cut the “nasties” out of their food.


Buying organic produce is one thing, but is it really worth avoiding a restaurant dinner with friends because the menu doesn’t have a 100 percent organic option?


Jordan Younger, formerly known as the Blonde Vegan, lost thousands of readers when she transitioned away from a 100 percent vegan diet, attributing it to a “self-destructive fixation with clean eating and an obsessive focus on healthy, unprocessed foods.”

“I had ordered oatmeal in a restaurant and realized it was cooked with milk and not vegan. I freaked out and threw a tantrum. I was such an unhappy person,” she said.

What began as a healthy pursuit turned into “orthorexia,” a phrase coined in the 90s by San Francisco-based Dr. Steven Bratman. Bratman says the disorder is marked by a “fanaticism” for pure foods.

So what’s the takeaway here? Should we all just give up on healthy eating as obesity and the health risks associated with it continue to rise?

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Of course not! It is possible to adopt a healthier lifestyle that isn’t limited to an all-or-nothing approach.

Any woman who has been on a diet (which is pretty much all of us), knows what it’s like to eat “perfectly” for a week only to snap and let a warm chocolate chip cookie pass your lips. Maybe you only eat one or maybe you eat the whole tray. Either way, you feel ashamed and tell yourself you will start over again tomorrow.


There are so many problems with this type of mindset. You are living a lifestyle that isn’t maintainable—no matter how many times you’ve been told it is. Furthermore, by allowing yourself to have small indulgences on a regular basis, you are less likely to overeat or binge like it’s the last supper because you tell yourself you’re never going to have a piece of chocolate cake again.


Making sense? This type of balanced lifestyle is called “intuitive eating.” If you can learn to listen to what your body needs, you are much more likely to make healthier choices on a regular basis than if you constantly deprive yourself of all the things you think you “can’t” or aren’t supposed to have.

Don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Certified personal trainer Amanda Adams and registered dietician Ander Wilson built the Hot & Healthy Habits eCourse dedicated to educating women on why diets and detoxes don’t work along with promoting body diversity and saying goodbye to their love/hate relationship with food.


Adams said she used to be obsessed with everything she put into her mouth to the point of crying when she had three extra almonds.

“And all of this unhealthy fear and obsession was in the name of health and fitness or what I thought was health and fitness,” she said.

Although she was a mess on the inside, people praised her.

“On the outside, people were saying, ‘OMG, Amanda! You are so skinny, and your body looks ah-­‐maaaazing!’ ‘OMG, Amanda I want to do what you’re doing!’ But on the inside, my body was crashing,” she said.


Adams said she felt depressed and her energy was at an all-time low. She created the Hot & Healthy Habits eCourse with Wilson to show women how they sorted through the diet nonsense they had been fed for years.


“We can’t wait to show you how to still enjoy your weekends with friends and family and feel good about yourself. But most importantly. We can’t wait to show you that you’re not alone and nothing is wrong with you. Let us show you that living a healthy, balanced life (without dieting) really is possible,” Adams said.

Check out their #OMGNeverDietAgain movement here.

Like this? Then you’ll also enjoy:

The Dark Truth Behind Medically Approved Weight Loss Treatments

A Glass of Red Wine Is the Equivalent To One Hour At the Gym

How the Sugar Industry Fooled You for Years

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