You’re a nutritionist?!

Whenever I tell people I’m studying Nutrition there’s this underlying judgment that I’m going to be unbelievably ‘clean’ with my food, crazy picky and judgemental, or someone that just eats ‘rabbit food’. Firstly, I hate the description of food or diet as ‘clean’, as it insinuates that other foods are intrinsically ‘dirty’ which can trigger feeling guilty around food – which lets face it is not what life is all about. I’ve been there and I tell ya it ain’t fun. The label ‘clean eating’ comes originally from good intentions… lets face it we’ve probably all used the hashtag when instagramming a healthy salad bowl or what not. The intentions are essentially eating more veg, fruit, wholegrains, non-processed foods, nuts, seeds, unsaturated fats, you know the drill… and these are all great things to add to your diet, so what’s the issue? Or maybe the better question is – what has become the issue?

I feel the #cleaneating brigade has given rise to many pseudoscientific claims, food shaming, and the misguided notion that if you’re not eating in this ‘clean’ way you are doing wrong. I do believe in food for wellness, otherwise I wouldn’t be studying nutrition, but this is not just the food you put in your mouth but the overall relationship with food. This guilt ridden feeling when choosing food, or anxiety when being asked to eat out, or counting calories and macros, swapping rice for cauliflower bits, or seeing a #cleaneating bikini clad model having a ‘health’ shake for lunch does not encourage a healthy mindset around diet. Orthorexia (an obsession with a healthful eating) has reached headlines over the recent years as a result of this cleaner diet and lifestyle campaign, whereby a person’s diet behaviour becomes compulsive to reduce the guilt and anxiety surrounding ‘unhealthy’ foods.

Nutrition is far more than just healthy food it’s having a healthy balance and positive mindset around life, food and health overall. It is enjoying what you eat, when you eat and who you eat with. It’s a balance and guilt should not play a part. I don’t believe that any one person’s diet should be bashed, that’s not my job, but I will not use the term clean eating. So yeah you’ll see me eating a pizza, a burger or chugging a couple of glasses of vino. Sue me.