Clean Eating? *Sips overpriced Matcha latte*  | DFF Opinion Piece


I started my healthy eating journey about 5 years ago by reading blogs like mine, waking up everyday excited to hear all about the new superfood that would do wonders for my skin, solve indigestion and help me lose weight. I was 18 and spending 85% of my college allowance on Spirulina, Avocado and Almond milk. I don’t recall fact checking any of the information I was reading, all I knew was if one of the many health food bloggers I followed said it, then I’ve have it with an extra side of coconut oil.

In 2014 after voracious consumption of blogs, I decided to also become an author in this space by launching and I settled nicely into the 3.7 trillion dollar gluten-free, vegan, paleo, rainbow smoothie, raw food, low carb, high protein, gluten free, ketogenic clean eating industry. My posts have helped me amass a following of thousands who are just waiting for me to tell them what to eat for dinner (P.s I have a dope Steak and potatoes recipe coming tonight) and I even won a Cosmo award (yeah, I was surprised too) and as a few of you know, next week I’m taking the leap of faith by leaving my 9 to 5 to build a career in this same industry.

Ironically, now more than ever I feel the need to take an objective stance ‘against’ clean eating.  What exactly is ‘clean eating’? Well, every one and their grandma has their own version, just ask a Paleo enthusiast and a Vegan the question and be prepared for the argument of your life. The overwhelming information surrounding clean eating isn’t the only problem, the term “clean” eating also alludes that certain foods are “dirty”,  snail slime, puke covered, bottom of the gutter dirty.

Guys, it’s just a bloody cookie.

This in-depth article by The Guardian is everything I want to say in a nutshell (It’s a long read but worth it). It discussed things like, Orthorexia  a condition that describes the negative effects eating too clean can have on mental health. The obsession with healthy eating often affects your average “healthy eaters” like me and it feeds off compliments associated dieting i.e I post a picture of a green smoothie and you like my post and tell me how much you wish your fridge looked like mine or how my body is “goals”. So I decide to have another green smoothie for lunch instead of a balanced meal and then another one for dinner because no food could surely measure up to the “purity” of a green smoothie. I create an obsession for eating only clean pure food, because my body couldn’t possibly cope with a little bit of sugar or fat or preservatives. It’s pure whole food or nothing. The analogy here is a flawed slippery slope but you you get the drift.

Side bar: These slippery slope arguments are common in a lot of wellness blogs, learn to read between the lines and fact check. 

That’s another problem, healthy food bloggers who have created this ideal of health, wellness and beauty, turning the clean eating industry into a cult like environment. Was I a part of the problem? Maybe but not anymore. While, I don’t deny the real problem unhealthy food habits cause in our society; according to the World Health Organization “Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.” I have to say that things are not so rosy on the other end of the spectrum.

Healthy is somewhere in between.

Want to hear something funny? My friends and family often call me out when I eat anything that isn’t remotely healthy at our gatherings. “Ohbut you’re @Dubaifitfoodie” like my eating “clean” is a validation in the health industry. Gbemi eats “pure” “whole” food so that must be why she looks the way she does does.  I want to say that I always brush their comments off, but the truth is that it makes me feel guilty and judged. Should food have this much power over me? Nope, I don’t think so. You cannot live your best life if you cramped up and obese from to much processed trash food, but you also can’t live your best life if you’re scared of eating a bloody doughnut.

Bottom line: My role is not to tell you what to eat, but to share my experience as another human just like you. I will not abuse my privilege of food. I will not be scared of food and I will not over do it. Balance is #MajorKey

Follow me on Instagram @DubaiFitFoodie

Food, WellnessGbemi Giwa