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“Clean” Eating

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What comes to your mind when you hear the words “Clean Eating”?

I associate this phrase with the following:
💦washing your food before cooking and eating
💦 avoiding eating spoiled and expired products
💦 not eating from the floor (the 5-seconds rule is a fake, after all)

All jokes aside, but this trend has become quite popular in the past decade, popularized by numerous influencers. With no clear definition, the interpretation of what clean eating really is, vary from consuming only organic products and whole foods to raw foodism and veganism.
What bothers me the most about clean eating however, is not the lack of solid concept leading to a wide range of interpretations, but the underlying assumption that the opposite way of eating would be the “dirty” one.

Moralizing food can be subtle, yet still very harmful. By demonizing certain types of foods (“carbs are evil”, “sugar is a killer”), and glorifying others, we create a dichotomous system of “being good” or “being bad”, depending on your food choices. Gobbled that cookie? – you are a worthless lazy pig! Choked on, but finished that salad? – hooray to an admirable embodiment of willpower!

While I won’t doubt for a sec all the health benefits of eating whole foods, I still prefer using neutral and factual terms to describe food (such as, unprocessed, ultra-processed, raw, organic, plant-based, etc.) and avoiding terms that imply any moral qualities. There is no food for moralization in eating, unless the food was stolen.

What are your thoughts on food and eating semantics?

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