You’ve heard every influencer, company, magazine or ad use the word “clean” to describe a diet or product. The word clean refers to a food that only contains whole or real ingredients that one can identify. In theory, clean means better because the ingredients in your food are wholesome without preservatives or chemicals. People tend to think that clean foods are more healthful which in some cases, they are.
However, the problem with labeling a food as “clean” means that other foods/products are therefore dirty. There is a negative association with the word dirty and a positive association with the clean. If one eats “clean” then they feel good about themselves. But if one eats a product that is not clean then they are dirty and feel guilty about eating that particular food.
This is highly problematic, and the diet industry has made millions of dollars on labeling foods as such. What is great about the clean food movement is that there are more companies eliminating harmful chemicals and preservatives that have no business being in food. But the impact that this has on consumers is powerful.
Diet culture has propitiated that the only way to be well is to “eat clean” when there are so many other ways to sustain health. Using this word to describe food is harmful because it makes people internalize and associate a feeling with the food they eat. When in reality, all food is fuel. Food shouldn’t make one feel any particular way when they eat it, other than good!
There is only one way to eat clean… wash and rinse your vegetables before you eat them. If you do this, you’ll be a clean eater for life.