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Cleanse, detox, purify… the pursuit of being clean, wholesome and pure. Flicked through instagram lately? I certainly have, and each time I feel completely overwhelmed and bombarded with images of [well meaning I’m sure] health and nutrition “professionals” flashing their squeaky clean diets and #abshots. Have we gone a little #cleaneating crazy? If I don’t eat this way does that make me… dirty? Impure? Hmm.. I feel there is a problem brewing.
I would like to first point out the positives of this new emphasis on health and fitness in the social media realm. Any avenue which encourages people to put their health first, improve their nutrition or be a little more active is wonderful and far better than the alternative [health taking a backseat]. I do feel however, that from this a ‘clean eating culture’ has emerged, that only feeds into our already weight loss focused, thin idolising cultural ideals. Aiming to emulate the lifestyles or diets of these instagram gurus and then finding that it is near impossible, can lead to feelings of anxiety and guilt [particularly around food choices].
To get to the point, these instagrammers post what they want you to see. If they were to post a picture of the day that they grabbed fast food on the way to work, or when they had a movie night and feasted on candy and chocolate.. surely their followers would feel a little ripped off. They are the clean, the whole and the pure.. aren’t they? Trust me, they are not. This image is perpetuated by the selectiveness of social media, one can choose to always put their best food forward. So please, do not feel disheartened if the pursuit of cleanliness and nutritional purity seems outrageous or unobtainable – because it is just that! If these are the types of accounts you choose to follow, use them as inspiration for a new recipe idea or a fun outdoor work, but please don’t take them as gospel. Life is for living, not counting calories and additives. Not cutting out delicious carbohydrate or dairy foods [um cheese/heaven.. come on!!].
Real life happens when you start living authentically, being true to yourself and what works for you. If this means a sweet treat at night, then ok. If it means pasta twice a week, then this IS OK! If you haven’t worked out in a couple of days because you’ve been sick or busy, don’t self combust.. you will work out again.. and it does not mean you are lazy or lack will power. In this chaotic world we live in, health and nutrition definitely need to take a front seat [as often as possible], but not at the cost of loosing the joy and passion in food and in life.