Why I Stopped Eating Clean

04/02/2015 12:04 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2015
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Clean eating is a huge buzzword at the moment. While I am all for healthy eating and living I just can't get behind the term "clean eating."

Clean eating is certainly a very loaded term. If what I'm eating is clean, then other food must be dirty. If what I'm eating is good food, and not bad food, I can feel better about myself. Clean eating comes with a side serving of superiority. It means that should you stray and eat a food not considered clean, you will end up with the horrible after-taste of guilt and shame.

Most of the information available about clean eating diets focuses more on the foods that you can't eat; the foods that are then, by definition, unclean. When we think of food from this mindset we become consumed by thoughts of everything that is off-limits. When you are focused on healthy eating, you shouldn't be in a constant battle to eat cleaner, to eat less and to lose weight. Instead you should immerse yourself in all of the amazing foods that taste good and that nourish your body.

There is a huge difference when you are eating to heal or nurture yourself, compared to when you are purely trying to change your body.

To me, healthy eating isn't just about what we eat. It's about how we eat and how we feel about what we eat.

Food is just food. It is not good. It is not bad. It is just food. What you eat does not make you good or bad. It shouldn't make you feel guilty (while we're at it -- let's ditch the term guilty treat too). And it certainly doesn't make you better than anyone else. Yes, some foods will nourish you more than others. Yes, some foods will heal your body more than others. And yes, we should gravitate towards eating more of those foods. But what we eat doesn't define us.

What you eat doesn't determine whether you've had a good or a bad day. It doesn't dictate how hard you need to work out. I'd rather have a few pieces of dark chocolate, savoured and enjoyed, than none at all. Especially if that restriction involves me constantly fixating on how badly I want to eat that piece of chocolate.

I'd rather enjoy the way that food makes me feel, than worry endlessly about whether 1400 calories is too many or not. I would rather fill my body with nutrient-rich and tasty food, than eat overly-processed but low in fat and low in calories food. I'd rather have flexibility in my diet, than feel restricted, limited and unhappy.

I'm tired of obsessing over food. I just want to enjoy it. I want to feed my body food that makes it feel good. I want to eat in a way that makes me feel energized, nourished and alive.

How do I do that? I combine a big dose of self-love, mix it with some self-respect, throw in a huge handful of nourishment, and top it off with dollop of ease and enjoyment.

So yes, while some people would say that I'm eating cleaner than ever before. I, for one, am not. Instead I would say that I am eating with more ease than ever before. I am eating in a way that doesn't make me feel restricted. That doesn't make me feel superior to other people. And that doesn't leave me caught in a cycle of cravings and guilt. Personally, when I stopped eating clean I started to enjoy and experience food in a way that I always hoped I could.