The Problem With “Clean Eating”

This could very well be an unpopular opinion of mine, but I’m going to share it anyways. I have a huge problem with the term “clean eating.” Now I can guess at what you’re thinking, “What could possibly be wrong with healthy eating?” I don’t have a problem with healthy eating, I think that eating balanced meals while still eating what you want (intuitive eating is my jam) is amazing. What I have a problem with is the other negativity that comes with identifying some types of eating as clean. The problem with this is that the flip side of having some types of eating or some types of food being viewed as “clean” is that others are then “dirty.”

Let’s look at some other things in life that are sorted into categories of clean or dirty.

  • Laundry
  • Home
  • Furniture
  • Bedroom
  • Dishes
  • Teeth
  • People

When you look at these things and you think about the connotation that these things are labelled with when they are dirty, it’s not very pretty. If you see a person who for whatever reason has poor hygiene, what would you think? Would you look down on this person because they are less clean than you? Would you wonder what is wrong with them that causes them to be dirty?

Let’s look at a home. When you were growing up, did your mom or dad ever get really stressed before having company over? By this I mean did they ever run around trying to clean every part of the house because they couldn’t seem to stand the thought of their company seeing them living in anything but a clean home?

What do these things tell us about how we view things that are dirty? It shows that we think they are bad, not worthy of being seen. This is exactly what “clean eating” is doing to certain foods. It is saying that there are some foods that are worthy and that are right, while there are others that are dirty and deserve to be eaten with feelings of shame or guilt.

When my eating disorder was at its peak, I masked my symptoms with exercising and “clean eating.” I could not tell you the amount of times I posted on Instagram or Facebook about a workout I had done or a meal I had just eaten, looking for some kind of validation that I was doing something right. When in reality, I was exercising to the point of passing out most days, and I was purging almost all of the “clean” food I ate. I remember feeling that if I was eating food that was not socially viewed as “clean” then I would have to work out longer, deny myself of my next meal, or ensure I purged until there was nothing but bile left in my stomach.

This is what diet culture is doing to our society. It is creating the belief that some foods warrant the eater to feel shame and guilt. It is telling people that certain meals are “cheating,” NEWSFLASH: eating is not a game. It is something we need to do in order to fuel our bodies and live. Diet culture tells us that food = shame. But what I wish I had known is that food = life. I wish I had known that there can be moderation with food and that food does not have to be shrouded in shame and guilt. I wish that I had known more, and known better. I wish that we did not live in a world that pushes these beliefs down our throats, beliefs that contribute to a culture promoting disordered eating.

I wish I knew so many things that I know now. But I cannot go back and change what I didn’t know then. So I am telling you all in the hopes that the mistakes that I made could potentially be avoided by another.

Surf’s Up

“Ride the wave. One day it will be over.”

The world is an ocean. It is wide, vast, and infinite. Sometimes I feel like we get thrown into this ocean of a world with no tools, no lessons, and no metaphoric flotation devices. Just like an ocean, the world has incoming and outgoing tides. There are times when the waves seem insurmountable, and there are times when they seem small enough to walk over; but the one constant is that life will have its waves.

People tell us about the waves that life can throw at us. They have no problem explaining the potential difficulties we may encounter, but they neglect to tell us what to do when we encounter them. They tell us that all of life’s waves will one day end, and to simply ride the wave until its end.

Which, for me, begs the question: How can I ride the wave if I was never taught to swim?

Before parents let their children swim in the deep end by themselves, they enroll them in swimming lessons. They prepare them for the dangers that the deep end can possess. I think there is something to be said for preparedness. I think that it makes logical sense that people are better equipped to swim through the deep ends of life when they have been given the proper tools and training to do so.

Like the ocean, life is an unpredictable beast. It can throw things at us that we never even thought possible, it will try to drown us. But would we not be better suited to handle these challenges if we were given proper tools? I understand, the unpredictable nature of life makes it hard to prepare for the unknown. I don’t even think that’s what I’m suggesting. It’s impossible to prepare for the unknown, that’s the very premise of unknown things. But when it comes to things like death, and grieving, why are we never taught how to cope? Why are we never taught to swim?

I look at my life and there are times when I would love nothing more than to simply ride the wave. The problem is that the world never taught me how. They never gave me floaties, swimming lessons, or a fludder board. They sent me into the world’s ocean and told me to ride the wave. But I never learned how to swim.


Where is the Light on Men’s Mental Health?

“Be a man.”
“Men don’t cry.”
“Men are strong.”
“A man does what he must- in spite of personal consequences.”

Why do we tell men that feelings are these awful things and that crying is bad? Why do we teach young boys to shut their feelings out and ignore them in the spirit of “being a man”? We live in a world that values braun and bravery over sensitivity and emotional intelligence and it is an extremely harmful way of thinking.

The world has made great strides with regards to the conversations surrounding mental health, but I believe that there is still a long way to go, especially when it comes to men’s mental health. We have come a long way in terms of our thinking surrounding mental health, it is not always looked at as a weakness or something made up. But there are still some really negative thoughts and voices out there in the world.

Something I have noticed is the drastic differences in the ways women’s and men’s mental health are looked at. Women are typically seen as fragile, or delicate (I don’t agree with this but that’s for another time and place), and it’s almost like these stereotypes make it easier for people to hear about women living with mental illnesses.  Men are typically seen as strong, brave, and without emotions. They grow up being told to “be a man” and that “men don’t cry.” What kind of people does this breed? This teaches young men that their feelings and emotions are things to push away and that they are bad. This teaches young men that they have nowhere to go to ask for help if they need it because they will be seen as weak, or scared. It’s stereotypes like these that seem to make it difficult for people to understand that men can and do struggle with mental illnesses.

Why do we send children into the world thinking that they will be looked down upon or seen as less than for reaching out for help? Why do we do this and then wonder why they encounter problems?

This is something that I struggle to grasp. Mental illness does not discriminate when it comes to the people it affects, men and women can and do both suffer from all mental illnesses- and we know this. We have been shown the statistics, and we have heard people speak out. So why do we continue to perpetuate stereotypes that encourage men to hide their problems in secret?

In recent years, there has been an onslaught of women of notoriety coming forward with their stories of living with mental illness. While there have been a few men of similar statuses to share their own stories, there seems to be a far smaller amount. Where is the voice for men’s mental health? Where is the voice telling men that feelings are okay and that it’s okay to cry or ask for help? Where is the voice telling them that those stereotypes, and those moulds they were told to fit into are wrong? Where is the voice telling them that their feelings are valid and that they are just as worthy of support as anyone else and that if they reach out for support it doesn’t make them less of a man?

I don’t know where the voice is that can give us an updated definition of a man, but for the world’s sake, I hope we find it soon.

Night Always Ends

Maybe tonight seems
too dark. But,
please remember that
the moon and the night
sky always make room
for the sun to rise. Proving
that even the darkest and
most seemingly endless
of nights will give
birth to a new
day. Your tomorrow
can always be 
brighter than the 
darkness of your
pain today. And no
matter what demons
you are battling; I
promise that though
the fight may be
exhausting, that you
will always be stronger
than any demon
you face. And you
will win this fight.

I Wasn’t Even Good Enough at Being Sick

I thought that
because I could not
count each of my 
that I was not sick.

I was not
keeping down more 
than one meal a day
but that one meal
made me
that I was not sick.

I searched for
hours and
looked at pictures of girls
who were ill and I
saw that I did not look like
so I decided that I was not sick.

So I hid and I
told myself that
until I could count
all if my bones
and I was passing out,
that only then would I
be sick.


Maybe tonight you
feel like giving up. 
Maybe tonight is
full of impenetrable darkness.
Maybe tonight it
seems like nothing is worth it.
Maybe tonight you
are lonely and isolated from the world. 
Maybe tonight your
dreams feel out of reach.
Maybe tonight it
all feels like too much.
Maybe tonight it
seems easy to not wake up.
Maybe tomorrow will
be better;
please wake up to find out.


A life should not
be spent trying
to become the richest, or the
thinnest, or the most
well known. 

A life should not
be spent purging one’s
self of empathy, love
and warmth;
and bingeing on
followers, and unattainable

Because at the
end of the day
and at the end of
the world,

our bones will
all decay the same.