The clean-eat­ing move­ment is get­ting a bad rap in some cir­cles, es­pe­cially on­line, for be­ing as­so­ci­ated with disor­dered eat­ing. Here’s what our res­i­dent nu­tri­tion­ist and colum­nist Jonny Bow­den thinks about the neg­a­tive press.

Clean Eating - - CONTENTS - JONNY BOW­DEN, PhD, CNS Board-cer­ti­fied nu­tri­tion spe­cial­ist, mo­ti­va­tional speaker, au­thor and ex­pert in the ar­eas of weight loss and health.

In some cir­cles, clean eat­ing is get­ting a bad rap. Jonny Bow­den ex­am­ines why cer­tain folks take is­sue with a clean diet.

When I was about seven years old, I de­vel­oped an ob­ses­sive­com­pul­sive dis­or­der. In my case, the pri­mary symp­tom was a laser-sharp con­cern with the cracks in the side­walk in my neigh­bor­hood in Jack­son Heights, New York. It soon mor­phed into a whole mythol­ogy of ter­ri­ble things that would hap­pen to all sorts of peo­ple were I to vi­o­late the in­creas­ingly com­plex rules of crack avoid­ing. (In the uni­verse of my mind, some cracks car­ried more se­vere penal­ties than oth­ers.)

Thank­fully, I came out of that pe­riod with only the nor­mal amount of ob­ses­sive­ness that’s in the DNA of any writer. But my child­hood foray into the throes of an ob­ses­sive­com­pul­sive dis­or­der taught me a lot about hu­man be­hav­ior.

Which brings us to the ele­phant in the clean-eat­ing room: or­thorexia.

Or­thorexia ner­vosa is an eat­ing dis­or­der in which peo­ple tor­ture them­selves over the “pu­rity” of the food they eat, in a man­ner that af­fects their over­all well-be­ing. Orthorex­ics don’t share a diet phi­los­o­phy – what they share is a rigid ad­her­ence to or­tho­doxy. It could be Pa­leo, ve­gan, Kosher or the old Billy Bob Thorn­ton rule of only eat­ing foods that are orange. The par­tic­u­lar food phi­los­o­phy doesn’t mat­ter, nor does it mat­ter if the phi­los­o­phy is a good one or not. What mat­ters is the ob­ses­sion; in this case, the play­ing field Must hap­pens to be food or­tho­doxy.

And, ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­net, the clean-eat­ing move­ment is fos­ter­ing this con­di­tion.

OK, let’s all take a deep breath. 2rthorexia is de­fined as an un­healthy ob­ses­sion with foods that one con­sid­ers healthy. Should we there­fore not ad­vo­cate for healthy

eat­ing? Blam­ing the con­di­tion of or­thorexia on the de­sire for healthy foods is like blam­ing the St. Bernard dog for the avalanche.

It’s not that I’m not sym­pa­thetic to orthorex­ics. Be­fore I en­tered the health and fit­ness field in 1 0, , was a doc­toral can­di­date in psy­chol­ogy. , have whatÚs called an A%' × all but dis­ser­ta­tion Then, when , be­gan my ca­reer as a trainer at (Tuinox )it­ness, , saw more than my share of peo­ple with eat­ing dis­or­ders, and my un­der­stand­ing of and com­pas­sion for them was only deep­ened by my train­ing in psy­chol­ogy.

2ne par­tic­u­lar dis­or­der we saw a lot of was whatÚs called ex­er­cise bu­limia. 3eo­ple would come in and run on the tread­mills ob­ses­sively, Moy­lessly and fran­ti­cally, try­ing to burn off the calo­ries they guiltily al­lowed them­selves at lunch. We were trained to spot those folks and of­fer them re­sources for help.

+ereÚs what we did not do %lame the tread­mill!

,Úve been writ­ing for Clean Eat­ing al­most since the be­gin­ning. Any­one who knows my work knows that , am prob­a­bly the most anti-orthodox nu­tri­tion­ist on the planet. 0y tag line for years was ÜRogue 1utri­tion­ist.Ý , wrote ar­ti­cles like, Ü, Am 1ot <our *uru.Ý 0y fa­vorite book in grad school was If You Meet the Bud­dha on the Road, Kill Him!, which ba­si­cally said, Ü'ude, donÚt fol­low gu­rus. )ind your own path.Ý That’s been my mantra for my en­tire pro­fes­sional life. The only ab­so­lute in my life is the com­mand­ment, Ü'onÚt hurt peo­ple or an­i­mals.Ý %eyond that, , be­lieve in em­pow­er­ing each per­son to find their own way. And ,Úm old enough to have learned that there are many, many roads to in­di­vid­ual health and hap­pi­ness.

So with that in mind, let me tell you what clean eat­ing re­ally stands for. It stands for eat­ing real food made with­out a lot of un­nec­es­sary pro­cessed in­gre­di­ents and ad­di­tives. (at­ing foods as close to their nat­u­ral state as pos­si­ble. Eat­ing foods that you could hunt, fish, gather or pluck. (at­ing food your great-grand­mother would have recogni]ed. (at­ing food that spoils. Eat­ing food that doesn’t have a bunch of un­pro­nounce­able in­gre­di­ents, whether itÚs la­beled Ünat­u­ralÝ or oth­er­wise.

The clean-eat­ing move­ment is also about a spirit × itÚs a com­mu­nity with the shared goal of im­prov­ing our own health, the health of our fam­i­lies and the planet. That’s it. We share dif­fer­ent ideas, recipes, nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion and eat­ing philoso­phies. We cel­e­brate fla­vors and tex­tures and other lovely Tual­i­ties of real foods that get flat­tened by in­dus­trial pro­cess­ing. The clean-eat­ing move­ment × and, ,Úm proud to say, this maga]ine × is char­ac­teri]ed by open­ness and cu­rios­ity, not au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism.

2h, and one more thing. When you meet some­one who tells you that his or her def­i­ni­tion of ÜcleanÝ is the only one thatÚs Üre­alÝ and all the rest are im­posters, walk away. No­body gets to dic­tate an­other per­sonÚs Mour­ney. Clean eat­ing is­nÚt about some­body elseÚs idea of per­fec­tion. ,tÚs about nur­tur­ing a health­ier and more con­scious re­la­tion­ship with the food we eat.

To blame the con­di­tion of or­thorexia on the clean-eat­ing move­ment is like blam­ing um­brel­las for the rain.

The clean-eat­ing move­ment – and, I’m proud to say, this mag­a­zine – is char­ac­ter­ized by open­ness and cu­rios­ity, not au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism.

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