We’re subjected to pictures and examples of meals with virtuous nourishment or “clean” eats on a daily basis. Online, on television, in magazines it’s insane. “Clean,” as it applies to consuming food, can be described as taking in minimally processed, nutrient dense, smaller meals that contain few ingredients. Those who eat this way also aim to eliminate processed foods, preservatives, chemicals, saturated/trans fats and sugar. Are the meals balanced? Sure. Are the meals delicious? You bet. Are the meals enough? Sometimes. Well, it’s debatable. Let’s explore.
Off the tip of my brain a sample “clean” breakfast might consist of a lean, mean, and obscenely green smoothie with a sprinkle of ground flax seed for healthy good fat measure. A “clean” lunch might be a mashed hard-boiled egg with mustard on a whole grain tortilla, a dish of cubed melon and a scant handful of raw (and organic) almonds. “Clean” dinner? Try poached fish served alongside a thin smear of hummus, a lemon wedge and a green bean. Ok, two beans (and they can be long.) I kid. Yet self-proclaimed nutritionists and media forums may suggest restricting more than just ultra-processed food, bad fats and sugars when sitting down to a “clean” meal. Do you get what I’m implying? Don’t get me wrong. Scientific research continues to discover and document the benefits of consuming a variety of minimally processed food. Combine these health benefits with piercing colors and a stunning presentation… “clean” meals are a true work of art. All 250 calories worth. I’m totally kidding again. Mostly.
Does anyone else catch sight of a “clean” meal and get the feeling that it’s a little stingy on the calorie front? Not always of course but sometimes I think, “What a lovely snack, oh wait…my bad. That’s someone’s dinner.” Diligently consuming and feeling satisfied from three square 200-300 artfully arranged calories perplexes me. Supporting an equally encouraged active lifestyle requires more than just Resting Energy Requirements. So during National Nutrition Month, let’s simply distinguish “clean” from “extreme” and remember that “clean” eating does not mean undereating or overeating for that matter. It is our personal responsibility to feed a relevant variable that is often overlooked during the hype. That is, our appetite.