Is Clean Eating Just a Fad?

Is all this healthy clean eating just a flash in the pan, or here to stay? It all depends on how you approach it.

I’ve seen plenty of articles in my news feed lately that insist this clean eating is a fad, akin to those bell bottoms, unitards, piles of Pogs, and everything Brittany Spears ever wore in the early 00’s that you have piled in the back of your closets. They claim that “clean eating” isn’t something we really enjoy doing, that we’ve been peer-pressured into it for now, but pretty soon we’ll wake up one day and decide to ditch the green tea, the grass-fed beef, the organic veggies, and just chow down on a box of brightly colored, frosted breakfast cereal.

These writers usually hate green tea, by the way. Which is absolutely fine. I hate green tea too! I’ve tried it hot, cold, and with enough honey to fuel an entire beehive – but unless it’s been fermented into Jun Tea, I just don’t like it. I also don’t like Kefir. Or raw kale. Or home-made yogurt (it’s a texture thing).

But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy clean eating! I just don’t drink green tea, or eat Kefir or raw kale. And I save the yogurt for the kids. Because for clean eating to be healthy, it has to work for you. Both in terms of what your body needs, and in what your tastebuds enjoy! Some of us do wonderful on a vegetarian diet, while others need a more omniverous approach. Some of us love Kefir (I’ve heard blending in some fresh fruit makes it a delicious treat!), and others have bodies which don’t tolerate dairy in any form. Some people can enjoy a whole wheat, wild ferment sourdough roll with their lunch while others of us need to be gluten-free. Some of us like green tea. And some of us would be happiest never drinking another cup of the stuff.

Braised Greens with Craisins

If you try to force yourself to live on foods you don’t like or that don’t work for your body, then yes – clean eating will be a fad for you. Just like any other diet, you’ll be constantly looking forward to when you can stop and get back to your “real” way of eating.

BUT – if, instead, you look at how “clean eating” can work FOR you, allow you to eat foods you enjoy and that your body thrives on, then it isn’t a diet. It isn’t a fad. It’s simply how you live. It’s finding fresh, local food that you enjoy, regardless of if that’s a carrot or kohlrabi, and preparing it in a way which you enjoy and your body can utilize. It’s finding the right balance of eating sustainably, so that clean eating is sustainable for YOU. All the articles out there are guide posts. Tips to try, ways to introduce yourself to new foods, and recipes to explore if they should become a more permanent part of your diet.

Clean eating, eating healthy, whatever you want to label it isn’t about eating kale. Or drinking green tea. Or Kombucha (even as much as I love it!). It’s about eating what is right for you and your body.

Meg is the practice manager at Old Dominion Osteopathic Medicine, a mom of 2.5kids, and an ardent lover of all foods local, natural, and un-messed-with.

Supplement Safety

Vitamin supplements. Herbal remedies. Essential Oils and Homeopathic solutions. If you haven’t taken some of these yourself, chances are you know someone who does. They’ve become increasingly popular in town over the last 3-5 years, and much easier to find as a result. You can get them at the pharmacy, the grocery store, or even from your neighbor. Google has dozens of results for home-grown blogs detailing “natural” remedies for almost any ailment or remedy you can think of. And some of them even work.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not opposed to natural remedies by any means. I spent the first 29 years of my life taking increasingly stronger medicines to control my asthma and allergies until I finally maxed out on the dosage of three of the strongest prescriptions available at the same time. I’ve spent the last 3 years finding the best combination of diet, exercise, homeopathies, vitamins, herbs, and even essential oils to allow me to control my asthma and allergies without the need for even a single prescription maintenance medication.

So I absolutely believe that natural or alternative remedies can have an amazing effect on our bodies. Frankly, anything we put in or on our bodies will have an effect – that is, after all, why we use it. That effect, however, is not always the one we expected. While natural remedies do not often come with the laundry list of potential side effects that we more commonly associate with prescription or even over-the-counter medications, that does not mean that they do not have any. Just as with a prescription medication, different people react differently to natural remedies dependent upon their own physiology, environment, and any other natural, OTC, or prescription remedies they are using.

Which is why I cringe every time I witness a casual conversation where one well-intentioned person encourages their friend, co-worker, or acquaintance to take X, Y, or Z remedy for their ailment.  It’s a natural impulse, one I’m certainly guilty of myself as well, to want to offer up the same advice about a commonly available remedy that made a world of difference for yourself. The problem is that this advice is almost always given without any knowledge of the other person’s health history or even any true knowledge of the natural remedy aside from its intended effect as stated on the front of the package.

Anything you put in your body will have an effect – good, bad, or indifferent. It will have an effect.

Magnesium, a common vitamin supplement, can induce nausea or vomiting, or even affect your heart rate. The effects of homeopathic remedies can be greatly reduced by regular use of mint – an ingredient found in many essential oil blends as well as your toothpaste. And there is always the potential for interactions with prescription medications; according to an article by American Family Physician,  Ginseng, a popular herb to boost energy among other things, can have an adverse interaction with Warfarin, a prescription blood thinner.

If you want to take natural supplements to improve your health (and I really do recommend them!) please don’t rely upon Google or your neighbor/home-business supplement sales person. Dr. Sneed can be an excellent resource (he even knows which Magnesium is easiest on the stomach), and if you are interested in remedies he doesn’t know as well, he’ll know who in town does!