Clean Eating: Why I Still Call it a Scam

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Upon diligent reflection of last week’s emotionally-charged article headline on the sultry subject of clean eating, I believe it’s only fair to expand a bit more on why I believe clean eating to be a faulty concept and nothing but a false belief limiting the minds of many.

The context of this belief and its impact on the individual can render positive or negative, but it all boils down to the individual and their underlying, deep-seated ideals buried in the depths of their consciousness.

First of all, almost immediately after I hit publish last Monday, I noticed some traffic from the bodybuilding.com forums and thought to myself, “Oh, cool, someone really enjoyed the article.  I’m glad they decided to share it.”

I never expected I’d receive a lesson on people’s inability to comprehend what they read as well as how a headline with a few carefully-selected words could immediately send someone into a defensive fury.  Thus, it’s obvious that a first impression, ie: me calling clean eating a scam, altered their ability to remain objective enough to read and analyze the information for themselves.

Call me a mind controller.

If you were (un)fortunate enough to find the thread, you’d notice hundreds of responses in which you’d harbor no doubt that most people either couldn’t get past the headline or are just plain illiterate.

It’s as if they’d already made up their mind about the body of the content and there was no swaying their opinion.

I received some hate-mail, many comments and even an entire blog post written about the article and how I was wrong with my attempt at demonizing such a wonderful concept.  Even if you read the comment section here, you’ll be able to spot a few who obviously didn’t read the article – or if they did, their preconceived judgments shunted their ability to think rationally and they felt the need to project their personal beliefs on myself and others.

The evidence is clear because there seems to be no middle ground with regards to the responses.  I either received reinforcement for taking my usual, moderate stance, or I was assumed to be some internet attention-whore.

I will say part of my mission was accomplished as my well thought-out headline garnered the attention I was after.  However, I find myself in slight disappointment that so many can’t set their emotions aside for a moment to consider another viewpoint for more than five seconds.

While I never intended to write this one, I feel it’s absolutely necessary to push the envelope a bit further.  After all, the real reason I write is to give back to the fitness community that’s given so much to me.

Let’s get to the good stuff.

I Never Advocated a Diet Full of Ding-Dongs and Twinkies

First off, I’d like to get a small moment of silence for a small Twinkie break and state the following:

I NEVER, EVER ADVOCATED A DIET FULL OF JUNK.

Stop.  Look above and read that again.  Stop once more and read it, yet again.  Better?

However, you wouldn’t know this if you only read some of the comments here and on the bodybuilding.com forums.  First, let’s start with this comment*.

The simple fact of the matter is that the QUALITY of calories you put in your body matters just as much as the quantity. You can eat 500 calories in veggies or 500 calories in candy bars. Guess which one will give you the best nutrition?

Here’s a perfect example of taking something out of context.  I agree – a diet full of junk would be a very bad idea.  A bowl full of veggies is going to provide many more micronutrients, more satiety and more fiber than a candy bar will.  But I never stated someone should make their diet nothing but processed junk.  I merely suggested it’s no big deal to work these foods into your diet if you want to.

She also makes a statement about diabetes and how junk food contributes to the disease.  While I agree that a diet full of junk food is often in correlation with type 2 diabetes, it’s not necessarily the causation.  Many other factors must be taken into account, such as activity levels, body weight, body fat, and whether or not they are genetically predisposed to such a dreadful fate.

As per the context issue – many responses on the forums were similar.  It seems near impossible for folks to take a middle-of-the-road approach; evidently it has to be all or nothing.  It’s either a diet full of cakes and candy or a diet full of super clean food and no treats whatsoever.

Now this leads to my second point.

No one could ever define for me what a clean food is.  Well except for Alan; he did take a few jabs at it and I think he might be onto something.  He said it best here:

When I say I don’t do cardio, I’m really just kidding myself because I spend at least 6 hrs a day scrubbing my food.

He proves my point exactly.  There is no such thing as clean eating as it’s too fluid of a concept – there are no facts.

Speaking of facts (if you really care about them), check out his AARR if you want nothing but practical information you can use and abuse.  The writing is both witty and eloquent.  The cut of his jib is just right.

So, What is Clean Food?

What does the term mean, really?

Does clean mean that you eat only organics?
Does it mean you only prepare your food a certain way?
What constitutes a clean meal?
Is it still clean if you combine fat and carbohydrates?
Is a steak unclean because it contains saturated fat?
Is a McDonald’s burger less clean than a burger from a fancy restaurant?
Are vegetarian and ­clean-eating synonymous?

The questions are endless and guess what?  We’ll never have a clear-cut answer.

Why?  Because the answer is subjective and clean eating has a different meaning for everyone.

Need proof?  Just watch this video (will open in a new tab; just hit pause – stay with me here).

To summarize the video, it seems clean eating means to eliminate most processed foods from the diet and to focus on natural, whole foods with an emphasis on eliminating animal fats and fast food.

In general, for long-term health, I think these ideas are at least on the right path.

However, let’s look at some of the ideas she expressed and dissect what she’s attempting to convey.

First she mentions the importance of choosing carbohydrates in their healthiest form and to focus on good fats as opposed to bad fats.  So for her, the good fats are your typical unsaturated sources coming primarily from plant sources.  She mentioned eating fish (source of omega 3’s) and chicken (preferably white meat) due to how lean these choices are and for aiding in the reduction of saturated fat consumption.

However, I don’t believe reduction of saturated fat is all it’s cracked up to be.  The impact of saturated fats seems to be largely dependent on the individual’s lifestyle, level of fitness, genetics and their current diet.  Heck, just look at some of the Paleo folks who live on fatty cuts of red meat, heavy cream and cheese.  Many of them are very fit, active and have the awesome lipid profiles to boot.

Then she mentions something that threw me off for about a minute.  She said we have to stick to “low-gluten” foods and then stated it’s important to eat “low-gluten” fruit.  Uhhh, no fruits (in their natural form) contain any gluten.  Gluten is only found in grains, pasta, wheat products, etc.

Then she mentioned some other products to avoid and I knew what she meant to say was “low-GI.”  So it’s clear she just got her terminology mixed up.  No big deal.

And this is where I have a major problem with this type of mindset.  She went onto label watermelon as a bad choice and peaches as a good choice based on the glycemic index.  Now I want to ask one question.  Since when should a fruit ever be labelled as bad or unhealthy?

Thanks to my friend Alan Aragon, we now know that the glycemic index is fairly complicated and nothing to get too worked up about.

Here is where my concern really begins to grow for those in the fitness community.  Why would we ever label a whole, natural food that is full of vitamins, minerals and energy as something that is bad for us?

She also makes mention of the idea of restricting carbohydrates after 6 p.m. and to limit fruit or other carbohydrates to the morning or around her workouts.  As we all know by now, as long as we’re in a neutral calorie balance, we cannot evade the laws governing thermodynamics.  Just look at this or this.

And finally, while she speaks of clean eating as a means of eliminating processed foods, she mentions in the end about the difficulty she experiences hitting her protein requirements, thus she opts for a protein powder to fill in the gaps.

(Queue suspenseful music)

What does she do here?  She makes a rationalization to stray from the clean-eating ideals to fit her lifestyle. So at this point, she is actually breaking one of the rules she laid out for herself (and proselytizing to her viewers) early on.  Is this okay?  Is she still considered a clean-eater? Ehh, I suppose we won’t excommunicate her… just yet.

The only consistency with the concept of clean eating is that the ideas and viewpoints are always changing.  In fact, it’s common for people to make adjustments that suit their lifestyle and then make a rationalization as to why it’s okay.

It’s akin to some of the folks who follow a Paleo diet.  Some eat dairy, while others refer to it as the liquid death.  Some eat regular potatoes while others only eat tubers.  I really want to know who’s right.

And now, boys and girls, it’s time for an example.

Let’s take something simple like rice cakes.  To some people a rice cake is nothing but processed garbage and nutritionally void at best.  But when certain situations (like contest preparation) arise, they become a staple in their diet.  Don’t believe me – just check out this video in which all he eats leading up to a competition is ‘fish and a rice cake.’

Now as informed fitness enthusiasts, we know rice cakes are high on the glycemic index and are sure to send your insulin into a raging fury, shuttling everything you consume with them into your fat cells regardless of calorie balance.  It’s probably true as I read it in a magazine once.

Something we ought to think about here is whether or not he could eat a chicken sandwich or some steak and potatoes in lieu of the rather boring supply of fish and rice cakes.  My hunch tells me yes but an old belief I once cherished says “no way in hell” could he achieve the same results without being anal and overly restrictive.

Thankfully, I’ve evolved.  Oh and I believe you should open your mind, too.  I just had a conversation with a friend of mine and he fully agrees with me: the grass definitely is greener on the other side.

Clean Eating and why I Still Call it a Scam

Before anyone gets too touchy about ‘scam’ and ‘clean eating’ being in the same sub-heading, I’d like to talk about what a scam is.  To scam means to cheat or to deprive by deceit.

And since I feel clean-eating is nothing more than a false belief, I believe it’s robbing and deceiving some people from many social joys they could be experiencing.

If it’s not that, it’s robbing them of some mental freedom they could experience by loosening up a bit.

What do I mean exactly?

Well, when you decide not to have pizza with your buddies for fear being unable to count your calories or because you’re absolutely positive that pizza has a little trans-fat, you’re missing out on a good time.

When you make up excuses about why you can’t take your girlfriend to Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream once or twice per month, you’re letting a false belief about this particular food get the best of you.  Who knows?  It might be keeping that guy from taking the next step with this girl.

When your mind floods with worry, fear and, preoccupations about whether or not you should have that burger your co-worker brought in for you while waiting on your last-minute flight, you’re giving into a pressure that doesn’t have to exist.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO RULE YOU.

All this talk about clean eating is merely an imaginary concept.  It starts in the mind is nothing but a rationalization.  It’s different for everyone and to some (like me), it becomes a controlling and limiting belief.

If you don’t believe me, fine.  Let’s look into what Tom Venuto has to say about words and their meanings.

In his book, The Body Fat Solution, Tom voices many truths about how the chaos in our brains affects our results.  Our reality is based on our perception and our perception is based on the way in which we view something.  In this case, it’s how we view and label certain foods.

For some, our attitude toward food has been tarnished because we believe clean food to be bland and boring while dirty food is everything we crave.  And since we’ve garnered such a belief, we’re often very pissed off.

Have we always felt this way?  Probably not.  So how did it happen?

There was a paradigm shift – some moment in time, we listened to someone’s ideas about whatever and it made sense, or so we thought it did.  After some more reading and research, beliefs and ideas about this clean-eating situation became concrete and hardwired into our psyche.

Feelings of guilt poured over us if we felt the temptation to buy a tub of ice cream as we passed it on our way to the produce section.

If we stop for a second and ponder when these feelings originated, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact time, but they’re there.

I know this doesn’t affect everyone but it does affect many who have become obsessed with something that is nothing more than a false perception.  To change perception, we will ultimately have to change our attitude.

To quote Tom from the chapter Attitudes and Beliefs that Set the State for Success:

“Changing your attitude is a simple matter of changing the way you look at things.  Zooming in on the details, getting the big, panoramic picture, or seeing things from the other side can sometimes change everything.”

While this sounds simplistic, it’s very powerful.  If you can, for just a moment, be completely objective about your feelings toward food and think back to what it must have been like before bodybuilding or any interest in fitness came about, the concept of clean eating never existed.

Sure, there were no processed foods like we have today, but they still had heavy cream, butter, fatty cuts of meat (bacon, sausage), white rice (Asian cuisine) and multiple other foods people today won’t touch for fear of it spiking their insulin or making them grow eyeballs in funny places.

I can’t be too sure, but I’m willing to bet folks 100 years ago had little to no preoccupations with their energy source (read: food).

A Bit About Beliefs

In the same chapter I quoted above, there’s a section titled: “What Are Beliefs?”

I’ve done my fair share of personal development writing and Tom really impressed me with the info he presented in this book.

I love what he said about beliefs:

“Beliefs are not facts.  They’re only interpretations of value judgments you make about yourself, your experiences, and the world around you.  Think of beliefs as mental software installed in your brain that takes in raw data through your senses and then applies meaning to it.”

As I see it, this is my take on why clean-eating is a concept as opposed to something concrete.  Why?  Because there is no single definition for it.

As I mentioned in earlier examples, everyone has formed their own meaning.  Therefore, I’d rather teach folks how to incorporate their favorite foods into their diet, develop a healthy relationship with their cheeseburger, and free themselves from incessant worrying often associated with the clean-eating mentality that’s often present and even projected onto others.

I hate to say it, but what the hell?  The personal projection is often in a condescending or elitist tone.  Yea, some people just get a kick out of feeling superior to their peers for putting only clean food into their bodies.

Lastly, I’d love to illustrate my point again using another one of Tom’s examples.

On pages 51-52, Tom makes this wonderful statement:

“Low-carb diets, for example, have legitimate fat-loss benefits such as decreasing appetite and controlling insulin.  Unfortunately, when someone is successful with a low-carb diet, they often take on dogmatic and inaccurate beliefs.  For the rest of their lives, they might look at almost all carbohydrates as fattening and since they counted carbs, not calories, they often think that calories don’t count, a dangerous and false belief.  But try convincing a formerly obese low-carb dieter of that (it’s about as easy as getting them to change their religion).”

You see?  We’re merely talking about a strong belief, not a fact.

Health and Body Composition

I never wished to cover this but I will since it came up in the bodybuilding.com thread.  Since we know the laws of thermodynamics do ring true, we know the only factor required to lose weight is a calorie deficit.

So, as long as one’s diet was sufficient in protein and the rest of their energy needs were met with Snickers bars, they’d still drop body fat just as effectively as someone on a similar, protein-rich diet, but with whole food instead of candy bars.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

However, I do want to make something clear that I may not have made clear in the other article.  There’s a HUGE difference between fitting a candy bar or a bowl of Apple Jacks into your daily diet and creating an entire diet of junk food.

The difference is moderation as opposed to the all-or-nothing approach so many appear to be enraged about.

So here is my rule of thumb for myself and for personal clients.  First, set your protein intake.  Then set your calories.  Get a good dose of EFA’s and make sure to consume 2-3 pieces of fruit, a few servings of veggies and a multivitamin daily.

Once these needs are met, I am only concerned you meet your energy requirements.  Now I always suggest that we opt for whole foods, preferably rice, potatoes, fruit, veggies, etc.  But we all know those choices can get a little bland or boring at times.

And that’s perfectly okay.  If you wish to have a few pieces of pizza or your favorite burger for dinner, just work them into your diet.  Move some macros around and don’t worry about it.

Again, while I’d never advocate a diet rich in junk food, there have been some very interesting case studies.

The McDonald’s Diet
First we have Chazz Weaver’s McDonald experiment that many in the forum chose to ignore.  I’ve linked to the last part of his log here.  For thirty days Chazz ate nothing but McDonalds for all meals.  He maintained his regular exercise routine and counted calories to ensure a caloric deficit.

Guess what?  He lost 8 pounds and all his blood lipids improved.

The Twinkie Diet
Then we have a more recent experiment in which Mark Haub, Professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University, who underwent a diet full of junk food and snack cakes.  Oh yea, he’s eating a daily dose of veggies to get some actual nutrients.  At least he’s having some clean food in his diet!

He’s been consuming less than 1800 calories per day, has lost about 10 pounds thus far and his blood work is improving.

AM I STATING OUR DIETS SHOULD BE FULL OF JUNK?

No, not at all.  But it does prove a point that we focus on a bunch of silly dogma that is mere minutiae in the end.

Our real focus should be on maintaining an active lifestyle that revolves around a healthy relationship with our food as opposed to worrying about the Snickers bar you’ve been secretly depriving yourself of.

Good Intentions and Why I Love the Fitness Community

For the most part, I think our intentions are pure and full of awesomeness.  I believe wholeheartedly that an active lifestyle accompanied by a healthy diet is paramount in leading a happy and fulfilling existence.

I do think we forget about the big picture too often and for many, it can lead down a road of destruction.  I’ve encountered more than I’d like to admit who’ve experienced an eating disorder shortly after they became obsessed with fitness and body composition.

I’ve even experienced a minor case of binge eating myself.

So yea, I’m not just rambling here.  I know what it’s like to be on both sides of the fence and believe me; the grass is much greener on the other side.

*No ill-will toward Tiffany.  I actually think you should check out her site for what looks like some pretty tasty recipes.

Comments

  1. Grant says

    i had to add a dirty, high carb desert after every (fairly clean) meal to get my carloies in. making sure you get lots of vitamins, minerals and epa/dha from food sources (sometimes supplements), will always be important, but beyond that, it’s all about the macros.

  2. Nutritionally educated says

    P.s. Google the sceptical nutritionist when you get the chance. An interesting blog of discussions on a lot of food beliefs held by the public and health professionals, and based on scientific evidence.

  3. Nutritionally educated says

    Thank you for reminding people about how personal food is. With so many listing rules about ‘clean eating’, people forget that everyone has a different relationship with food. The only rule people should follow with food is trying to keep it as nutritionally balanced as possible. Even nutrition students forget this because we all study too hard on the perfect diet. We get a shock going out on placement. Just because one particular diet quirk isn’t supported by scientific evidence, doesn’t always mean it’s harmful, (with plenty of exceptions). 
    (And just to be clear the ‘clean eating’, ‘paleo’, and other fad diets are not scientifically based, and certified dietitians and nutritionists do not support or condone these diets).
    I am encouraged that you promote a happy healthy relationship with food, and I am inspired to pursue this line of focus in my profession as well.  

  4. Mizz.Beccy says

    I agree with most of your stance. I have struggled with my weight most of my life, and the bottom line is that eating clean works. Recommending a few twinkies a month to me is much like recommending someone to try a little bit of meth. It is a neverending spiral. I know that for me, processed sugars are addictive. I am able to pin point the exact feeling (high) that I would achieve from a cake, a candy bar, a pastry. (Even as a write this). I believe that these simple sugars are addictive, and we should not recommend that anyone continue to consume these products. It may not have the same effect on every individual, but it is a matter of life and death for those it does.

    • says

      comparing a twinkie to meth is crazy. They are nothing alike…

      You belief, is just that – a belief. It’s not true for everyone. I eat simple sugars every single day. Am I overweight and addicted to them? Not ta all.

  5. says

    I totally agree with this post. There is no clear cut definition to “clean eating”. Its a great example of how scientific literature gets misinterpreted by those who cherry pick information. I have seen in different forms some “clean eaters” cut dairy, eat organic, only allow a certain number of ingredients in one meal” Just crazy stuff. For starters I hope these “clean eating gurus” end up with osteoporosis due to lack of calcium for the great brain washing they have placed on unsuspecting victims who don’t know any better.
    Just one question… so if there is clean eating label for what I would term eating normal healthy food, is junk food dirty eating?? Labeling our food good/ bad, clean/dirty is bad for our mind psychology surrounding food. Can I suggest to people most of my eating disorder clients label their food the same way…
    Labeling food creates fear surrounding food, fear that your going to eat incorrectly and fall off your “diet”. Life is not a diet people!!! I will kiss the ground when people finally accept that food is just food, to be used at specific times. For both health, well being AND part of social occasional. Eating birthday cake socially is NORMAL it doesn’t make you a dirty food eater. It makes you human!

    • says

      Love your reply Gabrielle. I finally had my compulsive eating under control, and was at a healthy happy medium, until I read about “Clean Eating” four years ago. I was successful in achieving my body goals eating clean, a few times, but I gained 30 pounds 2 years ago due to another bad outbreak of bingeing brought on by stress and feeling bad for not eating clean. Got back on the wagon, lost the weight, did 2 competitions this year, got published in Oxygen magazine last week- my Clean Eating Bible… but have been unable to deal with only eating clean anymore. I’ve been reading and learning why what I took as gospel is wrong and I think I’m going to finally make it out of this and have a healthy relationship with food and my body again once and for all.

  6. Erick says

    The HCG diet is a scam.

    Clean eating is not a scam. It is simply an approach to diet.

    If you don’t like it and it didn’t work for you, that is fine. Same thing happens with a lot of different approaches to diet. I’ve seen a lot of people try to do the 80/20 rule or 90/10 rule where they follow a plan 80 or 90 percent of the time and then relax and enjoy junk foods 10 or 20 percent of the time. Then it becomes a 70/30 or 60/40 when they get stressed or travel a lot for work, then it turns into 50/50 or 40/60, and at some point they just throw in the towel and binge for a while. Shall we call your approach to having pizza and fries occasionally a scam because it didn’t work out for some? It would be pretty similar to your calling clean eating a scam.

    • says

      This is all a matter of semantics. you’re obviously tied to your beliefs as others are tied to theirs. Frankly, I don’t care what diet you choose, as long as it fits your lifestyle and you don’t shove it down others throats.

  7. Ryan says

    “The difference is moderation as opposed to the all-or-nothing approach.”
    This should be stated at the beginning of most posts or in capitals somewhere, or just reiterated.

    Great post, fitness enthusiasts need to remember that we want to be fit and look good to enhance our life not destroy it! Balance is key and you could not of explained and backed this up better JC.

  8. says

    While I don’t necessarily agree wholeheartedly with clean eating being a scam, I do think people overdo it. I would guess that I eat more cleanly than most of the American population. To me dietary habits, along with exercise habits and just about everything else in life, is about choices. Or moderation as someone else put it. I understand that if I eat ice cream, choose to ingest it, I can either choose to burn it off, choose to pack it on, whatever. I don’t get how people miss that connection between what they are consuming vs. what they have to do to get fit, stay healthy, maybe pack on muscle or lose weight. I didn’t read all of the comments but did the op have a change of heart?

  9. Toni says

    I once read somewhere that diets punish the soul or something to that effect. Listen, I’m all for trying to clean up one’s diet and eat more naturally BUT we have to be realistic in the fact that we cannot eat on point 24/7. IT’S JUST NOT POSSIBLE. Seriously.

    What about Thanksgiving? Are we not to partake in all the wonderful side dishes and desserts?

    What about Christmas? Can you really turn away all the delicious cookies?

    What about Valentine’s Day? Can you turn away the decadent box of chocolates that your partner bought you b/c they love you?

    What about your birthday? How the hell are you gonna make a wish – by blowing a candle out on a fruit salad?!?

    I think clean eating is different for everyone. The definition varies from person to person. For me, it means staying away from anything white, as much as I can. Limiting processed foods, sugar and trying to eat more fruits, vegetables while drinking more water. I exercise this way of eating about 80% of the time and the other 20% I allow myself the occasional treat without feeling guilty. Besides, a lot of times after a big meal like Thanksgiving, I usually fast the next day so it’s not like you can’t implement IF every so often.

    We, as a society, just need to relax and chill out about eating. :)

    • says

      I think the only place where people eat “perfect” diets is when they write about them on the internet. :)

      That being said, it is 100% possible to eat perfect 24/7. All you have to do is live alone, never go out with friends, never celebrate a special occasion, never have children, and grow/raise your own food. Not a life I want, but possible! :)

      • Toni says

        LOL, you took the words right out of my mouth. Yeah, if I was single and a nomad living off my extensive vegetable garden, so-called ‘clean eating’ would be a breeze. ;)

  10. says

    What a difference a year can make! I found this today by following a trail of breadcrumbs from it to my blog post, which you linked to, and found myself reading it in a completely different light. While I was one of the ticked-off (although I wouldn’t call it hate mail!) people, I think your perspective here is spot-on. Clean eating IS a personal definition (a point I made in my original post) and that’s part of what I like about it. I also mentioned that anything taken in the extreme can be dangerous; eliminating something as fundamental to society as ice cream is just crazy talk! But, I am really glad that it’s becoming easier to find things to buy that don’t have crazy preservatives and additives – are that are downright crap – because I don’t want to just eat apples all the time. I love ice cream, and I love that I can buy REAL ice cream and know the difference. I could go on and on, but I wanted to say thanks for the recap, and for the link, even though it was probably done to show how mean I was being to you. :)

  11. Reka says

    If I ever have a lot of money (snowball’s chance in hell but let’s hope) I will make an experiment of this, eating the same amount of macro and micronutrients, fiber and liquids, from unprocessed and processed foods (let’s say junk food with vitamin, mineral and fiber pills) for 1-2 months each, and monitor every important health marker.

  12. Reka says

    Why are you using the clean eating in the concept of fatloss? It obviously makes no sense in this concept, since a calorie is a calorie. I think it only makes sense in terms of general health and wellbeing. Obviously, if someone gets 1500 calories from natural foods, and another person gets the 1500 calories from processed foods their weight probably remains the same, but I doubt that their health would stay the same over time. I try to save my processed food allowance for social events (besides protein powder, and that at least doesn’t have many ingredients), and I don’t worry about the other stuff (lactose and GI and what not). So going to the extremes is useless, but I still believe that foods with many artificial or modified ingredients are not doing any good for us.

  13. John says

    Clean eating may be a bit of a scam, but I think it’s something of a decent way to get introduced to healthy eating. Is it the best way to eat, or the best way to get introduced to a healthful, reasonable, quality diet? Probably not. Then again, the raw foodists are the people who REALLY get me riled.

  14. Vlad Padina says

    (didn’t read even one comment…)
    Not clean: – added sucrose / fructose / artificial sweetners
    – any trans-fats that don’t occur in nature
    – anything containing nitrites (see below) and other such preservatives (e.g. sodium benzoate)
    – low quality meat by-products
    – unfermented soy
    – also, bran-less germ-less flour, regardless of cereal
    – “incinerated” meat
    – boiled/pasteurized dairy
    Everything else is clean, but dry fruit should be consumed in moderation.

    There.

    :)

  15. Curtis says

    I completely agree with this article. I used to be completely obsessed with food up to the point where if I ate anything that was unclean, it would get inside my head. I would try to make up for it with excessive exercise and yes, I even admit that I became bulimic for one summer because I felt so guilty for always ‘eating away’ all of my hard work, that is, a full week of eating clean and consistently working out. I can definitely understand how a simple goal of being fit combined with a principle of eating clean can turn into a dangerous habit or thought. Obviously there are people who will say, ‘you’re not as disciplined or willing as you should have been’ or ‘you’re weak’ but if you really are a true fitness enthusiast, everyone here knows how tempting certain ‘unclean’ foods can be after weeks of clean eating and how hard it is to stop after you start eating those foods. This combined with an attempt to sustain a work and social life can definitely compound. Thanks for assuring me that I’m not so crazy after all.

  16. says

    Maybe I’m just very moderate in my eating. I’ve never had a problem with binging, “cheating,” obsessing, or whatever. I eat what feels right, and that happens to be a nutritious diet. I’ve never felt confused about what clean eating is and I deviate from it as I want to. There’s no way I’m going to only eat what someone tells me to. I eat what makes me (and my stomach) feel good. I love that your posts generated so much discussion, I’m tempted to tweet a link…. ;)

  17. Gain Muscles says

    that is a nice article…….i can get some tips from this for my website..thanks for sharing
    regards

  18. says

    Just the other day, I was faced with the clean eating concept, of which I am not a believer either. A friend and I were walking to a foodie street fair, and she was excited to eat clean, and I told her I was excited to eat dirty. She’s offended that I don’t think a raw vegan diet is best, after all, look how healthy some folks somewhere are. I explained that I don’t accept anecdotes as scientific evidence. She then started on how science isn’t good for explaining everything (a common thing for people to say when the evidence isn’t on their side) and I explained things like double blind studies, placebos, population studies, my own lying eyes and everything I read. She accused me of only liking Western science, but you know what? I’m a scientist, that’s how we roll.

    Anyway, you mention early on about fish having omega-6s, I think you mean omega-3s. That’s the rage these days.

    • JC says

      Funny is it not? I believe it’s common for folks to love being in a perpetual state of “I’m happy with my beliefs, even if they are totally false and not serving me.”

      thanks for the omega correction.

  19. Lukas says

    This conversation is very interesting. As someone who’s been dieting for years I have to say that all this talk of ‘beliefs’ and ‘mindsets’ makes me think: it’s basically ALL in your head, and so easy to switch to whatever suits you at a particular time. I think I’ve finally found a balance between ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’… I read Dr Alejandro Junger’s book, Clean. It really clarifies what a true clean diet should consist of, and goes on to suggest an annual or bi-annual detox, which really works for mind, soul, and (secretly most important), body. But it’s his explanations of WHY eating clean foods are relevant that make the most impact, and I constantly refer to it. I also like that it doesn’t make you feel guilty in any way, and I’m now totally cool with having a, say, 70/30 ratio clean to ‘dirty’ – and it works.

  20. Lee Koehler says

    The stomach acid doesn’t really care. It breaks down foods into smaller parts irregardless of whether it’s clean or not. Your body then distributes the macronutrients according to it’s current needs. It excreets, absorbs, consumes all according to quantity and quality.

    Personally, in my opinion, from my observations, (is that enough caveats?) I have a few FOOD TRIGGERS. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chocolate milk, graham crackers and milk, and heaping plates of spaghetti. I will eat these until pain stops me. Once I eliminate those particular food choices I’m pretty good. If my fridg has mostly prepared paleo foods I do even better. If I bring my success foods with me and share with family and friends I do even better.

    So for me Clean Eating is avoiding foods that I used to binge on. I have 12 years of log books with my diet, weight, skinfold and exercises. I know what works for me. When I do on occasion eat Trigger Foods I notice that the next day I’m looking in the fridge for something that isn’t there.

    One last Item is Intermittent Fasting. I do 16 hrs fast 8 hour feed. This has really given me the final key to diet success. I actually enjoy the fasted state now. But the really exciting thing is Food Triggers have really lost their grip on my mind. Which means I can now have a plate of spaghetti or pizza and it will be just a small blip on my food intake radar. pretty cool.

  21. says

    Hey JC,

    It’s been a while man – work life has gone crazy. I know you are a junk food king deep down ;)

    Nah..in all honesty it’s great to see this real life take on this touchy subject! It fits nicely with my Rule Free thinking approach – it’s not fun to become a social outcast for fear of getting fat or unhealthy but equally I say stick up for your beliefs – if you like to eat green veggies instead of pizza then go for the salad without any guilt or shame but do it for the RIGHT REASONS – what are those?? Well ENJOYMENT ranks pretty high up for me and often I would enjoy the pizza over the salad . Get the balance right in your quality and quantity of calories and you can’t go too far wrong.

    I shred some healthy snack ideas for everyone not too long ago – http://www.lmdfitness.com/nutrition/top-fivehealthy-snacks/
    And no they are not perfectly CLEAN! (whatever that may be!?) but they are healthy

  22. Dangerscouse says

    Very impressive reply/post…….very well structured and thought out. You really press home your point without being arrogant or self-righteous….I’m on your side for what it’s worth!

    I’ve been slightly obsessed with ‘clean eating’ and in recent months I’ve realised that it just isn’t worth the stress, life’s too short to constantly worry so much about protein!!

    • JC says

      Yea, I see no reason to get arrogant or bent out of shape. I mean, I just voiced my opinion. Some will agree, some won’t. At the end of the day, all I care about is getting people to think.

  23. says

    Ding Dong’s huh? I duno, I specifically remember you eating those during one of our Skype meetings. Some heavy munchin’. ;)

    Cheers for the good write up fucker. You be stepping up your A game. Now get published already… god damn it.

  24. Sean says

    Wow, I am so glad this article was written. I have been obsessed with my intake and what I eat for years now, and it was always extremely stressful. I am studying in Rome right now and I have passed up what probably were great pastas, pizzas, breads and desserts all because I had a major fear of processed carbohydrate and wheat products. Looking back, I don’t know when my relationship with food got so bad. After I eat a slice of pizza or some gelato I immediately think of heading to my local stairs and sprinting myself into the ground. This article has definitely opened my eyes to the fact that while I might follow a low carb, some may say Paleo or Primal diet, every now and then it is fine to eat a slice of pizza and not stress about it and almost certainly cause more harm than good. Thanks for helping me see that!

  25. Ricky Chua says

    Hey JC! sorry I haven’t really followed your blogs for months due to my very busy schedule. It’s even a miracle for me to even take a peek in my inbox. Anyway, after reading your two articles and understood both ends of the spectrum of what you have presented, some people got riled-up because they were “mentally conditioned” about “clean eating”. People of course are entitled to their own opnions and there will always be a lot of “school-of-thought” everywhere, but it all boils down to an active choice on the part of an individual of what works and what doesn’t.

    I for one, would want to be open-minded about a lot of things especially about the fitness world and it’s ironies and sometimes quirks. If we try to put into perspective the two articles you’ve presented, there’s really nothing wrong with it and you just presented it in a way that would make people realize the other “end” of the spectrum or the other “side” of the coin, so to speak. To further support your claim, if a person is totally deconditioned and is not really an athlete but who wants to have that ripped and toned look, then of course: “strict eating” would be the first recommendation.

    In my opinion, it only means that this person needs to be educated about the effects of fats, protein and carbohydrates on the body. The overconsumption of these macronutrients would be ultimately stored as fat (regardless of what type of food it came from), especially if the person is sedentary most of his life. I have a client who actually would like to lose weight and is serious about it. I told him that part of the equation is your diet, consuming nutrient-dense food to compliment your workouts and cardio. BUT, it doesn’t mean that he cannot occasionally enjoy a slice of pizza or two or a burger or a donut, as long as the caloric deficit is maintained and even increasing gradually, then I think it’s the most reasonable type of dieting. I just had to be strict at first and somehow let him know about the other end of the spectrum, since he’s used to the sugary, fatty and sedentary lifestyle. Once he has “unlearned” what he’s used to doing, he could then make an informed choice based on what it takes to lose weight and NOT make fast food his staple diet. I would want my client to have discipline and control his cravings first, once he reaches his goal, then he can OCCASIONALLY enjoy a donut or a brownie. (NOT HIS STAPLE or BINGEING).

    In this way, the person would not feel “deprived” and would enjoy the dieting process. That he doesn’t have to think that “I have to eat steamed chicken breast with 2 slices of wheat bread all my life”. I just educated him about the “healthy” balance of things when it comes to eating. In other words, eat anything BUT IN MODERATION. Now for people who are athletes especially those who compete, these people already KNOW the ins and outs of dieting and what kind of food to eat during the off-season and 2-3weeks before a competition. I’m not a competitive bodybuilder nor do I have extensive experience just like the guys here, but I have also done my research, continuously reading different journals, magazines, and online fitness links and asking my fellow colleagues in fitness.

    If you notice, it’s not only the food that has a lot of ironies, but it also include the training regimens, the number of sets and reps and different techniques. Some people are very traditional and conservative, while some are unorthodox and innovative with their approach. I’d like to think that as a freelance trainer (who’s also a continuously learning student in this constantly changing field), I’m open to both the hardcore, traditional and conservative approaches and the unorthodox and innovative methods, since clients have different needs and it’s my responsibility to address those needs, realistically. Just like with food, the point is as individuals we have to look for what works and what doesn’t.

    Since our physiological and even biochemical make-ups are so different from each other just like our differing fingerprints, we have to determine for ourselves the right kind of diet for our specific fitness goals. Regardless if it’s the South Beach, Atkins or whatever, clean or dirty, the point is MODERATION has always been the key or should I say aptly: PORTION SIZES. It’s just that for very deconditioned and ordinary individuals, they have to be strictly educated about “healthier” options BUT NOT totally giving up the kind of food that they have been accustomed to eating and not making exercise or “clean eating” an obssession. Some people are in denial about this, but it really does happen and for a good reason but the results are often disastrous, especially in the psychological level and affects their social life as well. Everything that we think, say or do in this world has always been motivated from the psychological level. The fitness world and it’s ironies and quirks is a perfect example.

    In my case, since I don’t compete or anything, I just maintain my medium physique and without the perfect “6-pack”, I just practically eat ANYTHING. I could have a cereal and milk for breakfast and with coffee with soluble fiber in it (available here in the Philippines) and if I feel like eating my favorite donut, I would. BUT I would definitely not eat donuts for the whole week or so. Once I satisfy that particular craving, I would probably have ice cream the next week or a slice of cake. Heck, during the weekends if I don’t feel like eating cereal for breakfast and tuna sandwich as a midmorning snack, I wouldn’t.

    If I feel like eating noodles and dimsum and a large coke, I would and without feeling guilty. I must admit, when I first (accidentally) went into weight training (biking before this), that was the kind of mindset that I had, since I started working out in a hardcore gym and you would hear people talk about what to eat and what not to eat or clean or dirty, fatty, sweet and most of the time megadoses of protein. I have the highest respect for any health professional and their hard-earned experience in their own respective fields, and I’m not discounting the “healthy options” and it’s long term effects, but I agree with what you said that it could get boring and for me: “TIRING”.

    People were built to experience life in various ways and not live life in monotony. This is the very reason why we have the idiom: “spice up your life”, it’s simply because that’s how we are naturally built. If a person is joining a body building competition, then of course, the diet is VERY STRICT and usually – NO TASTE, but in the off-season, what do these people do? SOME of them binge and just eat whatever they would like to eat. Their minds even though how disciplined and focused would go into “relaxed” or “post-competition” mode, which I think is very natural and very human.

    Much like with weight training or cardio, we have to change things up all the time and WHY? to AVOID BOREDOM and OVERUSE INJURY. Some would even recommend cross-training and yet others would advice strategic deconditioning (total rest). Needless to say, this just proves that people should have a “MODERATE” and open-minded mindset about what to eat and what not to eat or any issue related to fitness. I, for one don’t want to be a prisoner or boxed-in, it’s good to know that there are both sides or even a lot of sides that I could choose from (upon careful assessment) and could personally work for me. I just experiment with the numbers until I get the right mix for myself. It’s just liberating! Oh by the way: good article, JC! That stir-up that just happened only meant that people took notice, but sadly not all of them had an open-mind or even understood what you meant.

    Ricky C of the Philippines

      • Ricky Chua says

        an appreciation coming from somebody who has been in the industry for quite a long time, it is I who is honored, JC. Thanks for making sure that fitness enthusiasts should always be on their toes and from time-to-time should be willing to get out of their comfort zones. I will always appreciate the learning opportunity from your blogs.

  26. says

    There is so much to be said about stress and it’s effect on our health. It is , after all the main reason causing disease today . Stress is caused when we worry about what to eat, where to eat, where to buy it, how to prepare it so that it
    retains nutrients and on and on.
    The important thing to remember is to be sensible and not eat highly processed foods or for that matter anything that isnt found in nature. Simple.
    I love the article. Thanks

  27. says

    Love these two articles! I used to be super anal about everything before I realized it doesn’t make a damn difference. I wish I had read something like this 5 years ago before wasting so many years stressing about useless details.

    Awesome blog!

  28. says

    JC, I am breathless! I love the article, great Part II. I LOL so hard on the fruit. My husband got me off the “clean” vs “unclean” bandwagon the day I think I turned him down for a piece of watermelon because it was too high in the GI. He was like, “Its a piece of fruit! Since when is fruit bad or good?”
    I have to agree with you on not living your healthy lifestyle in a fear and panic driven mode. I can’ t do that! Obsession will lead to destruction in most cases.
    On a side note I hadn’t read about that McDonalds experiment and OMG how did he eat that many calories and still look that DAMN good in that last photo!
    Did they agree that he could eat McDonalds food but didn’t limit him on taking supplements and stuff like fish oil and CLA or CLA extreme. Those type products on a person with a very muscular physique like him will allow him to maintain his lean musle mass like that. I still can’t fathom those results really.

  29. Alex says

    Good points that so many don’t understand but maybe one day they will… I use to be an advocate of “clean eating” 100% of the time and as you said it limited my food choices and having a great time with friends. Since understanding nutrition more and more and actual experimentation with my diet it confirms that if you are in a deficit you will lose weight, simple. Since the start of 2010 I’ve been eating whatever I want but making sure I have at least a nutrient dense meal with all my protein and never been in better shape! Dieting is actually really simple if you want it to be!

  30. Al says

    JC, I would like for you to talk about “uniform eating” in a future post. I think this is something that people could really implement in their lifestyle to make things easier. Thanks!

      • Al says

        I thought uniform eating meant that you basically eat the same stuff everyday. Clarance Bass used this philosophy to keep his diet simple.

        • JC says

          Don’t worry about them – they’re just trolling you ;)

          Basically, I guess I practice uniform eating by default because frankly, I just want to get my kcals and get out. I am busy running around so it’s easy for me to eat the same stuff day in and day out and throw in some cereal, pizza or whatever now and again when I feel the need to have some variety.

          I also take a handful of vitamins and minerals to ensure no deficiency from having a steady dose of the same foods.

  31. Milan says

    I have to quote Tanner: “One of the most kick ass articles I have read!”

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. A lot of people won’t get it now, but they will someday. Keep breaking down the dogma.

  32. Beth says

    Really great reads. I enjoy training and eating what I consider to be a healthy diet, but I stay away from the harshly defined “clean eating” stuff because the mindset reminds me too much of the mindset I employed while in the throes of an eating disorder during my high school and college years.

    I’ve had people tell me that I won’t get really lean eating rice and/or donuts a few times a month, but I’d rather hold onto a little more body fat than live in the mental and emotional hell of food obsession again.

    • JC says

      And you can still get lean eating those foods as long as you do things right. And what you said is correct – it’s an obsession and it’s no fun whatsoever.

  33. says

    As an aside, I recommend clients move more toward paleo. I do this because I know they’re not going to comply 100%, so they’re still going to get their booze/crap food. They’re already not eating enough fruit/veg/protein, so this tends to shore up the difference while still allowing for their absolute lack of willpower. People here have the attitude of “I’ll workout, but don’t take my Tex-Mex!”

    Or to put it another way: Alan has faith in his clients ability to follow a program, while I don’t trust them, nutritionally, as far as I can throw them so I hedge my bets accordingly with very good results.

    Best,
    Skyler

    • says

      I agree with this approach. I try to meet people where they’re at with their current diet and then “clean it up” if necessary. For the most part, people just need to eat less and move more. (Crazy concept, eh?)

      But people that are not as fanatical as most of us (read: 90% of the population) definitely have no interest in following a program. So, if they like eating pizza everyday, that’s fine, we can work with that, but if their goal is fat loss, we’re going to work towards higher quality food, at least for awhile.

      It’s all about what level of compliance someone can get away with, and I see no issues with someone working towards a higher level of compliance as long as it fits in their lifestyle. If it doesn’t fit seemlessly, it’s not going to work long term.

  34. imee says

    hi, just wanna say that this article(n the previous one) totally hit me. this clean eating concept freakin screwed my head. just yesterday, i was losing my mind over weather or not i could eat a WHITE potato becasue unlike the a sweet potato, its high in GI and lower in FIBRE, WHICH R KING IN CLEAN EATING.

    any way, i’m trying to break this pointless obsession and nitpicking ever since reading some blogs and sites that r debunking all these health myth(meal freq, bf 1st thing in da morning etc) that has ruled my life far too long n messed up social life. so yea, hope this articles help others see that white rice wont turn u into a tub of lard.

    • JC says

      I’m so glad this is making sense to you. It doesn’t have to be a struggle. Health and fitness should be fun and simple.

  35. says

    One of the most kick ass articles I have read!

    “So here is my rule of thumb for myself and for personal clients. First, set your protein intake. Then set your calories. Get a good dose of EFA’s and make sure to consume 2-3 pieces of fruit, a few servings of veggies and a multivitamin daily.”

    Exactly what I started doing after following a stint on the Paleo diet (just wasnt for me). Started incorporating Berkhan’s IF LeanGains protocol, reading your work, and also reading tons of Mr. Aragon’s work, and implemented back my favorite foods such as kids cereal (multiple times a day with my biggest bowl right before bed). Diet has never been better and tastier and my body composition has rapidly changed for the better (see The Definition of LeanGains: http://www.leangains.com/2010/08/definition-of-lean-gains.html). I feel better than ever and just work foods I like into my diet following the above guidelines you mentioned. It can be done, but Myths and Fallacies in the Health & Fitness industry is outragous, not only in nutrition.

    I suggest all reading this to read up on Mel Siff’s Facts & Fallacies of Fitness…Only through about 50 or so pages and am blown away by so much info. He also has a good intro on beliefs, and the differences of laws and rules. Laws are definite whereas rules not so much..Example the Law of Gravity..Not to scientific but no matter what the mass object (earth) gravitational will pull you back down with every jump you take…It won’t let you jump one time and not pull you down and then pull you down the next time. A rule is not set in stone such as rules of “clean eating.”

    • Eric says

      Yup, that quote pretty much sums it up. Most people would be miles ahead of everyone else if they followed that little bit of advice. Just adjust up or down on the extra stuff to gain lbm or lose fat.

    • Al says

      Tanner, how do you follow JC’s guidelines and Lean Gains at the same time? Do you just shove all of your calories (JC’s guidelines) into a 8-10 hour window? What I am asking is how do I incorporate the fasting with JC’s guidelines? JC, that question is for you too. Thanks!

      • says

        Al,

        I pretty much just follow this rule of thumb JC mentioned:

        ““So here is my rule of thumb for myself and for personal clients. First, set your protein intake. Then set your calories. Get a good dose of EFA’s and make sure to consume 2-3 pieces of fruit, a few servings of veggies and a multivitamin daily.””

        That is I set my protein intake…I am current around 175lbs at 5’5″ and find I do best on around 225+ grams of protein. So thats 900 calories from protein (though I sometimes go 180 sometimes around 300 grams depends on what I am hungry for that day). Then I get around .3-.5 grams of fat (includings EFAs) so around 50-90 grams of fat. 2-3 servings of brocolli and 2-5 servings of wild blueberries. The rest I fill in for what I am hungry for, without looking at GI…If I want some Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a bowl of ice cream then I will have it. If I want some more meat then I eat more protein. If I am cutting then I will make sure to fit those foods into my caloric allotment for the day. If I trying to gain mass then its easy to fit in a lot more.

        As far as LeanGains goes, I train fasted, with 10g BCAAs per Martin’s reccomendations…I fast for at least 16 hours, usually 18-20 hours and have 2-3 large meals in a 4-8 hour window. Easiest body recomposition I have ever done.

        • Jd says

          Tanner whats the best to figure total cals, for a recomp? do u always set protein cals first, then the fats, i am kinda lost on how to figure out cals and macro’s for the three meals

          • JC says

            Not Tanner, but I’ll chime in. Basically, you’ve gotta figure out a specific goal (fat loss or muscle gain) and then build the diet around that.

            So if it’s muscle gain, create a net surplus. If it’s fat loss, create a net deficit.

            Start here:
            http://jcdfitness.com/2010/04/build-muscle-and-lose-fat-part-2/

            But instead of hitting an equal calorie balance by the end of the week, I’d rather you pick one goal and build the diet around that goal.

  36. says

    I’m really glad you out all year people in their place with this follow-up. By them, I mean those people who preach a restriction on your favorite food and tell you to eliminate some food or other. Since when was carbs a dirty food? Since when was saturated fat a sin? No one can really say how we evolved to eat as we don’t know how to analyst the human genome to that extent yet!

    Moreover, I’d like to add that if someone says saturated fat is bad for health, they’re way past their sell-by date. Brian St. Pierre, to highlight a prominent example, advocates coconut milk and full-fat dairy!

    However, you’ll have to excuse me when I point you to some YouTube videos about a MacDonald’s cheeseburger dissolving in HCl. I don’t have the link, but you can search for it on YouTube. That stuff is pretty gross and it’ll probably stop me from having McD’s for… about… 3 days! The reality is that those of us who can’t afford the posh restaurant burgers for our favorite food can only get it cheap and at a lower quality from these sources.

  37. says

    Great stuff, JC! I made it a point myself a long time ago to stop using words like “clean” and “dirty” when referring to food. Likewise I don’t use the terms “cheat meals” or “reward meals” because I believe that those words can cause people to become too preoccupied or OCD about what they eat, like when someone says they “eat clean”. In my opinion, and that of many others I have worked with, is that calling a meal a “cheat meal” makes it sounds as if they’re doing something wrong. So instead of enjoying a meal they experience guilt. Hell, I’ve seen people feel guilty for eating fruit! It all depends on their personal definition of “clean” and “dirty” I guess.

    Again, great stuff, JC. : )

  38. bulat says

    Man, don’t let yourself get trolled. You don’t have to react to all the (illiterate) comments just because there are so many of them. The majority of people who read this stuff is silent, it’s the meatheads, radical loudmouths and trolls who comment. So you won’t get a balanced reaction to your article in the replies. Don’t overreact, don’t spend time rationalizing and breaking it down to them. It’s pointless and futile. Just let it be and think instead about the next article.

  39. says

    After posting the link to your first in this series, I had all the bro’s out in force after me. That, as you know, sent me on my own quest to write what these bro’s didn’t want to hear. I’ve finished Part I, in which I help people understand macros and how to make them work for them but haven’t gotten around to publishing it. Part II was going to be very similar to this. Sadly, I don’t think I could hold a flame to yours, plus, it would just be a waste of my time. Maybe I’ll just post a link on my blog that says, “Yeah, what he says.” Hahahahaha.

    Nice stuff, man. Talk to ya soon.

  40. says

    This is a great follow-up to your last peice on this topic. I think it is important that we all have a balanced view of things. If I have learned anything about fitness, training, and eating, it is that there is never one answer and one size does not fit all. Most importantly is doing what you feel is important and experiementing until you find out what works best for you.

    • JC says

      Glad you enjoyed. Yes, it’s my mission to challenge others to think for themselves and figure out a way to maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle!

  41. says

    I’m a paleo guy, as you know, but I had myself an ultra-clean 1/2 bacon cheeseburger from Might Fine. I needed the extra kcal and was not going to pass up the social opportunity. I type this as I eat all “paleo” foods.

    The spectrum is more than black and white.

  42. Joshua says

    Wow, man. You wrote in one article everything that ever needs to be said.

    Side note: I didn’t actually know how bad the bros were in my gym until I had a guy come up to me and say “you need 400 grams of protein to grow.” Or the guy who said you can only eat oatmeal for carbs. Back when I first started lifting in high school this might have made sense, but now from being educated from people like you, I know moderation is key to overall health. Thank you so much for not being one of those bros.

  43. says

    You know JC, after I decided to quit fighting professionally, I realized how I had basically been on a crazy diet for 7 years (try eating red bell peppers and oatmeal for breakfast).

    Guess what happened? No competitions meant a crazy two week long binge of eating things that don’t even qualify as food.

    Moderation works two ways. My fighting diet was not moderate, neither was the rebound after I “retired.” Now, I can eat a snickers bar and not worry about it. Do I go crazy? No.

    Absolute best point you made was regarding “what exactly is clean food”
    Is it washed well? Organic? Who knows. Nice followup.

  44. Jean Paulo says

    Awesome part 2 JC! “No one said to base your diet around “unclean” foods.” -exactly! Maintaining a lean and healthy physique doesn’t mean losing good times in life.

    Keep up the good work dude!

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