Eating Is Not Cheating

I saw a great quote the other day.

You should never feel guilty of eating food unless you’ve stolen it.

The terms ‘clean eating’ and ‘cheat meals’ are ones that have been tooted by hundreds of media outlets, fitness websites, supplement companies, fit pro’s, food companies, slogan makers and now many through their social media accounts.

Now this blog isn’t just something to post my views on – it’s something that I hope starts a debate and challenges you, the reader, to think and discuss.

My take on food and what constitutes a physically and mentally healthy nutrition approach is fairly straight forward. 70% should be quality, single ingredient stuff you enjoy. 10% should be healthy stuff that you don’t enjoy so much (for example this is beetroot for me), 10% should be snacks like trek bars or sugar free popcorn and the final 10% should be whatever you want (burgers, icecream, pizza)! The most important thing is being aware of your calorie requirements based on your current wants and goals and factor the last 10% into it.

This I feel allows a good degree of flexibility whilst trying to build a solid diet that is nutrient dense, packed with vegetables and fruit,  high-quality sources of protein, healthy fats and good sources of carbohydrates.

I’ve been doing a great deal of reading and learning on eating disorders and the general public’s view on food recently. There’s a lot of negativity and guilt that surrounds our diets. Good or bad. Clean or dirty. Allowed or cheating. Healthy and un-healthy.

This leads to a perception that you have to feel bad for eating something non-optimal. And a lot of these so called ‘healthy alternatives’ are still high in calories. Just because you #eatclean doesn’t mean you’ll achieve your body composition goals.

Food shouldn’t be like that.

Food is food and food is awesome!

It should never ever ever be seen as a stressful time of day.

Your diet shouldn’t just made you feel good physically, it should make you feel good mentally. It shouldn’t cause stress and anxiety. If you want a burger or a pizza, factor it into your daily calorie requirements. Eat well for the rest of the day whilst keeping aside the majority of your calories for the ice cream, or the takeaway curry, or the fish and chips or the whatever you want! Obviously this can’t be every day – we still want to have a diet predominately made up of quality sources of nutrition but every so often will do you little harm.

A ‘diet’ should allow you to go “OK, so I’ll eat well for the majority of the week but I know on Friday I’m going out to that BBQ place I really enjoy so I know I’ll be able to relax and not feel guilty because I know on Saturday morning I’ll be eating foods that are more optimal for my body that I still like!”.

Recipe for this here: Cajun Blackened Salmon

Being perfect all the time can be draining and doesn’t allow a huge amount of relaxation. I believe that educating and promoting to eat food that makes us feel amazing and is good for us and that we enjoy so that when we are faced between nutrient dense and junk food we pick the former for the love of it – not because we feel guilty.

Food should never be feared.

Food is awesome.

Until next time.

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Dan has been a Type 1 Diabetic since November 2011 and writes about his experiences living with two autoimmune conditions (Type 1 Diabetes and Ulcerative Colitis), nutrition, exercise and living an overall healthier life on his blog and via his social media platforms.

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