What Does Clean Eating Really Mean For Female Runners?

What Does Clean Eating Really Mean For Female Runners?

Clean eating, eating clean… we’ve heard the phrases. But what do they really mean when it comes to running and eating? 

The phrase “clean eating” is one of the most over-used set of words on the internet at the moment. Everywhere from Facebook to forums, blogs to e-books are using the phrase. But what on earth does it actually mean? And does it matter? We explore whether female runners need to think about eating “clean” or not. 

There’s no real definition for clean eating, and nobody seems sure about where the phrase originated. Over the past year or so, it’s come to mean a way of eating which shuns processed, man made foods and focuses on foods which are as close as possible to the way they were grown or raised.  

Whilst meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and leaves, fruit and berries, nuts and seeds are the ultimate clean foods, it seems that even treat foods have somehow come to be split: either making it onto the deemed-acceptable list, or banished to the naughty list of fitness.

Raw chocolate? Clean

Regular chocolate bars? Unclean!

Dark chocolate with high cocoa content? The jury’s out, but everyone except the most hardcore nutritional evangelist would say that this is a far better option than milk or white chocolate, and has nutritional benefits as long as you don’t over do it. 

It’s often the case that a food item you’d think would be clean (or “healthy”, “nutritious” or “beneficial to a healthy eating approach”, if you prefer!) can be scuppered by the inclusion of one or two sneaky ingredients. Protein bars, flapjacks and healthier-eating, better-for-you breakfast choices, for example. It’s all good until you spot the high amount of sugar, or trans fats, or corn syrup. 

So, does it really matter? Well, of course, eating a diet as high in unprocessed foods, natural ingredients and fresh, wholesome, local food is always going to be best for your body, your mind and for the environment too. But it’s just not realistic for most of us to prepare 100% of our meals and snacks, to research the origins of all our food, and to never buy things from convenience stores. 

Perhaps the answer lies in educating ourselves so we can make informed choices and be confident that the approach we’ve chosen for our food, and the food we feed our families, fits not only our dietary needs but our foodie ethics, environmental values and our pocket, too. 

The bottom line? Read labels, understand ingredients and cook simple nutritious meals from natural ingredients when you can, and do your best. Get clued up so you can do your educated, informed best.

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