The BBC recently aired ‘Clean Eatings Dirty Secrets’, a documentary looking at the plant-based diets sweeping the internet. Although it gets veganism out into the public eye, this documentary was pretty much a complete shambles.
Only half an hour long, not only did it lack structure and a clear message, it portrayed veganism in a pretty negative light. The presenter went from Deliciously Ella style clean eating, to a potato cleanse, to raw veganism in the blink of an eye.
What Is Orthorexia?
There was a large focus on Orthorexia – an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.
Although I agree that an obsession with healthy eating can be a stepping stone for disorders such as anorexia, I do doubt the existence of Orthorexia.
Avoiding specific food in the belief that they are harmful is not a dangerous thing to do. I avoid animal products because of their extremely detrimental effects on my health, yet I am certain I do not suffer from Orthorexia. This definition is too broad, and could apply to anyone who wants to take control of their health.
Just like I choose not to smoke, I choose what I eat.
‘Veganism is Middle Class’
It went downhill rather rapidly, with a trip to an organic store and complaints of £6 loaves of bread. This only supports the argument that veganism is exclusive, and only available to the middle class. The presenter also had to remove white rice, wheat and refined sugar from her kitchen, all things the majority of vegans still consume.
Commence whining about missing eggs and avocado on toast. Eat avocado on toast! Why does she think showing veganism as restrictive is the only way to do things? Scrap the cholesterol high eggs and have avocado with tomato instead, much healthier and ethical.
This Deliciously Ella phase lasted a few minutes, before the presenter claimed she was crying, exhausted, and not eating enough.
Then, came the potato cleanse.
Despite High Carb Hannah saying that this cleanse should last only a week, as a way to ease yourself into a high starch diet, the presenter seemed to forget this. After drizzling a sweet potato with half a bottle of olive oil and claiming she felt bloated, she went off to a nutritionist.
Yes, this is not a diet to last your whole life, and she specifically said it should only last a week.
Yet, instead of giving the regular high starch lifestyle a try, she quit and followed the nutritionists advice of avoiding it.
Then came raw veganism. With video clips of spiralizers being used to replace pasta with courgettes and no carbs in sight, once again only a fraction of veganism was presented.
Who’s To Blame?
After a meeting with a woman who lost 20% of her body weight by following clean eating guides, the message of this documentary became very confused.
The woman claimed she was following no carbs, no wheat, no gluten, and swapping rice for items such as cauliflower. How is this exclusive to plant-based or vegan diets?
To add, she outright stated that the ‘eat clean guides’ did not tell her to make these substitutions, and that she chose to do so herself. So this is not a clean eating issue, this is her own issue.
Take one look at the top-selling diet books, and low carb will be their main selling points.
With scammers like Joe Wicks creating recipes such as ‘low carb butter chicken’, why aren’t they mentioned too?
How is a bowl of nothing but chicken that’s covered in cream better than a woman told to not eat carbs in a plant-based diet?
Why isn’t Holly Hagan included, with her diets telling young teenage girls to eat 500 calories a day? Why is clean eating fads only associated with veganism?
The overall tone of this documentary is undeniably confusion and misinformation.
When a lady is interviewed about the ‘alkaline diet’, the editing is unbelievably biased. Once again, the alkaline diet is not something that I would follow as the benefits are questionable, but editing the clips only to include the questions where the interviewee looks awkward or refuses to answer the question is poor documentary making.
All of these plant-based diets were shown to be the spawn of satan, bashing the ideas of ‘fad’ diets and showing all the negatives. Yet, as the documentary drew to a close, included was a positive conversation with the author of ‘I Quit Sugar’.
Here, she bashes the idea of fads, and the benefits of quitting sugar.
So all along, the message slightly followed the idea of not cutting out food groups, yet here they are praising a woman who completely cut out sugar.
Take a quick look on iquitsugar.com and find 8 week programmes, how to use spiralizers (once again, low carb), and low sugar recipes to give your kids.
Cause kids don’t need energy or anything when growing up, right?
Should You Cut Out Food Types?
The message of not cutting out entire food groups was repeated multiple times in Clean Eatings Dirty Secrets, as well as the importance of protein.
However, when meat has multiple negative impacts such as being a class 1 cancer causing carcinogen as well as being pumped with antibiotics and hormones, this is misleading.
It MUST be cut out.
Does it not make sense to cut out foods that according to the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine “the high fat content of meat and other animal products increases hormone production, thus increasing the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.”
We all also need protein, but not the amount we are drilled into believing that we need. Unless you are extremely active or have already lost fat and are looking to gain muscles, men need around 63 grams and women 52 grams per day.
You can also get all the necessary protein without a single animal source. So even though people claim you shouldn’t remove entire food groups, everything you get from animals, you can get from a healthier, plant-based source.
Yet on the same site, she sells gelatine made from “super-nutritious bones, hides and connective tissues of animals”.
I know what I’d rather feed myself and my kids.
What Was Clean Eatings Dirty Secrets?
This wasn’t particularly a documentary about the dirty secrets of clean eating, it was more showcasing the dangers of orthorexia.
Simply put, it seemed as though Grace had set out on a vendetta against veganism, leading to gross amounts of misinformation and misrepresentation.
In order for this to be a more successful documentary, it should have included all aspects of the fitness industry. Showcasing the dirty secrets of Instagram empires such as Kayla Itsines and Joe Wicks, not just all plant-based bloggers they could get their hands on.
And there we have it, Clean Eatings Dirty Secrets rather suddenly comes to a close. What was clean eatings dirty secrets? That some people believe clean eating to be cutting out wheat, carbs, gluten and sugar? That orthorexia only affects those who follow vegan or plant-based diets?
Instead it seemed to be nothing more than a dig at plant-based diets. Those shown in a negative light were only those that were vegan, and failed to show the thousands of success stories.
And the funniest part? At the end the ‘nutritionist’ sat there drinking her coffee, clearly not carbed up and relying on stimulating drugs to power her miserable days.