Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Perfection, Social Media & Clean Eating
Chances are if you're a reader of SSL or have stumbled upon this particular blog post, you have some sort of an interest in a particular lifestyle du jour. Clean eating, green living, whatever you call it, it most likely falls under that sort of umbrella. Whilst I most certainly love nothing other than a heaped bowl of courgetti or a monster of a green smoothie at the best of times, I must admit that I'm getting a little sick to the back of my teeth of the really pure, clean and green living that has been bombarding social media sites over the past few years. It seems we all fall into that trap of following a trend in life, whether in fashion, music, the way we cut our hair. Our diet and the way we keep ourselves fit and healthy seems to change like the weather. There always appears to be a new way of living that so many of us choose to replicate in our day to day lives, and then suddenly, 6 months, maybe even a year later, we completely change and follow the herd to a different way of life.
This new type of healthy living that is taking over many of our lives encourages us to think pure, clean, lean, unprocessed, and free-from Western 'poisons' such as wheat, sugar and dairy. Of course, with the rise in social media platforms, namely Instagram, has meant spreading the word has made the knowledge of this ever so fashionable lifestyle much more knowledgeable.
There has been the rise of new healthy lifestyle writers, Honestly Healthy, they claim and promising us that by following their advice, we'll all transform into Clean & Lean Green Goddesses in no time. All the while it must be recognised there are many of these writers who have qualifications in health and nutrition, and offer rather sound advice, the trouble lies with the image focused society we live in - a picture tells a thousand words and we want the message instantly. We want to know how to be lean, fit and healthy by simply looking at it in one simple image, and we tend to ignore the words and education that comes with it. Is your Instagram feed being overtaken by green smoothies and energy balls made from blitzed dried fruit and nuts? Well you'd better jump on board too, and begin your journey to first class health! There seems to be a huge chunk of education about healthier living missing online and on social media. It's no good falling under the spell and following the crowd, it won't get you anywhere. You need a sound understanding of basic nutrition if you're really adamant about embarking on a healthier lifestyle, and it is most certainly no good preaching about being 'clean and green' if you don't really understand what you're presenting.
I'm totally guilty of following it all too - if you open up my Instagram or Twitter account, it features a lot of images varying from yoga poses, green juices, raw 'healthy' desserts, 'sugar free' bakes, avocado toast, and cauliflower pizza. It's terribly easy to look at these images and be lured in, confidently telling ourselves we'll be like that too one day.
What must be remembered however is these are heavily edited images. They are snap shots of someones daily highlights. Yes, they may have posted an image of their green-smoothie-and-açai-bowl-post-Bikram-yoga-session, but did they show you the humongous cheesy pizza and entire tub of ice cream they demolished later that evening? Most likely, no! We need a little perspective when it comes to social media, especially when it comes to healthier living. Just think about how much you up the contrast and brightness on your images whilst you edit them before posting online. It's so easy to get sucked in and be awe-struck by the 'perfection' that is presented online. It is absolutely fantastic that social media is enriched with an abundance of healthy living bloggers and users, and it is now considered 'cool' to be healthy. However, it all needs stripping back a little and we need to remember about balance. We need to remember that food fuels us and should be enjoyed. I always say, and always will say, as long as you're eating good, nutritious and delicious meals the majority of the time, there is certainly nothing wrong with indulging. Perfection is boring - believe me, I strived for it once upon a time and it wasn't as great as I'd hoped.
One of my favourite quotes from Nigella Lawson's new cook book, Simply Nigella, states "Food is not dirty, the pleasures of the flesh are essential to life and, however we eat, we are not guaranteed immortality or immunity from loss". I wholeheartedly agree with this (I even remember fist pumping the air when I first read it!), and really, life's too short to deprive ourselves and be sucked into these trendy ways of eating. Silly overpriced ingredients and putting a label on the way we eat and live our lives is not the way forward. Eat well, move your backside and enjoy yourself. Don't get sucked into these images and ideas of perfection. It's not real and what's most important is the way you live your life that suits you.
Is the healthy living community/culture going too far? Do you think social media is damaging the message?
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