First off, a hearty "well done" to whatever party got this trend going. Way to capitalize on basic logic and then claim it is a revolutionary new diet system. As always, the diet industry can be trusted to take the simple act of eating healthy and turn it into big business. When "clean eating" fails to create weight loss, so much the better! Then a new system can be marketed, and so it goes.
Second, this movement, like all most nutrition movements, really is only for the affluent. People don't eat poorly (as defined by nutrition standards, no one owes anyone else a diet arbitrarily deigned "healthy") because they don't know that broccoli is better than fruit snacks. They eat poorly because dollars spent on broccoli don't stretch as far as dollars spent on fruit snacks. Much like going paleo and stressing about organics, "clean eating" is the realm of the wealthy.
However, since I have been doing this here clean eating for a while, I will say it is pretty interesting what happens. The following is purely my experience, that I have had purely because I enjoy a well-acknowledged position of social/financial privilege. My choice need not be your choice, my experience may not be yours.
- I do feel better. When I eat food that has not been processed, I feel good. When I eat processed food or take-out, I feel less good. I may still chose to indulge, but now it is a conscious choice. (This is an important part of eating in a Health at Every Size manner. Though this movement also ignores the "healthy food is expensive" issue, it makes this good point.)
- I don't want the processed stuff or take-out as much. I just don't find that I crave it the way I used to.
- Food tastes different. I now find that processed foods taste "off" to me. Store bought bread has a funny after-taste. Take out Chinese tastes very different from my homemade version, and I now prefer the latter.
I do sometimes marvel though at how different my diet is now as compared to 3-4 years ago. I was looking back on all my posts about doing Weight Watchers (still have mixed feelings about that phase of my life), cutting carbs and desperately trying to find the magic bullet to be thin. Ironically, even though I am at my heaviest weight ever, I am probably the healthiest I have ever been in my adult life. Why? Because I can indulge in middle-class luxuries like access to healthy food, access to safe activity and access to decent healthcare (as arduous as navigating that system may be). So sure, clean eating, I am on it.