What Exactly Is Clean Eating?
Presenting at the 2015 Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences in Ottawa this week, Professor Gillian McCann says she will:
Examine the largely unconscious ways in which food continues to play a role in determining who is and is not pure, in creating communities and producing fanaticism.
Could it be that clean eating and other pseudo-scientific dietary dogma is providing a secular substitute for religious impulses? Are we seeking God in the food habits we proudly cultivate, believing that they will save us from poor health and mortality? In an interview with Canada’s National Post, McCann says:
If you think you’re the pure, someone else is impure. The more self-righteous we are about what we eat — because it’s ethical or healthy or local — the more we also tend to judge others on what they eat. Or worse, who they are.
The trouble is that concepts of clean or healthy eating seem to change with the wind. Plant-based diets seem virtuous at the moment. But to Paleo diet believers, meat is essential.
Convictions about dietary purity have deep roots in many spiritual traditions. It’s unlikely that people will stop seeking dietary purity. But we would do well to avoid confusing dietary rituals with nutrition science.
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