I was at the grocery store yesterday and saw a display for a popular protein bar that said #cheatclean. It got me ruminating on about how warped our view of food has become that we are even using this kind of language about the nourishment we put in our bodies.
First of all, I don't even understand the message. The notion that eating a protein bar that is ridiculously high in fiber and touts having zero sugar is "cheating" is ludicrous. Maybe they want you to think it's so tasty (it's not) that you'll think you're eating something that would be considered cheating?
And cheating implies that you're on a diet. They want you to believe that you can "cheat" in a "clean" way by eating this product. Clean eating is a diet pretending to be healthy eating. And just like any other diet, the rules are impossible to follow infinitely, and when the rules are broken (or cheated) you feel guilty.
The underlying morality built into this advertisement is so typical of our weight-obsessed culture. Cheat/obey, clean/dirty – the flip side of the words #cheatclean highlights the judgment we place on ourselves in regards to our eating.
Words matter. What language are you using in regards to your eating?