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“Clean Eating”- I’m Tired of Feeling Guilty

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I try to keep the majority of things on this blog focused on food/recipes/reviews, and this is certainly the most personal post I have ever written, but seriously…it needs to be said.  I apologize if this post seems a bit disheveled, but I had so many thoughts going on and it was tough to get it all down at once.

I am fed up.  I am frustrated.  I am exhausted.  I am annoyed.  And, quite frankly, I am so tired of feeling guilty.  About what, you ask?  Well…a whole ‘lotta things.

I am tired of feeling guilty about…

…not eating “enough” vegetables each day.

…eating “too many” treats.

…eating white bread at restaurants when I “should” be eating whole wheat bread.

…occasionally eating or drinking products that contain high fructose corn syrup.

…treating myself at restaurants now and then.

…drinking and eating products that contain artificial sweeteners (yes, I drink Crystal Light and a Diet Coke now and then and chew lots of sugar-free gum- sue me).

…resorting to frozen meals/TV dinners (even if they are Amy’s).

…eating “too many” processed foods.

…eating foods that contain unnecessary preservatives.

…etc., etc., etc.
tired of guilt{Source}
I realize that this blog is called “Clean Eating Veggie Girl.”  And if I were being honest and was choosing the name all over again, I likely would have picked something different.  But I didn’t.  This is it.  This is Clean Eating Veggie Girl.  I eat a mostly vegan diet that is full of lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and plenty of vegetables and fruit.  I do pretty well for myself when it comes to the healthy eating department.  But I am not perfect, nor should I be expected to be.  And while I may not eat “clean” (and by whose standards?) all of the time, I still consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater and I am proud of that.

What I am not so proud of are my feelings of guilt for not being “clean enough” or for not living up to the name of my blog.  If you were around me, eighty percent of the time you would probably consider me to be a pretty “clean” eater.  And the other twenty percent of the time?  Well, that is called sanity.  Some people may be able to eat “clean” all of the time.  Me?  Not so much.  I need a processed (yet still vegan) veggie burger, hot dog, “meatball,” or corn dog now and then for the sake of ease and deliciousness.  I need an aspartame-filled Diet Coke when my body and mind are tired and I do not have access to a Zevia.  I need a Crystal Light packet in my water on a daily basis in order to help me increase my water intake.  And, quite possibly the most important thing that I need is holiday candy (especially these) for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas because honestly nobody should be without these (unless for medical reasons), especially for a reason so silly as trying to be a “perfect eater.”
tired of guilt 2{Source}
So what am I going to do about these feelings?  I am going to keep on blogging.  I am going to eat a diet that is based on my standards for “clean eating” and healthy living.  And I am going to enjoy life more by eating those “not so clean” foods that other twenty percent of the time.  But most importantly, I am going to work to quit feeling guilty about doing so, and I am not going to apologize for eating in a way that is best for me.  Trying to be the “perfect eater” (<–I somewhat blame my Type-A/perfectionist personality on this) has consumed my life in a way that is simply not worth it.  It has caused me stress, it has left me feeling sad and guilty, and it has resulted in me missing out on things over the past year or so.  Those things, to me, do not equate to happiness.  And, my friends, I am looking for a life full of happiness.

Now don’t worry.  This does not mean I am going to completely change the things that are important to me and my health.  I am still going to follow a mostly plant-based diet.  I am still going to eat lots of veggies- because honestly, I crave vegetables (especially when topped with and dipped into nut butters or hummus).  You will still find plenty of mostly plant-based and “clean” recipes and meal ideas here, but you will also be finding more accounts of me doing my best to eat what I want, not what I think others expect me to eat as a “clean” healthy living blogger.  I have said moderation is key, but I actually want to practice that philosophy.  Oh, and the same goes for Twitter and Instagram.  If you do not like my Diet Coke picture on Instagram then please unfollow my account.  I am hard enough on myself as it is and do not need those feelings from others.

I am not perfect.  I should not have to be perfect.   And I really think very few people out there expect me to be perfect.  I sure hope you don’t.  I am going need to focus more on enjoying the good and fun parts of life.  Following a mostly plant-based diet can be and is delicious to me, but so are the occasional Reese’s eggs, cans of Diet Coke, and overly-processed meals and condiments.  Food is about balance.  I have taken things to the extreme and now it is time to get back to a life of balance.  I want to be full-time friends with my food again, not just part-time friends when I am being “perfect.”  Most importantly, I want to enjoy the little things (like the occasional sweet treat or pop) in life because avoiding these little things has caused me to miss out on a lot of the BIG things that really  matter.

-Signed, the now sometimes Clean Eating Veggie Girl :)

Tell me…how do you find a healthy balance when it comes to “clean eating?”

{ 94 comments… add one }

  • Kim @ BusyBod April 4, 2014, 6:21 am

    This post is EVERYTHING I have been feeling lately. I am so stressed about being perfect because I want my blog to be authentic and I want to set the best example. The result is this recurring guilt and anxiety that I will make a decision I won’t feel comfortable blogging about because it won’t be up to some ridiculous standard I’m setting. This -> “me doing my best to eat what I want, not what I think others expect me to eat as a “clean” healthy living blogger” is just perfect. Thank you so much for writing and venting and being true to yourself. It gives others the freedom to do the same.
    Kim @ BusyBod recently posted…Mexican tofu scramble {recipe}My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:27 am

      Thank you, Kim! It took me awhile to figure it out, but I have found that people are a lot more likely to read your blog and connect with you when you are REAL and NOT perfect than when you are unrelatable.

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 4, 2014, 6:23 am

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, girl! I honestly think that you’re putting more pressure on yourself to eat clean than anyone else expects from you. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed a huge shift in peoples’ mentality concerning clean eating — everyone advocates easing up and having some fun! So enjoy your treats and don’t worry about it :)
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #72 .My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:29 am

      I have definitely noticed that shift, as well, and I think that is one of the reasons why I have started analyze my feelings/guilt towards myself. It is so unnecessary and I am glad that I am FINALLY starting to see that!

  • Joanna @Makingmine April 4, 2014, 6:26 am

    Amen! :)

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:33 am

      :)

  • Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat April 4, 2014, 7:34 am

    I’m love this post, Hannah! I’ve definitely been feeling this way to some degree as well. And really, it’s all about balance and indulging in those treats when we want them. I mean…we only live once, right!?!
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted…Totally Random Bits of Info #13My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:35 am

      Yes!! And I have been telling myself that a lot lately. There is no point in missing out on such great things for something so silly!

  • Lizz April 4, 2014, 8:12 am

    Same boat, here! In the past week and a half, my partner decided she wanted artichokes for dinner so I had to break my no oil rule twice in one week, lol. It’s no big. I try not to cheat because I know I’ll feel horrible when I do, but sometimes a girl wants a vegan sausage on the weekends! And that’s OKAY. I try to keep my “unclean” foods to weekends only so I a) have something to look forward to, and b) so I can keep track of how healthy I’m actually being. Works really well for me.
    Lizz recently posted…Miso Soup With Tofu, Soba, and CabbageMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:36 am

      And THAT is the most important thing…doing what is best for YOU! I need to start focusing more on doing what is best for ME.

  • Katie April 4, 2014, 8:22 am

    I can’t quite consider my eating “clean” but I definitely ate a little extra last night while out at dinner with family friends. So my goal today is to keep the snacks to a minimum (I’d prefer no snacks, just good balanced meals). And also to make sure I drink plenty of water, because I’m planning on meeting a few friends for a drink later tonight.
    Katie recently posted…Fast Friday: Confessions!My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:37 am

      Your comment is the perfect example of doing what is best for ourselves as individuals instead of doing “what everyone else is doing.” I, for one, could not live without my snacks ;)

  • Amy @ Long Drive Journey April 4, 2014, 8:33 am

    I say all power to you on this one, girl! Honestly, I think this whole obsession about what everyone is eating all the time, and is it clean, is it veg, is it vegan, is it healthy – is ridiculous. I have read your blog enough to know your food philosophy, which also helps me to know that you lead a VERY healthy lifestyle and that you eat healthy foods. But if you decided to stop being vegan and start eating burgers and fries every day, that is your business. I realize that you have a blog and so you are putting your eating habits out there for the world to judge and see, but at the end of the day, they are YOUR eating habits. So eat what you want. Don’t eat it if it doesn’t agree with you, or if you feel that it’s unhealthy. Choose the percentage of “clean” to “unclean” (really silly words, if you ask me) that you want. Or if you decide you want to chuck the percentage out the window, I say all power to you. Like you said, I can think of about a million things that matter more than whether or not you drank something with high fructose corn syrup in it.
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey recently posted…Love The One You’re WithMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:40 am

      SO true, especially that last sentence. There are SO many more things in life that matter way more than what I am eating and drinking. Thank you for your thoughts and support, Amy! :)

  • Ashley April 4, 2014, 8:49 am

    Oh gosh can I relate to this post! From another type-A personality I get these things in my head where everything has to perfect …. which in turn causes so much stress trying to be perfect! And I agree – moderation and being happy – so so much more important than perfection!
    Ashley recently posted…Baked Asparagus and Mushroom PastaMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:42 am

      Yes! Us type-A’s definitely put a lot of unnecessary stress on ourselves…and that stress is not healthy at all, so no matter how “healthy” I am eating, I am still being unhealthy.

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles April 4, 2014, 8:52 am

    Proud of you for writing this out girl! I’m 100% with you – I can’t, nor do I want to eat ‘clean’ all the time. I’ve been having a lot more fun with life ever since I realized that I’m fine with going out for a burger and fries (a veggie burger in your case ;-) ) once in a while! Honestly, I think the whole ‘super-clean-eating’ thing is overrated, and it seems to be slowly dying out as people realize that yes, life is more fun with some cake thrown in there once in a while. Just do what works best for you …’Vegan-Who-Sometimes-Drinks-Diet-Coke-Because-It’s-Awesome-Girl’! ;-) (P.S. It really is. I will never give up that stuff entirely).
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Five Things Friday 04/04/2014.My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:46 am

      Haha, I LOVE this Sam!! And yes, Diet Coke seriously is awesome. There is no replacement for that. But in all seriousness, you are right. Life is WAY more fun with a veggie burger and fries and and then…oh and some pizza and ice cream!

  • Melissa @ Nourish By Melissa April 4, 2014, 8:56 am

    This is great. I used to struggle with feeling guilty when I “failed” to eat “clean” but I have come to realize that in the end, it isn’t about what you do every once in awhile, but rather what you do on a daily basis. Therefore, the occasional treat is completely fine (and delicious!). Keep it up :)
    Melissa @ Nourish By Melissa recently posted…Apple Cinnamon Date Bread with Crumble ToppingMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:47 am

      SO true! I definitely need to focus more on the 80% of the time and not so much on the 20% of the time because treats now and then are not gonna hurt me…instead they will actually help me to have more fun and enjoy life more!

  • Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie April 4, 2014, 9:00 am

    What an honest, inspiring post! I felt so guilty and shameful when I added chicken and turkey back into my life after being a vegetarian for two years. And then I realized that I was the only one judging myself. You have to do what’s right for you, no one else. Life is too short, do what makes you happy! And for what it’s worth, you are one of the healthiest eaters I know, even when you feel like you’re not eating clean!
    Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted…Five Facts Friday 10My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:56 am

      Thanks so much, Erin! You are right. When definitely judge ourselves and are harder on ourselves than anybody else is!

  • Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog April 4, 2014, 9:21 am

    I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling this way… you should NEVER feel guilty about anything you eat!! Healthy eating looks different for everyone and it’s okay it that includes so called “unhealthy” foods. I eat my fruits and veggies and avoid most processed food, but I’d never live without some froyo in my life. I say eat what you want, eat what your body needs, enjoy it and move on. No guilt, no need to be “perfect.”
    Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog recently posted…Recent Finds: Pinterest WorkoutsMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:58 am

      Thank you, Dana! I SO appreciate your comments and support. My “healthy” eating is different from others and that is a-okay. And I hear you. I could not go without some froyo/ice cream from time to time. That is part of the reason why I am not fully vegan! ;)

  • Alison @ The Fit Chronicles April 4, 2014, 9:24 am

    PREACH! I LOVE this! Thanks for being real. I totally know what you mean about feeling guilty over not eating enough veggies. I just had that convo with myself this morning. Take a break, eat what you want, and be happier! You go girl!
    Alison @ The Fit Chronicles recently posted…washing face: pre- or post-workout?My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 11:59 am

      Thank you Alison!! Yes, I definitely need to give myself a break and just EAT what my body is telling me to eat. I know I will be a lot happier when I am more carefree about food.

  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies April 4, 2014, 9:41 am

    I can put my finger on the exact moment in my life when I stopped caring about being perfect, and it was so incredibly liberating. I still work hard to be my best, but I find life so much nicer knowing that ‘my best’ and ‘perfect’ don’t have to be synonymous. Other people will always be fowl, and I sadly find that can be especially true among vegetarians, vegans, ‘clean eaters’, etc and the anonymous sheild that is the internet only makes it worse. It’s harder for me to ignore sanctimonious bitches (sorry, not sorry) that attack everyone for the food they choose to put in your own body mostly because they yell louder than other’s encouragements and my own internal voice. I’m, frankly, always incredibly impressed with your WIAW posts and the super healthy foods you talk about craving — and it encourages me to make better food choices, too. It sounds a little like you have a mix of haters along with your own internal struggle, but I love that you encouraged haters to unfollow and are working on being nicer to yourself! Now go eat a Reese’s egg because you deserve it.
    Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies recently posted…Eggplant Parmigiana QuesadillaMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:02 pm

      Thank you, Kelly! This is seriously one of the best responses that I could have hoped from after writing this post. You are right. No matter what I eat or do, there will always be other people out there judging or talking negatively. But instead of feeling bad about myself for it, I should really feel sorry for them and the fact that they feel it is okay to put others down.

  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles April 4, 2014, 9:57 am

    If you want my opinion, one cannot live in a completely “clean” world. It’s just not possible or sustainable or ENJOYABLE. I love this post and relate to every single point you make. Your blog title suits you. You are a clean eating veggie girl. That does not mean in any way that every single morsel of food that you consume must be a vegetable or “clean”. Heck, my blog is cookie chrunicles and I live more on peanut butter and oatmeal than cookies these days but it the name I wanted, at the time I was in the cooking baking business and you know what? It’s all good. I love my vegetables and eat pretty “clean” most of the time but in no way could I ever survive without “real” fudge cake, “real” cookies and desserts and ice creams and meals out that are prepared in oils and butters and funky things we don’t need to know about. It’s called living. And you are doing it well.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…Lunch At Koi and Grocery Store Must-Haves For This WeekMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:09 pm

      Thank you, Meredith! Everything you said is SO true. You are right. I am still a clean eating veggie girl even if my eats are not perfect. And thank goodness for that because eating “perfectly” is exhausting!

  • Nicole @ FruitnFitness April 4, 2014, 10:16 am

    Everyone should be able to enjoy treats without feeling guilty!! You should not feel guilty about what you eat, if people don’t like seeing it they can read someone else’s blog!
    Nicole @ FruitnFitness recently posted…Doodle ThoughtsMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Haha, so true Nicole!! Thank you for that :)

  • Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants April 4, 2014, 10:20 am

    I love this post! I have had a lot of the same feelings since I am a Personal Trainer, and I think sometimes with that comes the expectation to be perfect as far as both working out and eating go. But that isn’t me. I’m not perfect. I love chocolate and some days, I would rather go on a walk than do a high intensity workout. And that’s okay. To me, it’s all about balance and doing what makes you feel the best, inside and out!
    Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants recently posted…Purpose Exists in the PersonMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:14 pm

      I am sure you can definitely relate! That must be tough having people around you expect you to be “perfect” with your workouts and your food. It sounds like you have developed a healthy balance and relationship with your work and life, though. Thank you for being inspiring :)

  • Lisa C. April 4, 2014, 11:12 am

    This post is actually so refreshing for me to see from you. I have often wondered how you are able to eat so “clean” ;) so I’m all for this! I think it’s normal to be really excited when you start improving your health habits but to remember that it’s much easier to stick with healthy habits when we have a little fun too ;).

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:16 pm

      Isn’t that the truth! My type-A personality definitely causes me to “go all the way” and not half-ass anything. So I think I went a little overboard when it came to the clean/healthy eating thing.

  • Ange @ Cowgirl Runs April 4, 2014, 12:02 pm

    I really loved this post! I really shy away from any claims that I “eat clean” I eat what I want. Sometimes that’s a cookie, and sometimes it’s salad. There are some blogs out there that (I feel) are so unrealistic when it comes to “clean eating” that I just avoid them. I’d be miserable if I ate like that every day!

    Do you, love you and be you! Sometimes haters gonna hate, but if you’re being you that’s all that matters!
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…What Tracking My Calories for One Day Taught MeMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:18 pm

      Thank you Ange! That really helps! I want to portray a more realistic/relatable sense of eating here on my blog…and it seems like that is what everyone else wants too! So that is a win-win :)

  • Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl April 4, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Hannah, you are so awesome and I think you’ve probably just described over half of your readers. I’m pretty sure most of us enjoy treats and foods that some may not consider clean. In fact, I’m chewing a piece of sugar-free gum right now! ;)

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:20 pm

      Thanks so much for the support, Kim!! I am glad to hear that SO many people relate. And yes, sugar-free gum is a must….I mean we don’t want our teeth rotting away now do we? ;)

  • Liz @ I Heart Vegetables April 4, 2014, 4:26 pm

    I used to be soooo strict with myself!!! Now I’ve totally loosened up and it’s amazing. I’m actually less bloated now because I’m not eating raw veggies all the time! I still love my vegetables but I also enjoy treats!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:21 pm

      I already feel a lot better after going more easy on myself when it comes to food this past week. I cannot wait for the good feelings to continue :)

  • Amanda April 4, 2014, 6:42 pm

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much . . I think the fact that you splurge/indulge every once in a while makes you more relatable. Besides, hubby and I compared 2 frozen pizzas for our dinner + entertainment tonight :)
    Amanda recently posted…Beard LollipopsMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:22 pm

      Ahh, frozen pizzas! That takes me back to my college days. They are SO good. And thank you for your support. I definitely want to be relatable to my readers and I now see that that means eating a diet that is not “perfect.”

  • Amanda April 4, 2014, 6:42 pm

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much . . I think the fact that you splurge/indulge every once in a while makes you more relatable. Besides, hubby and I compared 2 frozen pizzas for our dinner + entertainment tonight :) so who I am to judge?
    Amanda recently posted…Beard LollipopsMy Profile

  • Dana @ Dana's B.S. April 4, 2014, 8:02 pm

    This expresses everything that I have been thinking! I’ll read WIAWs and get to the end and just feel like I eat nothing but junk. I can’t afford to spend more than $1 and change on peanut butter. I don’t need to hear crap about why buying all natural is basically essential for survival.
    Dana @ Dana’s B.S. recently posted…A New RoutineMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:24 pm

      Yes, it is time that we get more REAL and do what is best for US, not what everyone else wants/expects us to do.

  • Amanda April 5, 2014, 7:09 am

    This blog post just blew/read my mind!! I think this will relate to so many people out there. I am in the start of my new food blog and the type A/perfectionist part of me has been holding me back from being what I think everyone expects. I agree with all that you said. I work outside of the home and sometimes the “food life” out there makes me stressed/guilty for the choices I sometimes have to make. That being said, life is too short, we need to stay true to ourselves, and most importantly…ENJOY our food, not stress about it. That will do more damage to your body and soul than the occasional soda or treat. Thanks for the motivation Hannah! ;)

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:26 pm

      You are SO right! Stressing about how healthy my food is is actually quite unhealthy to my mind and body. That has to change! And I say go for it with the blog! If I have learned anything, it is that people WANT you to be relatable and REAL, not perfect.

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef April 5, 2014, 6:07 pm

    great post! life is all about balance, and you hit it spot on.
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef recently posted…Oatmeal Fudge BarsMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:27 pm

      Thank you, Sarah! Yes, I was taking things to the extreme and now it is time to balance things out!

  • Jessie April 6, 2014, 8:53 am

    Darling, oh darling! I wish you wouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You are such a beautiful person on the inside & out. Know that it’s okay to enjoy treats or not work out for a week. We’re only human & to share a little secret with you – no one is perfect!

    Clean eating may mean only fruits/veggies/healthy fats to some, but to me.. it’s more about balance & moderation. If you don’t enjoy a donut or coke from time to time, all your doing is restricting yourself what you truly want.

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:33 pm

      Thank you so much, Jessie! I really appreciate your comments :) And you are right. Perfection is impossible so striving for that is really just silly. I am definitely working toward being a more balanced eater and actually ENJOYING treats now and then. Restriction is NOT fun.

  • samantha April 6, 2014, 9:08 am

    I really like this post, and I really relate to it. I wrote something similar on my blog recently about food shaming, and how unhelpful it is, but more from the perspective of understanding other people, and where they have come from. Also, how shaming (either yourself or someone else) isn’t the way for change. To be honest, I don’t understand why we are so hard on ourselves. Actually, I do understand because there are so many conflicting messaged in society and the media, and the diet industry. There is often an ‘all or nothing approach’ in the health and wellness industry too, which I just think is so unhelpful. For me, when I think in all or nothing terms, and make certain foods ‘out of bounds’ I tend to end up splurging too much on them. It’s like, “oh well I’ve screwed up today with having some pizza and cola…might as well eat the rest of the ice cream and pizza until I’m sick now! Bad me. I’ve ruined everything!” It’s just such a toxic way to treat yourself, and it doesn’t make you less healthy for having a few splurges here and there! We all have to live, and it could be taken away at any time. Why not let the small stuff slide =o)

    Thank you for your honesty in these post, it’s so nice to read such genuine thoughts, I just hope that you have really eased up on yourself!
    samantha recently posted…Food Shaming – the right way for change?My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 6, 2014, 12:36 pm

      Thank you so much for your response. Our society is SO focused on the “all or nothing” approach and I definitely got wrapped up into that. It has NOT been helpful, and instead has been exhausting. I am definitely working on the in between and on finding a good balance.

  • Kim @FITsique April 6, 2014, 5:23 pm

    Great post. The thing I don’t like about “clean eating” is that there is no real definition that defines a “clean” food. I also don’t like that it brings about the idea of restriction and that something can be “good” or “bad”. With my clients I see the most success when no restrictions are placed and I can actually tell them to eat what they want just in certain amounts. I am a huge believer in Flexible Dieting because of the non-restrictiveness with it. I like to tell people that your diet should be focused around the “clean” whole unprocessed foods but if you really want to have a small bowl of ice cream or a slice of pizza then it will be ok!
    Kim @FITsique recently posted…IIFYM: If It Fits Your Macros – An Introduction To Flexible DietingMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:13 pm

      I love your philosophy. Restriction seems fine at first, but then it just completely wears on you. It is certainly not a positive way to look at food or a way that works for me.

  • Alexis @ Hummusapien April 6, 2014, 11:14 pm

    PREACH GIRL! I adore this post. Like love times a million. I’ve been eating a chocolate bar every night before bed. I go ham on white bread dipped in oil at the italian restaurant my best friend works at. I eat sweet potato fries dipped in chili garlic aoili all the time at work. I HATE thinking that my readers think I eat super clean all the time. That’s so far from the truth. I’m actually considering doing a post about all the “un-clean” things I’ve eaten before because of the constant comparison issue and the dose of reality that we all so desperately need. No one is perfect, and being a blogger can be so hard. Some people hate you for posting things with sugar then the others hate you for painting a picture of perfection. Just be you, and we’ll always love ya! Fabulous job, lady. Seriously, bravo!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Alexis! I really truly appreciate the support! And yes, I have my own “unclean” WIAW post planned for the future. I say we post ALL about our “unclean eats” <– whatever that means!

  • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats April 7, 2014, 3:21 am

    I’ve felt this pressure before particularly when I participated more regularly in WIAW that if I didn’t post the healthiest of foods that ppl would judge me. Then I realized some of my most liked photos on Instagram were the ones of the not so healthy foods and the main person judging me, was actually just me. I think no one expects others to be perfect and it isn’t what they want to see either because no one is perfect when it comes to food.

    I applaud you writing such an honest and raw post! Know that I will ALWAYS follow your blog as to me it is not just about how ‘clean’ you are eating but about being real too and seeing you eat candy bars just as much as seeing you eat veggies ;)
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted…Currently in AprilMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:18 pm

      Thanks so much, Jan! I truly appreciate your support and kind words :) You are right. I LOVE seeing the other “not so healthy” foods that others eat, so naturally I should expect that others would love to see that from me, too! It seems so obvious, but it took me awhile to figure out.

  • Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen April 7, 2014, 6:20 am

    Love this girl!

    Several years ago I was such a clean eater and guess what? It wasn’t worth it! Now I eat whatever I want – which includes dessert a few times a week, Diet Coke every so often, and whatever else tickles my fancy. Do I still eat healthy most of the time? Yes. But do I stress out about not eating healthy? No. Life is too short for that! I’d rather look back on my life and say I enjoyed stuffing my face with ice cream with friends than say I ate kale salads alone haha.
    Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted…Pita Break Zero Low Low OneBun Review + Hummus and Feta Veggie SandwichMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:22 pm

      You could not have said that better, Chelsea. Eating healthy will not be worth it if I live a life of regrets/missing out on so many great things. SO not worth it.

  • Kelly @ Femme Fitale April 7, 2014, 6:59 am

    Hi Hannah! Although I’ve perused your blog before, I have never commented. Although seeing this post made me want to shout from the rooftops. I feel completely the same as you. I wrote a post a little while back about how I sometimes feel guilty about not living up to my blog name in the eyes of others. Just remember, there will always be people who eat cleaner, in better shape, etc. It doesn’t mean we are NOT. I love your philosophy on enjoying life’s pleasures in moderation and commend you for addressing this issue. Send some of that Easter chocolate over here to Australia for me, would you??? ;)
    Kelly @ Femme Fitale recently posted…A Blogging Birthday & A Few ThoughtsMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:25 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment, Kelly. I truly appreciate every single comment that I have received on this post. It was tough to right, but SO freeing. And you are right. There will always be someone who eats “cleaner,” is in “better shape”…and that is okay (and actually good!). Ahh, yeah you NEED some Easter candy for sure!

  • Jamie @ Sometimes Healthy Living Blog April 7, 2014, 7:28 am

    Beautiful post Hannah – love your honesty! And I completely understand that “pressure” to eat clean. Your outlook and perspective is right: you have to do what is best for you! I figured out long ago that clean eating was just too much for me (it’s even in the about me section), so I try my best to eat clean when I can and just “do me” the rest of the time :-)

    I’m very glad you came to this conclusion and I know your blog will continue to be as amazing as it already is!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:26 pm

      Thanks for the support and kind words, Jamie! Clean eating is great for me SOMETIMES, but it is not something that I want/can do ALL of the time..and that is a-okay! I am glad I am finally starting to realize that.

  • Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome April 7, 2014, 8:55 am

    Way to keep it real girl! People are much more interested in authenticity than in fakeness. Even when it’s just being honest about enjoying “unhealthy” foods or treats. Finding what works best for you is definitely key!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:28 pm

      YES! That is SO true. It took me a long time to realize that but you are right. People are much more likely to enjoy my posts when they can actually relate to me!

  • Katie @ running4cupcakes April 7, 2014, 1:03 pm

    I think you are right on target – it’s all about balance. :)

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:29 pm

      Yes! I’ve been saying that for awhile now, but I actually need to follow it :)

  • Jaclyn @ BumpSweat April 7, 2014, 1:47 pm

    Yes! I applaud you so much for writing this honest post. I’ve been there, feeling the guilt and shame from not eating according to the perfect standards I’d placed on myself. And you know what I realized? I’d created a laundry list of ‘food rules’ to follow, some from other people, some of my own doing. And what happens when I break the law or a rule? Guilt and shame! That’s fine if we’re talking harming someone else, but these rules were harming me, enslaving me. I’m so glad you and other people are willing to stand up and say ‘enough!’. We could all stand to analyze our ‘food rules’, how they affect us, and ask whether or not we’re really living by binding ourselves to them. Thank you for this wonderful post!
    Jaclyn @ BumpSweat recently posted…Get Motivated Monday: Starting a Workout RoutineMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:34 pm

      Yes! I almost think I didn’t realize some of the “food rules” I had created for myself, which is sad. But, I am starting to “see the light” and I figure it is better late than never right? Thanks so much for commenting and for providing support. It is much appreciated!

  • Heather @fitncookies April 7, 2014, 7:11 pm

    It’s like we were on the same wavelength last week. Somehow this didn’t show up on my account so I missed it until now and I am SO glad I read it. This is my thoughts to a tee. I do not feel my best if I deprive myself of everything I want. I love Diet Coke, but don’t have it all the time. You better believe when I do, I’m going to enjoy it. I have a hard time sharing so many of the things I eat because they aren’t “clean enough” “all veggies all damn day” etc. I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing others with these thoughts. THESE are the reasons I follow blogs; when I can relate to and feel a connection to the bloggers. I am having a hard time reading blogs these days that only focus on eating unprocessed things, especially going as far as like shampoos and body washes. I am just fine using what I use, and I think you are living an amazing life not depriving yourself. DON’T feel guilty, and if you ever do, shoot me an email. I will remind you that you are living a life, and that means not depriving yourself! Well said, darling!
    Heather @fitncookies recently posted…Workout, An Engagement, Il PizzaioloMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:57 pm

      Thank you so much, Heather. This was an incredibly kind and motivating comment. You said it so well. This is a LIFE. And living life means ENJOYING my food and eating everything that I want in moderation. I should not be feeling bad when I am not “perfect,” because that is sucking all of the fun/enjoyment out of life. We are all in this together and we can all starting living/enjoying life more with our food choices!

  • Cassie April 7, 2014, 7:40 pm

    I’m so confused as to why we are all so mean and judge-y on the Internet. It’s your blog – why should people have an opinion on what you talk about/what you put into your body if it isn’t affecting them?
    Cassie recently posted…Getting it Together on the Road: SavannahMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 6:59 pm

      I know, right? Judging is not cool and not fun for ANYONE- the person doing the judging and the person being judged. We definitely need to all just start LIVING and do what is best for us.

  • Katie @ Live Half Full April 7, 2014, 8:51 pm

    I think you’re heading in the right direction! I know it’s been several times- but don’t be so hard on yourself! Find a balance that works for you and stick to that. Sometimes it’ll be easy to be “clean” and other times it’ll be a not-so-clean time. That’s ok! Balance!!!!
    Katie @ Live Half Full recently posted…The Funemployment GameMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 7:00 pm

      Thank you Katie!! Balance can be so hard to achieve (especially when you are hard on yourself like I am), but I WILL find that balance because that is what is best for me both physically and mentally.

  • Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes April 8, 2014, 12:41 am

    Awww don’t be so hard on yourself!! You’re still doing way better than most of us as far as healthy eating (meanly ME mostly) haha

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 8, 2014, 7:01 pm

      Haha, you are too kind! ;) I definitely need to cut myself some slack. I am so glad that everyone else agrees too :)

  • Lauren April 10, 2014, 8:36 pm

    100% agree! I tend to think of healthy eating as definitely including treats. It’s all about mindset – restricting treats and only “eating clean” makes us crave the treats even more. No one should feel guilty about enjoying their favorite foods!
    Lauren recently posted…Power of Probiotics: 3 Ways they Can Help your HealthMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 15, 2014, 6:45 pm

      That is definitely true. When I completely limited myself from eating treats I would always binge on them whenever I actually ate them for a special occasion (Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, etc.)…so not healthy physically or mentally.

  • Yasmin April 13, 2014, 3:48 am

    Ahhh I loved this post so much and can definitely relate to a lot you talked about!! (Chocolate chip cravings anyone?)
    Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts on this! We definitely need to stop being so hard on ourselves!
    xxx
    Yasmin
    Yasmin recently posted…Embrace YOU!My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 15, 2014, 6:53 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, Yasmin! You are SO right. We really need to give ourselves a break and stop being so darn critical of ourselves and of others!

  • Danica @ It's Progression April 15, 2014, 3:20 pm

    Hannah, I’m currently playing catch-up with your blog so I just read this post…..girl, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I can relate to this – that terrible, TERRIBLE feeling of guilt (and sometimes even shame for me) that unnecessarily comes from eating choices. I want you to know that it’s truly possible to overcome those feelings, to slowly but surely override them with positivity, and I’ve been working on this exact same thing this past year – it really does get better! Please email me if you EVER want to talk! <3
    Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted…Grapeseed Oil as Eye Makeup RemoverMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 15, 2014, 7:09 pm

      Thanks so much for your support and amazingly kind words, Danica! It is definitely tough, but I have been feeling A LOT better over the past couple of weeks. I am trying to keep a positive mindset and so far it has been going quite well. I hope I can keep it up! It is certainly very challenging, but I know it is what is best for me both physically and mentally.

  • char eats greens April 19, 2014, 9:29 pm

    I get this!! Although I don’t focus so much on the “clean” eating because I think it would also drive me insane when I veered away from it, but I do feel like I SHOULD be eating more veggies, etc at times. Like, this morning I ate a scones that had icing, before 9am! HA! I’m sure there’s balance in your diet, just like I know mine all balances out too! You’re doing a great job, trust me ;)
    char eats greens recently posted…saturday stories: what running 7 days in a row did to/for meMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 20, 2014, 8:05 pm

      Thanks so much for the support and kind words, Char! I appreciate it more than you know :)

  • Carly @ Snack Therapy April 22, 2014, 12:53 am

    I definitely don’t eat “clean.” Sometimes, yes. But sometimes I need a diet soda or a frozen meal or 8,000 Oreos… Life is about so much more than “clean.” It’s about the perfect balance for YOU, which you’re a pro at ;).
    Carly @ Snack Therapy recently posted…Inner Bitch vs. Inner NarcissistMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 22, 2014, 6:46 am

      You are SO right Carly, and I am really working hard to find that balance. Thanks for your kind words and support. I REALLY appreciate it :)

  • Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut June 19, 2014, 1:10 pm

    I think you eat super healthy, but that’s just one perspective. You are certainly a healthy eater by Nebraska standards..ha! I used to get called a health nut which sounds ridiculous to me considering all the junk I do eat, but again…it’s all perspective! When you open yourself up to the whole wide world of blogging (and Instagram!), there will definitely be people telling you that you’re doing it wrong. You just gotta do your thing! Easier said than done of course, but what’s the use of eating a cookie or two when you’re going to feel guilty about it? That’s my two cents! Just know we’ve all felt like that at one point or another, but only YOU can decide what to put in your mouth. (in a non dirty way ha!)
    Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut recently posted…Apera Bags Discount Code, Review + GiveawayMy Profile

  • Randy June 30, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Just found your blog and am enjoying reading through it. I come across this post which I can relate to. I think my problem is I’m too concerned with labeling myself and our diet. I want to simply say I am a vegan or I eat a whole food, plant based diet, but it’s not that simple. At home we do pretty good but eating out I know what we order may appear to be vegan & healthy but under the surface may not be. Dining out is something we really enjoy and we won’t give it up and I need to learn to not feel guilty when we do. I get on to my wife when I find a Twizzlers wrapper in the trash and she on to me for my empty Chex Mix bag. We need to call a truce :-)
    Randy recently posted…Post Breakfast – Pre Rain RideMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 30, 2014, 4:49 pm

      Thank you Randy for commenting! Yes, it can be tricky when trying to follow a healthy diet when it comes to finding a balance between the extremes of unhealthy and healthy eating. I limited myself for awhile but found that it was mentally unhealthy for me to do so. I say go for the treats now and then and don’t feel guilty as long as it is more of an “every once in awhile” kind of thing. Also… Twizzlers happen to be one of my favorite foods! ;)

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