Over the years the seesaw of nutrition trends appears to have only done one thing: confused performers. The 80’s brought around the super low calorie hype, the 90’s had the low fat Atkins crew, and now we’ve done a high fat, low carb Paleo spin.
But amongst all the scaremongering and bullshit, there is one myth that seems to have hung around like a wet fart in a dressing room. Clinging for dear life, this fucker is just so overwhelming, ubiquitous, and just down right gospel it’s scary.
Whether you’re on low carbs, high carbs, or no carbs, everyone seems to agree on this one. And when I say everyone, I really do mean everyone. From your mom, to your stage manager, to your casting director, even your trainer. Hell, I hear physicians and nutritionists spouting this myth.
Amazingly enough, throughout the decadent years of diet myths, no one ever seemed to question why this bad boy hung around – they just rolled with it.
So here’s my attempt to shower you with a rainbow filled, unicorn inspired knowledge bomb that you’ll (probably) never forget.
The myth I’m referring to is “clean eating” and if there’s one thing performers need to drill into their psyche it’s this.
There is no such thing as a bad food, only a bad diet.
Remember those “clean” foods your cute actor friend told you about? The ones that helped him burn his belly fat? Well, they kind of don’t exist. I’ll get to the kind of bit later. For now, it’s important to understand that there is nothing inherently bad about eating the foods you love.
To look good naked you just need to focus a little more on the amount you consume. I understand how hard this is to wrap your brain around at first but have faith. You’ll be thanking me later.
I’m taking the bull by the horns here and giving it to you straight.
(By the way, that did actually happen. I once tackled a bull in Mexico. And of course, I won.)
Anyway, what actually constitutes a food being categorized as “clean”? Why all the confusion? One of the huge issues with the term “clean” is that different groups of people have their own version of what “clean” means. It’s subjective.
Vegetarians believe a meat-free diet is the answer. Vegans think animal products are the devil. Most governments utilize cholesterol and saturated fat scaremongering, and bodybuilders detest anything that isn’t chicken and broccoli.
In the end it all comes down to “nutrient density,” a douchebag term for the amount of micronutrients in a particular food. Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) are the good guys that help your body fight disease, function optimally and carry on being fucking awesome.
For example, a Twinkie has barely any micronutrients compared to Broccoli. That is extrapolated to Twinkie’s make you fat, Twinkie’s cause cancer, Twinkie’s cause diabetes and heart disease.
Well shit, if you sit on your ass all-day and just eat Twinkie’s then yeah that is pretty likely. But, if you’re jumping from audition to audition and eating a mostly whole food diet, the odd Twinkie is not going to kill you.
Don’t be afraid of processed foods. In modern day living you’re not going to be able to avoid them forever. Moderation is the key.
What I’m not saying…
Let’s be clear here. I’m not in any way advocating that performers eat a diet full of processed food. I’m not suggesting the superiority of processed food over whole food at all.
What I am saying is that in the context of a balanced diet, there is no such thing as a “bad” food. And living in fear that certain foods are directly “unhealthy” and fattening is a surefire way to binge town.
This mental categorization of food is actually diagnosed as a medical condition now. Orthorexia Nervosa is a proposed eating disorder in which people believe certain foods are directly unhealthy or “dirty”. They suffer diet delusions during the week and end up binging on weekends.
The belief of “clean” vs. “dirty” breeds seriously bad relationships with food. If you’re a performer, there’s no need for nutrition to control your life when you’re just looking to nail a few more auditions and perform well on stage.
Most people giving out nutrition advice are like a blind men picking out their favorite porno. They’re guessing and following the crowd. As tough as it can be with the Internet nowadays, always try and find evidence-based resources.
Wrapping it up
1. Get rid of any predetermined beliefs about certain foods being “clean” – unless of course you’re spraying that shit with Windex. (Disclaimer: we do not take responsibility for anyone poisoning themselves with Windex). JOKE, but seriously, don’t do that. Not cool.
2. It’s important to understand that there is nothing inherently bad about eating the foods we love. To look good and perform well we just need to focus more on the amount consume.
3. The perception of a “clean diet” is exactly that. A perception. Such subjective methods should always be scrutinized by evidence. Use science-based resources from companies like MyBroadwayBody.com or Mark Fisher Fitness.
If this article loosens the shackles of the “clean” eating myth around your neck, if it allows you to live a more enjoyable, flexible lifestyle – I have done my job.
As always, if you have questions, we’ve got your back. You can count on the MyBroadwayBody.com team to help you figure it out. Come post on the Community Forum!