Clean Eating

After a lovely birthday/vacation spent relaxing in the Florida Keys, even a flight delay couldn't bring me down. Off I headed to see what the Ft. Lauderdale airport newsstand might offer in the way of distraction.

There's nothing like spending the better part of a week wearing next to nothing to make you start to think twice about what you are stuffing in your pie hole, so Clean Eating immediately caught my attention. It struck me as more "healthy" than "diet," which was definitely a turn-on. I've done enough Scarsdale/Atkins/South Beach for one lifetime, thank you very much.

Upon flipping through it, my interest also was piqued by the natural/green slant. An article toward the back about emotional eating sealed the deal. Who among us hasn't at one point eaten for the wrong reasons, i.e., anything other than physical nourishment?

The magazine's Web site defines clean eating as "consuming food in its most natural state - or as close as possible to it. ... It's not a diet; it's a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to health, well-being and a lean look." Clean Eating, whose subhead is "Improving your life, one meal at a time," is a sister publication to Oxygen, which coined the term "clean eating" with the release of a special collector's issue and a series of best-selling "Eat-Clean Diet" books and cookbooks. The current "summer 2008" issue is its third.

While the magazine professes clean eating is not a "diet," there is no shortage of catchphrases associated with controlling and monitoring one's food intake. The cover alone mentions "calorie counter," "low-fat" and "under 300 calories." Articles included two "success stories," one profiling a woman who lost 70 pounds and kept it off for over a decade and another about four "desperate housewives" who "share their weight-loss struggles, successes and fave recipes." There's also an article about portion control. Hmmm. Sounds a lot like dieting to me.

There's also an article titled "Better Choices That Your Slim Friends Are Making." Huh? What if I weigh 110 pounds and wear a size O (which I don't) and I'm reading the magazine? I guess they must know their demographic. Maybe "slim" people all have private chefs or don't read "healthy" magazines. Or maybe everyone has friends they perceive as being "slim." Maybe I'm just being sensitive, but I was slightly offended by this title.

To its credit, the magazine is consistent throughout. Nothing annoys me more about women's magazines than those with a diet story on one page and a triple chocolate torte recipe on the next. No wonder women in particular are so schizophrenic about eating. In Clean Eating, the health-related articles are accompanied by a slew of healthy recipes, which are helpfully indexed on page 7. There's a legend that shows which ones are quick to make, freezable, vegetarian and BBQ grill-friendly.

I also love the fact that the magazine explains organic food labels and looks at both sides of the debate in the article "Organic Chemistry." There is also a great article on vegetarian diets and a profile of vegan actress Alicia Silverstone. (I'm not currently vegan but I often wish I were. It takes a lot of planning and discipline.) There's a great short piece next to the Editor's Letter that promotes eating local and gives URLs for finding local farms and farmers' markets.

What I don't like: Despite a green/eco-friendly/PC slant, the magazine contains numerous recipes for seafood without containing so much as a sentence about the importance of making sustainable seafood choices. Coincidentally, I had just picked up Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide elsewhere in Florida, so the topic was at the top of my mind and hopefully will stay there the next time I go grocery shopping.

Well, I guess nobody can bat 1.000 every time. But at leastClean Eatingseems willing to give us non-dieting but striving-to-eat-healthy types a jumping-off point.


Published by: Robert Kennedy Publishing/Canusa Products Inc.

Frequency: Quarterly 

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