Clean Eating’s Dirty Secret – BBC documentary review

Hi Everyone,

I just finished watching the BBC new documentary on clean eating and I have to say that it was quite interesting. There were a lot of comments regarding the content and Grace the Youtuber. Some good, some bad, some very rude but it does give us an opportunity to discuss and review what was being said.

As always, I welcome all of your comments and thoughts and would genuinely love to know where you stand.

I also have to add that whilst I watched the full documentary, this will be not a complete review. I will not be talking about everything she mentioned or talked about. I only have picked up and wrote down a few things which I find interesting.

I am not a professional, nutritionist, doctor, fitness guru or health guru. I am just a random girl on the internet.

Grace immediately questions the qualifications. ( 1.40 min into the video ) What qualifications do they all have to be promoting a diet ? Are they trained ? ( she drops a few names so you can look them up if you want and find out more about them ).

I believe she has a point. This is a logical thing to do right ? In real life ( by real life I mean outside the internet ) you would not accept health advice from strangers. Or go see a specialist without doing your research first. If someone tells you to eat this and that, would you listen to them ?

Was it a deliberate choice not to include doctors and nutritionists who promote plant based diets or was the documentary only meant to focus on lifestyle Bloggers – Vloggers – and Youtubers?

It seems to me that the documentary focuses on a specific group of people, promoting “extreme” diets or cleanses.

It does not take a genius to search the web for a definition of the plant based diet to understand that what she believes to be the right definition, is wrong ( 3 minutes into the video ). The list shown on the screen is not 100 % accurate which does affect her credibility.

“Eating a plant-based diet simply means eating more plants. No matter where you are, or what you eat right now, you can eat more plants” ( Source )

“A plantbased diet is a diet of any animal (including humans) based on foods derived fromplants, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.” ( Wikipedia )

“A healthy, plant-based diet aims to maximize consumption of nutrient-dense plant foods while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods (including dairy products and eggs). It encourages lots of vegetables (cooked or raw), fruits, beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, seeds, and nuts (in smaller amounts) and is generally low fat.” ( Source )

She also seems to think that vegan diets and plant based diets are the same thing.

Again, WHO & WHAT is she really talking about ? Vegan diets ? Plant Based Diets ? Diets promoting Extreme Clean eating ? The beginning is very confusing to me.

  • The shopping part was misleading as well ( 4 minutes into the video )She went to planet organic. For the ones who do not know what Planet Organic is, it is a bit like Whole Foods. Loads of amazing vegan & vegetarian products, gluten free & diary free products and yes, it is PRICEY.

This does not help break the myth : Being vegan or vegetarian is expensive. I live in London myself and would not pay that much for food every week. I sometimes go to Planet Organic but would never ever do my weekly shopping over there. And I doubt most of us would.

She also mentions the word “class” which is interesting and shows where she stands or what she believed in when she started filming.

The fact that she says that she is starting her plant based diet but not showcasing vegetables and fruits ( which are the main things you would be eating ) bothers me as well.

  • Is clean eating fashionable ?  ( 7.40 minutes into the video ) Yes. Clean eating, veganism, vegetarianism diets/lifestyle are very trendy at the moment. People always make a very big deal about food and how to stay fit. The difference is that we now have more platforms to show the world what we eat.

With Instagram you can get a closer look at the lifestyle and diet of someone you look up to or someone with your ideal body type. A lot of people promote what they think is the best way to eat on social media. It can go from a simple picture to an article about “how they get a flat stomach”.

If you are on social media, especially Instagram or Youtube, yes you are going to be attracted to someone who has the physique you desire and look into what they are eating and promoting. Does it mean it works for everyone ? No it certainly does not. Different people are different.

  • Promoting pseudo science or scientific nonsense. I think I talked about it before. I have to agree that some people out there will claim that the diet has cured all of their problems from acne and depression to chrone’s disease. Does it really give them more credibility ? Would you trust them more than your specialist ? 
  • The potato cleanse : is nonsense to me ( 12 minutes into the video ). Hannah the High Carb Vegan says something along the line of : “since you will start start with this very restricting diet first and then move on to this one, you will feel like you have more options”. Is it not promoting binge eating ? Personally, this cleanse would make me miserable. But again, I am biased because I do not believe in cleanses and restrictive diets.
  • She feels like crap ( 14.00 minutes into the video ). From what I could see, it seems to me that she feels like crap because she is not eating enough or just believes that the plant based diets or vegan diets are about restricting yourself.

For me, the fact she is feeling down is really realistic and it is great she is mentioning it in the video. Your diet affects you on a daily basis, whether you realize it or not.

  • She feels isolated and the diet is time consuming.  I personally don’t think it is time consuming. I am on the go all the time but always find time to cook. I often eat outside as well and you have so many options to eat vegan or vegetarian. Especially in London. Would it be more about self control and motivation ?

I relate to her when she says that she does not hang out with her friends as much as she used to. It was hard for me at first because my friends and family do not share the same lifestyle and diet. So I get it. It took me some time to balance it all out.

  • The “extreme” vegan diet or “extreme” clean eating ( 18.30 minutes into the video ). I agree with Brianna. There is not one way to be vegan and not only one way to be vegetarian. You should not let anyone tell you that you are not a good vegan or vegetarian just because your diet does not fit their idea of it. I will not talk about Freelee the Banana Girl as I have not watched enough videos of her to get an idea of what she is promoting.  
  • The money issue or people exclusively in it for the money (29.52 minutes into the video). There is “big money” to be made in the wellness – fitness industry because food is something we can not live without. Yes some people will surf on a trend and promote their idea in order to make money. But again, isn’t it the same with some Youtubers who will promote products they do not believe in ? Do you think they should all be held accountable ?

I will stop here as I have covered pretty much everything I wanted to talk about.

In the comment sections on Youtube I saw a lot of disgusting comments.

“who the fuck does this fat bitch think she is trying to teach people about health. Keep eating your McDonald’s babe, us vegans will be over here eating clean, living life , feeling and looking great”

“for someone that is morbidly obese I find it funny that your health conditions aren’t extreme, but being happy and healthy and fit is too extreme. Loooool please go eat some rice.”

“Asking this fat bitch to do a documentary in clean eating is like asking a drug addict to do a documentary on the limits of rehab.”

And there are many more.

I personally do not agree with a lot of things she said  but would never go and comment on her weight. You can comment ( constructive criticism  ) on the things she talks about and the way the diet you believe in is portrayed but being rude will get you no where.

The comments above are a perfect example of what she is also trying to report. The fat shaming and body shaming trends within the online vegan community.

This documentary was very interesting to me. She clearly focused on extreme diets and how some people tend to follow the preacher blindly for the sake of achieving a certain look or getting ( what they believe to be ) 100% control over their body and health.

Overall I think there is a lot of misinformation on both sides which is a shame. But I appreciate Grace taking the time to talk about it and putting herself out there.

Did you watch the documentary ?

What did you think ? Do you think that it promotes stereotypes ?



8 thoughts on “Clean Eating’s Dirty Secret – BBC documentary review

  1. I found the doc to be very unfocused and poor quality, overall. I do appreciate her vague focus upon the issues surrounding poorly qualified nutrition bloggers who promote ortherexia, but there are ones who are vegan, and some who are omnivores as well, you know!!?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah it seems like she just throws everyone into the same “boxe” and the documentary was all over the place. I did have a look at her youtube channel and she is a very positive and uplifting type of person but I think that the project was just too big for her. She should have done a bit more research


  2. Thank you for bringing attention to this documentary. I’d not yet heard of it, and have not watched it. I probably won’t either, now that I’ve read your specific, thoughtful piece.

    The topic of food and diet is of real interest to me, with “diet” as a noun, not a verb. My personal focus throughout my adult life has been on how to cook and enjoy healthy, affordable, and simple to make vegetarian food to support well being. Many become highly emotionally attached to the foods they eat, or the arguments they promote on which foods not to eat. I’ve been fortunate to have never lacked enough food to eat; I recall when I realized the class component of being able to afford a healthy vegetarian diet, and the media messaging about buying organic. Healthy fresh vegetables are simply not available everywhere, food deserts are home to many, and fast food restaurants are cheap. There are many angles to consider food from, including class and gender studies. As an example, I found the work done by Judith Klausner intriguing, will attach a link here.

    Eat well, be well!

    Liked by 1 person

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