Are you thinking about eating as a source of nourishment, pleasure and joy? Or does it make you feel guilty and ashamed?
Have you been eliminating certain foods from your diet just because you believe they are bad for you? Or maybe you are feeling super proud for following the “clean eating” trend?
Bad food, good food…Guilt-free food, guilty food….Clean eating, dirty eating. Really?
It has became a norm in society to stick such labels to food. How did we develop such a complicated relationship with food and where are the roots of this problem?
When we were children we used to be told to “clean the plate” and asked for “just one more bite” overriding our internal cues of hunger and satiety. We got accustomed to language that classify food into good and bad. Using negative feeding practices while naming and shaming certain foods didn’t give us the greatest start in developing healthy relationship with food.
And then we move into adolescence to be told by social media influencers that we should juice celery to detox our bodies. It looks like our kidneys and liver just got competition!
No wonder we feel completely baffled.
Many of us are overthinking and over-analysing food… WE NO LONGER FIND JOY IN FOOD.
Eating has somehow become a refuelling process where the only thing that matters is the right ratio of carbs, fats and protein. Or even a mixture that excludes some of these macronutrients that are not good for us (at least that’s what we have been told!).
But what happened to our food related memories, connections and culture?
In my youth I spent a few months in Spain, working at the car factory. In those days group of colleagues and I often went to a local “taberna” for lunch. I was embracing the Spanish culture and learning the new language while sharing “tapas” with local people.
I’m sure that my Spanish experience would be regretful one if I thought that “tapas” were not “clean” enough and instead of eating out with my friends I sat in the corner drinking celery juice?
Let’s rebuild our relationship with food.
- Stop labelling food as good or bad, clean or dirty! Embrace a variety of different foods and acknowledge that food you truly enjoy has its place in a healthy diet
- Start adding new foods to your diet rather than restricting them. It’s unlikely that a heavily restricted diet will make us healthier or happier
- Eat according to own appetite and stop eating when you are comfortably full, even if the plate is not completely clean.
- Don’t fixate on one “superfood”, there is no magical food that will provide all the nutrients we need. Instead, create a rainbow on your plate.
I hope next time you sit down to have a meal you will give yourself a permission to truly enjoy it…because we all deserve that!