What if food wasn’t the bad guy?
It seems so black and white sometimes. Fat is in: sugar is out! And it also seems that people want straight forward “Is this really good for me? Is this healthy? I’m being good at the moment so I can’t have that”. We place food, the ingredients we choose on a daily basis, in some sort of firing line. And as a result of this, we judge ourselves for the choices we make. But how does this sort of behaviour affect our long-term relationship to food.
Perhaps it’s easier to categorise food in one division or another. It may be why public health organisations and major food retailers etc have tried to place food in one basket or another. Its good for you, bad for you, increase this, remove that, traffic light system of red or green; these simpler messages give us a sign or an indication of how much or little a food should be consumed. It’s easier than trying to explain the nutritional science or the complex chemical relationships that foods have with each other.
But in classifying, judging and boxing, are we losing touch with how we really feel when eating certain foods? Does it really encourage us to change our behaviour or adapt more positive eating habits. Instead, we continue to choose foods that are ‘bad’ for us, while we have a conversation “I’ll regret this… I shouldn’t be doing this… I should be good” We find ourselves in a place of judgement, condemning or praising the choices we make, rather than connecting to the food we eat and savouring the enjoyment or nourishment we receive.
So rather than having a long list of foods to avoid, foods that are bad and foods that are good, how about looking at your behaviour around them. When I’m upset, I tend to go for this. When I want to feel better I tend to go for that. When I’m really looking after myself, I tend to go for these. You’ll notice that certain foods are eaten because you want to nourish and care for yourself, and to give yourself all you need to perform or feel your best. Other foods you eat when you are emotional, foods that you eat mindlessly in front of the TV or when you are bored.
So next time you begin to label, judge and abuse a food, stop, and assess your behaviour and relationship to it instead. It is from here, a place of self-awareness, that one finds a life long relationship to food that sustain and support you.