When Food Becomes A Marker of Morality
For as long as I can remember, classifying food under a “Good” or “Bad” category has been an everyday habit. I couldn’t tell you the first time that I ever engaged in that kind of thought, but it has followed me into my 26th year on this planet, and I am vowing to take them out altogether.
When you claim to be “eating clean” you are automatically assigning morality to your eating actions and habits. You are deciding that “clean” food is “good” and “dirty” food is bad.
What is even considered clean? Is it foods that come from the earth? Is it foods that follow a ketogenic lifestyle? A high carbohydrate lifestyle? Foods that only include ingredients you can read? Vegan? Grass-fed meats? Organic vs. non organic? GMOs? Do you see what I’m getting at here?
This blog post from Mark’s Daily Apple gives us the break down in some of the simplest terms we can find:
“Unfortunately, if you scrutinize long and deep enough, just about any food choice can put you on the shame train. Seriously, at some point, we have to refuse to ride anymore”, because, quite frankly, it’s exhausting.
Clean eating is not scientific terminology. It is something that the fitness and food industries have come up with to convince you to buy their products because they are “guilt-free” or include “all natural” ingredients.
Morality is so intertwined in what we eat already, WHY do we want to add more pressure on ourselves to make the “right”, “good” choice?
I challenge you to eliminate those words from your vocabulary and reframe the way that you look at your food.
Take Action: Reframe
Think about how you refer to what you put in your body. Do you assign morality labels to certain foods? If you said no, you’re lying. We all do it, because we’ve all been conditioned to do it.
Reconsider the way you are thinking about your food.
Try and think: there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure or a dirty food. There are only pleasures, only foods. Some of them may be more nutrient-dense than others and made from whole ingredients (fact), but there are no morals. Eat the foods, and then move on.
When members come up to us and ask what they can be doing better for their diet, our default answer is to ask, “Are you eating whole foods and logging everything?”. Notice how we don’t suggest that you “start eating clean”. A whole food can be defined. A clean food cannot. A whole food does not have morality associated with it. A clean food does.
Ask yourself: Do you know the whole story?
Just as you would never shame another person based on the way that they look, why would you shame them based on the foods they eat? Better yet, why would you do that to yourself?
Some people can afford to eat organically, others cannot. Feel better when you eat a lower carb, higher fat diet? You go, Glenn Coco! Eating gluten free because you’re sensitive to gluten or just because you think it’s a better way for you to live? Sounds great!
What works for you – biologically, financially, emotionally- might not work for everyone else. That is a fact.
Give yourself a break.
We have so many negative external factors pressuring us to be so many certain ways. Pressure to be skinny, strong, masculine, feminine. Eat only the absolute minimum amount to maintain a petite frame/eat as much as you can to be big and strong.
Why would you want to make yourself any more stressed out by telling yourself that you are a good or bad person by what you choose to eat? Give yourself a break from the world telling you to be a certain way because it makes them a profit.