Food is not an enemy.
Most of us have at least one person in our life that makes us feel bad about what we eat. Sometimes they judge indirectly by talking about their superior preference for kale. Other times, they’re more direct; telling us that the cheeseburger and fries we just ate has a million deadly calories.
Somehow, we’ve ended up in a place where certain foods are seen as ‘good’ and others are ‘bad’, with some people assigning themselves Chief Commissioner of the Food Police. But what did food do to deserve such judgement? A slice of cheesecake never hurt nobody.
What everyone and the Food Police need to know is that eating certain food doesn’t make you a better person. What you eat is up to you and shouldn’t be based on what other people have decided is good or bad. 'Good' and 'bad' food are made-up concepts, with certain food changing from good to bad and back again as regularly as I change my underpants (Don’t believe me? Look into the chequered past of the humble egg). Nobody has scientifically concluded that any particular food makes you a good person and so, until they do, your food choices are your own.
But some food IS bad... Isn't it?
But wait, you say, what about food that makes you fat/sick/get heart disease? Put simply, these outcomes are not solely related to what people eat and are certainly not reflective of whether someone is good or bad. Fatness, sickness and heart disease can have a number of causes; so instead of fixating on food as being the key to slender immortality, we should all recognise that it’s only one part of a much bigger picture.
What you choose to eat should be based on what makes you feel good (and what your doctor/nutritionist/dietitian recommends). If you pay close attention, you might tap into your body’s natural preference for certain food, enjoying what makes you feel awesome while avoiding food that makes you feel yuck.
For many, a balanced diet is the key to feeling good. Variety is not only the spice of life, it’s often the best way of giving your body all the stuff it needs to function at its finest. For most people, when they’re eating a mixture of food they feel energetic, can think clearly and don’t have regular eruptions of hangry rage.
This feeling of zen also comes from the freedom to make individual food choices. If you feel like having a chocolate bar, have one and enjoy its delicious creamy taste. If you’re jonesing for an apple, crunch into that bad boy and get some appley goodness. Just make sure you get a bit of fibre, a bit of protein, a bit of carbohydrate and a bit of sweetness each day, if and when you want, and you’ll feel great.
Breaking the food jerk trend
So, now you’re on the road to food liberation it’s important you share the love with the people around you. Here are some tricks of the food lovin’ trade:
- When your friend orders a brownie sundae with extra cream, give him or her a high five and carry on with your day.
- Feel like eating pasta but everyone else has ordered soup? Order that pasta.
- Give your friends permission to make their own decisions and don’t pressure them into food choices.
- If you feel like a delicious, crunchy, chickpea salad, eat it! Don’t feel the need to justify why you want it or why it’s good.
- Cut the judgement from your language. Food isn’t good, bad or criminal. It’s just something we rely on to make our body function.
The moral of the story is that we don’t need Food Police running this town. What we eat is our business and doesn’t reflect on our character, good or bad. So go forth and give those taste buds of yours what they want.