Do you demonise certain foods?
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
Why do we do this?
Last week a client said to me that she had eaten “so much bad food” over the weekend.
Bad food? I remember using the same word…. “Bad”
I realise that we put foods into 2 camps. Good (clean) and Bad (rubbish). On occasions, even I use the words, Good and Bad.
I remember when I put the food I was eating into these camps.
I remember hating myself if I had eaten something that I thought was “bad”. A bar of chocolate, a cheeky glass of wine, a packet of crisps.
I wanted to give up there and then. My “diet” had been all for nothing. It was my own nutritionist who openly said to me that she wasn’t going to judge me, be part of a group of professionals who help demonise foods or hand out a punishment!
When we split foods into “Good” and “Bad” we are falling into the trap that has helped the diet culture in the western world. How many of us have refused a food because we deem it to be “bad”?
Feel great because we had eaten a “good” food because we think it will be the solution to our problems.
Does eating a McDonalds makes us a “bad “person? Of course not. Just like eating only vegetables, fruit and beans makes you a “good” person.
If I see any of my friends or clients in the supermarket, they don’t want to show me what they have in their trolley but are interested in mine. Why not, I am happy for them to see inside of my trolley. I am no saint when it comes to healthy eating.
Eye rolls if they see me eating a chocolate brownie! But I don’t do that every day.
I love chocolate. I like a glass of wine. I could eat my own body weight in peanuts if I had the chance. However, I know that I can’t go overboard. I have worked hard to keep my old eating habits in check, and I am proud of what I have achieved.
We need food for fuel – fact. Every single bite of food gives us energy, fuel and a level of nutrition.
Calories are just a measure of energy and are based on a discovery in the late 1800’s and for heating water!! The thermal calorie was only fully defined in the 20th Century and then popularised in culture!
Eating should be fun as well as keeping us alive.
We should take pleasure in eating and knowing the calorie content of a particular food can very easily take the enjoyment out of eating it. How many people do you know who have been on a permanent restrict diet, who knows the calorie content of many foods, but it hasn’t helped them to maintain a steady healthy weight. Knowledge is one thing, but knowing how to use it, is another.
As a nutritionist I would always encourage my clients, friends and family to make healthy, nutritious food and lifestyle choices to benefit yourself. Yes, some foods don’t provide you the best nutritional value to your body, but I would never tell anyone that they shouldn’t eat them.
That means we need to have a healthy attitude about the foods we eat and by healthy, I mean a balance view that life is complex, and you can’t be perfect all of the time. Making informed choices based on your preferences, circumstances and taste is key.
Food is not good or bad and you aren’t good or bad for eating them.
Labelling foods as “good”, “bad” means we hand the power over to these foods. This can lead to eating disorders or other psychological issues.
Why restrict yourself from eating particular foods, i.e. fast foods, drink etc, can lead to you wanting them more!
If I tell you not to think of a carrot cake, I am guarantee you will think of a carrot cake. BTW, that’s my favourite cake.
Telling yourself that cake is “bad” just leads to stress and beating yourself up when you give into your desire of having some cake isn’t healthy. It leads to not loving yourself because you have given in and then you feel a failure because you have given in.
One single meal, food or snack does not define you, your nutrition beliefs or your own self-worth. Listen to your body! Enjoying your favourite food is all about eating in moderation and not feeling guilty or someone judging you!
On the other hand, only eating “good” food whether it’s high fibre fruit and vegetables, loads of water or only eating low fat, low carb foods can also be detrimental to you as well.
The notion of “clean eating” is just another off shoot of thinking of “good” and “bad”. It doesn’t make you better than the person sitting eating a burger. Remember the halo will slip 😊
Getting a well-balanced diet is the important fact. We are not meant to just eat one food as our bodies thrive on a varied range of foods. Obsessing about food or nutrients isn’t a healthy attitude. Fostering a healthy view on the foods you eat is so important. Mindset around your health is everything and starting with getting rid of creating the view that there are “bad” foods and “good” foods is just the start.
Why am I writing about this topic?
As I said that the start of this narrative, I am always being asked by clients about good and bad foods and I was one of those people who put foods into either one of these camps.
Moderation is the way that I work with clients. They get to eat treats and have fun.
Negative based fear messaging isn’t a positive way to work with clients. I work on positive messaging and long-term habits that help with your healthy eating and lifestyle.
Want to know more? I offer a free discovery call to discuss your needs and if you think I am the right person for you to work with.
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Jane Webber Nutrition
Making Good Nutrition Easy with Habits that Help