While I am thrilled that we are finally beginning to make the connection between what you eat and your health, it makes me very uncomfortable (seriously, it drives me nuts!) when I hear moms talking about “being good” or “being bad” based on something that she ate.
Food is fuel for your body, it can be a social experience, it can be a way of showing love or even a way of expressing your creativity, but food has no moral value. Your eating cake (even if it has gluten, artificial colors, msg AND genetically modified ingredients) does not make you a bad person, just as eating steamed, organically grown kale doesn’t do anything to make you a “good person.”
When I work with moms we invest a lot of time together discovering which foods make you feel healthy, vibrant, energized, and balanced. Through this process we also discover foods that aren’t ideal for your body. However, none of these foods make you “good” or “bad”.
Having struggled with body image issues and an eating disorder from around age 7 to my early 20’s, I feel very strongly about focusing on the ways that food nourishes the body and supports health, rather than judging ourselves or feeling guilty about it. One exercise that I encourage clients to try is, when you eat foods that aren’t ideal for your health, appreciate that they taste good and send them into your body with positive intention and energy.
I’ve also found that as we learn to detach moral stigma from food, it becomes easier to make choices that really serve your body. Have you ever eaten an entire carton of ice cream because you felt like being “bad”? What if ice cream wasn’t bad at all, but just another food choice? Once you get beyond the ice cream, you may even discover a more productive way to express your needs. And that’s really what being healthy is all about.
The truth is, guilt, fear, and stress can be just as detrimental to your health as poor food choices. As important as food can be for so many things, the truth is, it’s JUST food.