I wanted to clear the air about one topic here on The Healthy Advocate, and that topic surrounds the idea of good and bad foods. It concerns labels that we put on foods, which limit us to what we can experience or choose to experience. It’s our self-righteousness that we sometimes take, as health-foodies, to protect ourselves from eating something that may be bad for us.
Well, I’m here to say that this mindset, that this idea of “good” vs. “bad” foods is detrimental, destructive, and downright wrong.
Yes, I eat grain-free, and sugar-free, most of the time. Do I freak out if I do eat a grain or some sugar occasionally? Of course not. Not only is this harmful for my body and my physical and mental health, but it is also harmful for others. Let me explain.
It’s All About Perception
Nothing is truly right or wrong. We, as human beings, give labels to things that we consider “right” or “wrong” because of our perception. Without the existence of our perception, or without the existence of humans at all, the world would just be. The food we eat would of course be completely natural, but it wouldn’t be good or bad.
I can’t deny that I also have a perception of right and wrong, good and bad. I believe it is right for everyone to accept each other as individuals, as we can work better collectively by doing so. I believe it’s right to be kind to others, to choose healthier options (not only healthier foods, but healthier words, thoughts, and actions). There are many things I think that are good and right.
When it comes to food, however, I cannot, and will not, label a particular food, even if it is a bag of Cheetos or a box of genetically engineered corn flakes, as a “bad food”. These “foods” are certainly unhealthy, and do not promote any aspect of health, other than providing calories for the body. There are certainly healthier options out there. But why would I be so persistent as to refuse the labeling of a food, regardless if it is real food or no, as bad or good?
The Psychology of Food
As a teenager, I was bombarded with messages of foods that were “evil”, that were “off limits”, or that were plain “bad”. With these messages, and with the type of personality I had at the time, I developed a severe limitation of what I would allow into my body. This led to drastic weight loss, mental cloudiness and confusion, and a loss for the zest of life.
All this because of the messages I was being exposed to. The messages that put down food, rather than expressed the benefits of healthier and tastier options. The messages that surrounded food, the basic necessity of life, with negative emotions and feelings. By labeling food as “bad”, by being negative, not only you limiting yourself, you may also be harming another person in the process, giving them negative feelings around food that can haunt them for the rest of their life.
Food is Not Bad
Everyone needs food. Everyone. Anything that needs to survive needs nourishment from some source. With this blog, I simply want to express and awaken people to healthier options that they can add in their own way of eating, if they are open to it. I want others to be healthy, and to take control of their health. I don’t want to judge or criticize anyone based on how they eat. That would just be plain silly.
Food is bad if we perceive food to be bad. “Fake food”, like the processed foods found in every single grocery store, is still keeping people going by providing calories. Are these calories healthy? No, of course they aren’t. Are they bad? No, of course they aren’t. Do the people who eat these calories have a right to experience better health, better food, and more energy? Of course they do, as does everyone.
But no one is “bad” by what they eat. You aren’t a bad person if you choose to eat a slice of pizza made with white flour. You aren’t a bad person if you eat an entire box of chocolate all by yourself in 3 days. You are simply a person who has eaten a slice of pizza, or a box of chocolate. Guilt, resentment, and despair are not feelings one should feel around food. By just being aware of your actions, you are simply in a better position to make healthier decisions in the future. And that’s all that anyone can do.
This is The Healthy Advocate.