Picture this: you decided to treat yourself and grab a sugar cookie latte from Starbucks. Note, this is not a daily occurrence for you, rather a once in a while treat. The person next to you turns around and says “that coffee is so full of sugar, it’s so bad for you.” Or, you’re eating lunch from Panera, which contains a salad and sandwich (which have a lot of veggies in them), and you decide to get a cookie because that 99 cent cookie during the time of inflation is just too good to pass up. You come back with your confection, only to be told that the cookie is so bad for you.
For me, there is nothing more toxic than labelling food as either “good” or “bad.” By doing this, it turns food into something more than just something for us to enjoy and nourish our bodies.
You might be wondering: what kind of food that is labelled good or bad?
Well, ‘good’ food is basically something that is low in calories, and ‘bad’ food is something that is high in calories, sugar, carbs, and fat.
Let’s just be real here: as humans, we are not perfect in the slightest. Therefore, we should not be expected to eat 100 percent healthy meals 100 percent of the time. This is especially true during the holiday season, where holiday treats are all around, and many of us indulge in Christmas cookies way more than any other time of year.
And, that is perfectly okay.
According to an article on the Intuitive Nutritionist entitled Why You Should Stop Labelling Food Good or Bad, this mindset can lead to quite a few negative outcomes. These include: developing stress over eating, food having no moral outcomes, creates a restrictive mindset, stops you from enjoying the foods you love, and makes you fear food. Instead, the article proposes on just “nourishing your body with abundance.”
I couldn’t agree more with this article, because it is so true. In reality, food is not black or white. At the end of the day, the function of food is nourish our body to make sure that it has to proper nutrients. Of course, then we add the cultural aspects of food, especially when it comes to holiday confections.
And, why should we feel guilty about enjoying foods that we look forward to for 11 months out of the year? In fact, why should we feel guilty about enjoying food in general.
By adding this label, this creates a mindset of guilt every time that we even eat, and causes us to overthink what we are eating before it even touches our mouths. In fact, I do not understand why we should feel guilty in the first place for simply enjoying a meal that brings us joy. After all, food is meant to be enjoyed.
For example, when I went on vacation this past summer, I was eating foods that were a little different than my average routine, such as bagels for breakfast, and higher calorie foods that were cooked very well in the area we were in. At the end of the first day, I felt so guilty for indulging. It was then I realized that I was feeling guilty just because I was enjoying something on my vacation. Which is stupid, because I am on vacation, and paid for this getaway so I can enjoy myself.
In that moment, I learned the importance of balance. Balance is more important than just making sure you hit your calorie goal 100 percent of the time. Enjoying your food is way more fun than eating something you hate just because it’s a good food. I am no longer going to label food good or bad. Instead, I am just going to try to create balanced meals for myself. So, I’ll continue getting a latte on Fridays, savor a treat after dinner, and make sure I’m eating enough proteins and other things.
Which is okay, if you ask me.
As we enter the holiday season, instead of fearing foods and labelling them ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ let’s just savor the taste of the treat and enjoy. And of course, make sure that there is a healthy balance.
One thought on “Why I Stopped Labelling Food as Good and Bad”
I think the idea of good/bad food can be really problematic for some people and we should all be aware of what we may say to someone about their food (unsolicited opinions are the worst). I have to avoid highly sugary or carb loaded food, for example, but if I am eating something like that (which is rare) it’s because I’ve made a safe, well-informed decision and nobody else needs to police that. Thanks for sharing this info and your perspective; it was eye-opening!
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