Monday, December 11, 2017

Privileged Eating

I want to share this article with you guys because I think it’s an important reminder that we should not label foods as “good” or “bad”. While there are MANY reasons not to do so, this article brings up one that I don’t often think about, and often take for granted: Privilege. This article explains it well: (http://www.scarymommy.com/whole30-diet/?utm_source=FB)

When we want to start a new “diet” or way of eating, I don’t think too many of us really think about how much it’s going to cost to eat that way. {The woman in this article mentions spending $175 per week – but honestly, that’s really low if you ask me}. Anyway, here’s the problem when we start labeling food:

In waving around the importance of “clean” eating, we must not ignore what we’re really saying: that those who do not eat foods listed on those websites are eating “dirty” foods, which only adds to the piles of stigmas people in poverty must eat around when they sit at their dinner tables.

First of all, I will say that you can eat well and NOT spend a lot of money on food – but it’s definitely trickier. I would also like to say that not spending (or being able to spend) a lot of money on food shouldn’t imply that you are eating “dirty”.

The Whole30 isn’t the enemy here though – it’s the concept of assigning labels to what we eat; to ourselves; and to our bodies. I just finished a box of those “good thins” potato and wheat crackers with about 30 ingredients and it was definitely not a “clean” (or "good" as the name implies) choice. However, I won’t label this indulgence as “bad” because it’s not. They’re just crackers for God’s sake. And I don’t eat them every day. My diet is healthy and includes all sorts of foods. I am not a better human being when I eat 100% “clean” organic food, just as I am not a terrible human being when I indulge or when I eat foods that are not "clean", "acceptable", or "permitted".

While I understand the need for diet plans to outline which foods to avoid and which to incorporate (as I do myself when I give my clients a diet outline to follow) I think that at some point it can become way too restrictive and may take away from the goal of moving towards improved health. For example, in the Whole30 there are very strict criteria to follow. There's no added sugar of any kind. That means even if there's one gram of sugar (in the form of maple syrup) in your free range, organic bacon - it's out! This way of thinking isn't terribly helpful for the most part. 

Guys, you don’t need to follow a plan like Whole 30 to be healthy. You don’t have to only eat organic food. You don’t have to swear off dairy, gluten, and all the things you love (unless you can't tolerate them). And - you don’t have to be rich. It’s a process and the process is very individual. This is why it’s difficult when you’re following a plan that’s created for the masses or the general public. It usually completely lacks flexibility and doesn’t take into consideration that you are a person who has individualistic wants and needs. 

If you’re considering starting a “new plan” in the New Year, think about reaching out to someone certified in holistic nutrition who can probably help you far more than any best-selling book can. There are many professionals who offer a free 15-20 minute consultations before you commit to anything, and I would encourage you to take advantage of that so you can find someone who is the right fit for you. 

Making changes to live a healthier lifestyle is hard enough as it is. Feeling shame about “not-so-perfect” food choices isn’t helpful. We all deserve our best health and our resources of money and time are very individual. 


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