Last week’s episode was titled, “ Explain It Like I’m 5”. One of the questions that came in was about CICO. One clip we posted from that episode had some folks in arms so we’re going to take some time today to further speak about food, most specifically, food morality.
From the jump, let’s remember that the idea of good and bad foods is a myth. Quality of food exists on a continuum.
CONTEXT IS IMPORTANT.
It’s really important to accept that two things can be true at one time when it comes to this topic and most things in life. Caloric value AND food quality can be important at the same time.
- Good and bad foods don’t exist. The fact of the matter is, there are foods that are more nutritionally dense and foods that are less nutritionally dense.
- Balance is ultimately the key here. You can have both nutritionally dense food and less nutritionally dense food as part of what you’re consuming on a daily or weekly basis.
- Lets think about context:
- Nuts – most people, if asked would say that nuts are “good, and healthy” and in moderation, they are. A portion of nuts is approximately a handful and averages around 200 calories, and has roughly 7grams of protein, 19 grams of fat, and 7ish grams of carbs. Nuts are also super easy to overconsume, which can lead to weight gain.
- Most American cereals some would consider a “bad” food because a lot of cereals have quite a bit of sugar and the serving size is relatively small. But if that serving of cereal each day helps someone keep their sanity and is something they enjoy, how can it be bad in that context? Especially if it’s the thing that keeps one adherent to accomplishing their goals?
- Every food, no matter its categorization, provides nutrition and sustenance to the body.
- Some people say that certain foods are not nutritious. But, if you look at the nutrition facts, the amount of protein, sugar, carbohydrate, fiber, is going to be assigned a value. The food still provides these nutrients. Our bodies need protein, fiber, sugar and fat to survive.
- As you know, everyone should be consuming a variety of foods to attain the nutrients and micronutrients they need.
- When food intake is varied, and foods are eaten in moderation, eating a food high in sugar or fat will not negatively affect our health. Too much of anything, including the good foods, and including water and the nuts we mentioned earlier, can be harmful to our bodies
- All food is good, because all food nourishes our bodies
- “Healthy eating” is a severely nuanced topic. Just like your fitness journey, it isn’t linear and it also looks different from person to person.
- Sugary drinks aren’t the most nutritious choice most of the time, but can be extremely helpful to keep energy up during an endurance sports event, or as a way for someone with diabetes to reverse low blood sugar quickly.
- Salads are filled with nutrient-dense veggies and other foods, but eating only salad for every meal could lead to deficiencies in other nutrients (like fat and protein) and could be a sign of disordered eating.
- Stay in your lane. Is your nutrition absolutely perfect? No? Then if it isn’t, you don’t need to offer any input to anyone on what they eat.
- Let’s also normalize keeping your opinion hole shut when you don’t know about a topic. Piping up about something you don’t know anything about is helpful to absolutely nobody. Knock it off. It’s okay to not know stuff, it’s not okay to think you have to have an opinion on everything you see, even if you have no clue what it is.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD IS IMPORTANT.
Categorizing foods as good or bad does not lead to a healthier relationship with food.
- Placing the foods you’re consuming in these boxes can fuck up your relationship with food entirely.
- Been there, done that. When I would focus on what I considered good or bad foods, it made it ENTIRELY easier to overconsume the “bad” foods when I would “breakdown”. I remember specifically, a neighbor gave us a coffee cake they got at costco. Instead of enjoying a slice, I considered it a bad food. Had one slice… had convinced myself that I had already been bad for consuming it, and went back and consumed the whole thing because “fuck it, I already fucked up.” Does this sound familiar?
- Morality implies choice: making the right choices is good and making the wrong choices is bad. But when it comes to body shape and size, there’s evidence that we don’t have as much control over our body size as our culture leads us to believe in the first place.
- We’ve said this before and we’re going to say it again, you can eat exactly the same thing and move exactly the same way as the very person sitting next to you and have a completely different body shape.
- Whether or not you choose the salad, sandwich, or pasta dish has no bearing on your worth as a person.
- Fixating on eating a certain way, or beating yourself up for not eating a certain way, can have health implications in and of itself.
- Feeling shame and guilt every time you eat a burrito or an ice cream cone because you think it’s bad, and therefore think you’re bad for eating it, can have a significant negative impact on your mental health.
- Shame has been associated with all kinds of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, substance misuse, certain personality disorders such as borderline and narcissistic, and body dysmorphic disorder
- Focusing too much on eating “good” foods can even be a disorder in and of itself.
- Orthorexia, the term used to describe the obsession with ‘healthful’ eating, continues to be on the rise since the term was first coined in 1998
- A survey of 404 college students in 2017 found that over one-third of them showed elevated orthorexia symptoms such as thinking a lot about healthy food, getting stricter about what one can and can’t eat, and socially isolating in order to eat a certain way.
- Stop gatekeeping other people’s choices. Health and fitness is one of those things that you can use 1500 maps to get to the same destination. You don’t know anything about the person you’re being snobby to: their financial situation, their mental health, their preferences or allergies… you don’t get to decide what another adult human has to eat.
- When you gatekeep, you often negate the cause that you’re being so uppity for, because people don’t wanna deal with your bullshit and they’ll attach a negative connotation to you and your lifestyle (this happens with vegans a lot).
HOW DO WE OVERCOME FOOD MORALITY?
An approach we can all take is giving ourselves permission to eat what we want without judgment, and paying attention to how these foods make us feel during and after eating them
- We are all continually striving to improve our health, performance and recovery through the foods we eat.
- At the end of the day, food is fuel, and accepting the fact that some of the food we consume, while it may not be as nutritionally dense, does still offer fuel to our bodies.
- Having a well rounded intake of more nutritionally dense foods as well as those on the lower end of the nutrition spectrum is more likely lead to greater progress overall, especially if the result is greater adherence to your goals.
- Shut down the things that might be triggering to you in this space. There’s a lot of information out there and some of it is inaccurate, some of it is true. If you’re finding that certain things you’re following are making you question your food choices, maybe mute them or unfollow them for a while.
- We are all out here just doing the best we can while we watch the world burn, have a little fucking grace, please.
Remember kids, mind yo bidness and eat your vegetables.