I’m confused. Aren’t you?
Our food industry is so saturated with fad diets and advice that I’m sure I’m not alone when I hear another list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods and I think… is there anything left that we can eat without feeling crappy?
Some of the food advice I have read on blogs and in cookbooks over the past few weeks include a long list of items that I shouldn’t eat because they are ‘bad’ for me. According to these experts we should not eat or cook with; fat (except coconut oil), butter, wheat, lard, bacon, coconut oil, coconut products, gelatine, meat, fish, grains, any grain, rice (except brown rice), rice (except white rice), sugar (except honey, rice syrup and maple syrup), coconut sugar, honey (unless it’s raw and manuka). I’ve also read from various sources that we shouldn’t eat almonds, cashews, peanuts, soy in any form, corn in any form, uncooked kale, cooked kale, cooked greens, dairy products (except when fermented), no kombucha, vinegar, alcohol (except wine), alcohol (including wine), tea (except green), tea (except medicinal herbal), coffee, beans and lentils, potatoes… and the list goes on and on and on.
I’ve read I should eat vegan (including processed meat alternatives), that I should eat only raw food, that I should eat no fruit, that I should eat lots of fruit. I’ve been told that eating meat is bad (but then again so is soy) and then I turn to the next blog that tells me that I should be drinking large glasses of bone broth (stock) every single day. I read that we should eat no salt, unless of course it is pink and himalayan. I should eat no fruit, except expensive imported berries.
There are lists of food that are ‘good’ and foods that are ‘bad’ and it’s no wonder we are all so bloody confused.
The food industry is saturated with ‘experts’ and food fads and we take the word of celebrity chefs as gospel in a world where we are so damn privileged that we have become obsessed with food choices and diets and ‘bad’ foods.
I spend a lot of my time working with teenagers who are trying to balance a harsh world of criticism with their own need for self empowerment and expression. These (and all) young people don’t need the additional pressure of the food industry telling them that the natural, whole foods that they eat are on some list of ‘bad’ foods touted by some expert or another. If you took into account every single piece of advice from every single expert there would be absolutely nothing left to eat. I spend a lot of time talking to teenagers and young adults about taking care of their physical and mental health and giving them the tools to create strong spectacular lives by placing solid self-empowered building blocks of health and wellbeing on top of each other… but I look around at the adults around me and I realise we are all more obsessed and confused than we ever have been before. As a society we are still endlessly obsessed by looks and never attentive enough to our (or each others) mental health.
We are so obsessed by what we eat that we are kind of missing the point. Aren’t we?
I’m not saying that there aren’t natural foods that cause problems for us as individuals. I have a few. But working through our own intolerances and building food profiles with naturopaths and alternative health experts who we can sit across from and give us advice that is based on our own bodies and our families needs… instead of just washing everyone with the same ‘bad food’ brush.
Why don’t we stop obsessing about foods that are bad and start thinking about enjoying food that tastes good and make our bodies feel good. Food that is grown locally, food that is in season, food that isn’t laced with chemicals and isn’t processed until it doesn’t even resemble real food anymore. Food that doesn’t cost the earth a great price to produce and food that isn’t flown to us from halfway around the world because of its ‘superfood’ benefits. Why don’t we enjoy the occasional treat and eat cake and share delicious food with friends. Why don’t we stop shaming each other about what we eat and remember how privileged we are that we get any choice at all.
Your health, your wellness, your life is far more complex than simply food than food that is ‘good’ and food that is ‘bad’ (that you then eat and feel guilty about).
We can choose to opt out of eating animal products for ethical and/or health reasons. We can have food intolerances that mean that our body doesn’t respond well to grains or to dairy. But to say that these ‘rules’ should apply to everyone, just because they do to you (or to a celebrity foodie) – is crazy.
Let’s not poison our kids with this crazy notion that local food in its natural form is in some way bad for our bodies. Let’s stop with the fads and the food fashions. Let’s stop with the superfood labelling and the greenwash marketing. No one actually needs freeze dried blueberries shipped from Peru. You don’t need to grate avocado seeds blindly onto your toast just because someone told you it was packed full of potassium, so are beans and greens. Do your research. Make your own choices. Stop throwing food away. Shop responsibly. Compost your food waste. Share what you have.
Let’s just stop and be grateful for how bloody lucky we are to be surrounded by local farmers and food producers who are growing awesome food that we have the privilege to buy, to eat, to share.
I don’t think that’s really too much to ask. Do you?
I’m going to go and eat a slice of cake and think about this.