Are you a food shamer? If you’re not sure, you’ll know definitively by the end of this post. I have a bad habit of letting things steam up until they really get to me. Usually, I’ll see a related something that stirs up even more angst in me and I just have to write. Take note, this post is the product of the angst. Being unemployed (thanks to the nomad husband) is a terrible thing for a busy mind. I crave the ability to be productive and to accomplish something worthwhile in a day’s work. Being at home leaves a lot of time for my mind to wander and to cruise the internet for another big project. Sometimes that innocent cruising stops me in my tracks when I see something that I have strong opinions about. Usually those strong opinions involve food, not surprising.
I have been shocked at some of the things lately about the vilifying of food – good food, healthy food. I rarely see cute cupcakes or fun puffy cheesy sticks demonized. I do see milk, meat, vegetables and fruit taken to such a low point that it wouldn’t surprise me if people swore off all these healthy, excuse me, demon foods forever. Only to replace these forbidden foods with a beef mystery meat taco from your local “Mexican” fast food joint, because no one is telling us that we shouldn’t eat there.
Okay, what am I getting at? Everyday, I see someone sharing a link or a post (ie: opinion), or an article (ie: opinion) about what someone, somewhere thinks about a particular food that should be a staple in our diet.
I first started thinking about this when a friend posted something very poignant about his son’s Halloween party. I took this from his FB page (BK, if you would like copyright protection on this, it’s all yours):
“We cannot serve peanuts, tree nuts, apples, cherries, shellfish, non-organic fruits/vegetables, or foods containing gluten”
With that in mind, we have tentatively planned the following snacks for the Halloween party:
Bottles of water
Cheese-flavored puffed corn snacks
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Celery & carrot sticks with dip
Marshmallows (or Halloween peeps)”
Ummm, what?! If you are seeing what I am seeing, then we’re on the same page. I get the allergen foods, but since when are cheese-flavored puffed corn snacks or marshmallows a better alternative to non-organic fruits/vegetables. That, my friends, is the definition of food shaming.
Are we really teaching our children that if you do not eat organic fruit then you should have no fruit at all? Please tell me that is not the case. And are we telling our children who have no gluten allergies/intolerances that wheat is bad? It’s not, so if you think it is, get off your soapbox and we’ll have a good old fashioned debate.
So, I’ve had the Halloween party thing in the back of my mind since I read it and I just kept seeing more hate toward good food.
The next demon I’d like to tackle is milk. Why on earth do I keep seeing so much negativity with our vitamin packed cow juice? Too far? Maybe, but there is NOTHING wrong with milk – do you hear me people? I’ve already been on my soapbox about the organic and if you need a quick down and dirty, read here: http://salubriousrd.com/2014/07/got-milk-organic-conventional-raw-choose-best-nutrition/
The deal with milk is not that you absolutely have to consume milk, but there are vitamins in there that are essential. Milk is a nutrition powerhouse with calcium, B vitamins, protein and so many other vitamins and minerals that are naturally occurring, I challenge you to do some research. My point is, it is the vessel for nutrition and something that is easily accessible for everyone. Now, there has been A LOT of research done on what is given to cows and if this seeps into the milk supply. There is NO – read again – NO evidence that our conventional milk supply is unsafe.
Now, there was a study that came out earlier this year that stated that the balance of omega -6 fatty acids to omega – 3 fatty acids was better in organic milk than in conventional milk. Total bonus for organic milk, but keep in mind that one study is not reliable unless it can be duplicated. We’ll see if this holds true.
Milk is not the devil and dairy products are not little demons waiting to destroy your body. A cup of greek yogurt is going to do you more good than a bag of chips (but they’re natural chips, right?).
So, are you aware of what food shaming is yet? These are only a couple of examples of what I’ve seen lately. I’m sure there are more to come. No one eats a perfectly healthy diet all the time and that’s okay.
I discovered a blog (which I will refrain from naming) that does a lot of food shaming. I think this girl does a lot of good with her platform and good on her. However, I have spent many years changing the way I talk about food. Instead of only talking about the foods that we shouldn’t eat and pointing out every tiny, horrible, chemical laden, artificial, red dye #40, processed morsel about these forbidden foods, I rave about the good foods and why they are good.
Sometimes, we need to point out which foods should be limited from our diet, but it’s more important to explain why. A better use of our time would be to show people HOW to eat foods that we already know will enhance their health.
So, stop the food shaming and step down from the bully platform and walk, talk, and teach people how to eat the foods that we know are good for us. Most people are doing the best they can for themselves and their families. Education, not scare tactics are the key to healthy living and encouraging others to do the same.
If your preference is gluten-free, organic, raw, vegan, but your neighbor isn’t, there’s no shame in that.