I’ve been thinking today of the way that we talk about food in American culture. Brownies are “guilty pleasures” but baked corn chips are “guilt free”? Remember when we talked about that ridiculous Truvia ad campaign where a jingle singer used insane, grief, guilt, relief, and love three times discussing an artificial sweetener? We’ve got “sinfully delicious” cookies. Some desserts are decadent (the act or process of falling into moral decay): but some are divine (of or pertaining to a god, especially the Supreme Being).
I understand that advertisers will do whatever they can to sell a product but I would argue that we don’t have to adopt it, and I don’t see how attitudes like this can lead to healthy relationships with food.
How does being guilty about eating a food help? Does guilt create health in some way and nobody told me? When I hear the phrase “guilty pleasure” about food, it makes me think of hiding in a corner with some cake and I don’t think that’s a healthy way to view food.
As for the whole sinful/decadent/divine thing, how am I supposed to know if some balklava will lead to moral turpitude or give me a taste heaven?
Even the idea of “healthy” foods and “unhealthy” foods is tricky. Some eating plans say that potatoes are the devil but others say that you can live on potatoes, milk, and a little bit of oatmeal. Some say eating lots of meat is healthy. Some say that not eating any meat is healthy. Some food plans say that anything cooked is unhealthy. Many people have food allergies and sensitivities, moral and religious considerations and more. It goes on and on.
I used to struggled a lot with my relationship with food and I’ve found that my mental health and physical health improve dramatically when I remind myself of, and – as much as possible – remove myself from, our culture’s dangerous mixed messages, moralization and hyperbole around food.
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