The Freedom To Eat

The Freedom To Eat

Nutrition and food is one of the fastest growing industries in this lifetime.

So much of our everyday life revolves around food: birthday parties, lunch with colleagues, family meals, events, holidays… food is everywhere!

It’s easy to worry about food. One day we’re told that kale is the superfood of the year and the next it’s sweet potato toast.

I bet you’ve seen headlines like this before:

“Organic foods are just a “marketing label.”

Even if you know what to eat, living a healthy lifestyle is very difficult.

Sure, we’re all talking about nutrition, but what aren’t we talking about when we are talking about food?

Information comes from all sides these days: Canada wants to combat obesity by imposing a sugar tax, supermodel Chrissy Teigen writes a cookbook, Nutella’s ingredients may cause cancer, McDonald’s adds a healthy section to their menu, TV has Food Network, The Biggest Loser and movie theaters welcome, Julie & Julia, Super Size Me, No Reservations and Chef.

What people are choosing to purchase and eat constitutes an expression of style, a way of life, a reflection of values or can fit in the political landscape.

Chew slowly, then. Swallow. Then, think about how things got complicated.

As blogger It’s Not About Nutrition Dr. Dina Rose’s put it, “the key to creating this healthy and happy relationship with food comes down to three habits: variety, proportion and moderation.”

I was never a toothpick. I knew early on that if I ate like my friends, the food would somehow show up differently on my body.

Food was always a thing for me. I’m Italian and love my traditional meals.

But when you look at how food production impacts the environment, you have no choice but to change certain habits.

There are so many people trying the next best diet.

I did the fat-free thing. Drank only natural fruit juices. Went vegetarian. Then eliminated gluten. Then vegan. No, no, no it’s all about eating raw now.

I began to observe my dear parents, I read some scientific literature and pretty soon it became clear that nutrition wasn’t about eating right— habits were.

Young girls are being influenced to stay thin and eat less all the time.

But this is what’s actually happening—disordered eating.

There is an obsession with size and weight, diet and exercise.

Symptoms of disordered eating may include behavior such as food restriction, binge eating, purging or excessive exercise, and use of diet pills and/ or laxatives.

Everyone has a relationship with food, even though no one wants to talk about it.

No one tells you to pick up that cookie if you’ve had a bad day. But for some eating that cookie is a punishment.

That voice that fills your brain with shame and guilt: Shame on you. You’ve failed.

Truthfully, we should be more concerned about our mental relationship to food.

Eating is more than feeding your hungry something. It’s nourishment, wellness and energy and fuel.

We should be able to listen to our bodies and know when to eat, when to stop, how to get through a buffet or a party without overindulging, how to eat a couple of cookies instead of the whole box.

The freedom to eat is the most beautiful thing in the world.

Only then, can a cookie become truly satisfying.

Chew slowly, then. Swallow. Then think about how great it tastes.


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