It doesn’t take a lot to find lists of “good” and “bad” foods.
As humans, we really like to put everything into boxes and place labels on them. It’s easy to put foods into these categories and labels because it feels like it makes life easier. It’s easy to talk about choosing the “good” foods, and to talk about quitting the “bad” ones. It’s comfortable to have a guide or roadmap telling us which foods to choose and which ones to avoid.
The problem is that nutrition isn’t black and white. There are nuances and many factors to take into account when dealing with health sciences.
Food is inherently neutral.
Environment, circumstances, availability, need, etc. determines whether it is a more positive or negative option. The terms “good” and “bad” are moral. But food is not a moral choice. Once we attach moral value to food, we lose true food empowerment.
With true food empowerment we are able to have imperfect deviations (because that’s real life) and not have it send us into a spiral of indulging because of blowing the diet or “falling off the wagon”.
With true food empowerment, we can fully embody and make our motto and goal to “come from a place of curiosity and compassion, not judgement,” and bring along the food anthropologist and nutrition ally voices within us.
A Food Anthropologist: A neutral, non-judgmental observer that can give you a distant perspective into your eating world. It keeps you in touch with your inner biological and psychological signals.
Nutrition Ally: The neutral voice that helps you make decisions about foods that will give you energy, health, satiety, and satisfaction.
Some people assume that self-compassion is an excuse for giving up on health, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s simply having a neutral and understanding consideration of yourself and your actions. Self-compassionate people do not criticize or bully themselves when they make mistakes, which makes it easier to admit vulnerability, and change unproductive behaviors.
With curiosity and self-compassion, we are able to ask ourselves what we really need and what will help. What we really need might be energy, peace, comfort, or other human needs that aren’t being met.
The more we suppress our cravings for the “bad” food, and the more we discipline our actions to say “no”, or to only say “yes” at cheat meals…
The more power those foods have.
With fully embodying Food Neutrality, the temptation, guilt, and shame lose their grip.
So how do we cultivate this? How do we begin to approach food with curiosity, compassion, to strengthen the food anthropologist and nutrition ally voices within you?
Begin by asking questions along the lines of:
– What can this food do for me right now?
– What are the immediate and short-term benefits or outcomes?
– How can this food serve me right now?
Those questions can help bring you into a place where your curiosity, compassion, anthropologist, and ally voices can thrive and support you in making food neutral.
Another great exercise is where you take a sheet of paper and make 3 columns. On the far left column, write down all the “good” foods on your List. On the far right, write down all your “bad” foods. The middle column will be the neutral list. Go down your food lists, and food by food, think about or write down how each food has positive AND negative attributes and place them in the neutral list.
Keep in mind, seeing food as neutral is not an easy thing to do.
It can take years to truly see food as neutral.
But when you do, there is peace, freedom, and true food empowerment.
We cannot wait for you to join us on that side.