The issue I have with "healthy" food
So it’s no secret, I have an eating disorder and I’ve talked about it before, but if you haven’t read that post yet you should because it gives some context to this one.
Anyway, for most of my teenage life I was labelled as a “healthy eater” and this was even pre eating disorder. I have always naturally been drawn to so called “healthy” food. That’s not to say I didn’t eat things such as candy and pizza (and still do sometimes) like every other kid, but I certainly never put up a fight about eating my vegetables. I understood early on the benefits to nourishing your body well, and was able to clearly connect the dots between that and improved overall health.
Now, the whole eating disorder thing aside, I've never considered the way in which I ate to be different from anyone else. I mean it’s all food right? That was until people started to comment on what ate.
I would get things like “ew you like healthy food” or “that looks so healthy” as I was about to dig into whatever concoction of leftovers I had salvaged from my fridge that day. At first it didn’t bother me, but after a while it definitely started to. The things I ordered at restaurants or brought for lunch would turn into full on discussions, which made my confidence around food choices plummet. I no longer felt that I had the freedom to eat whatever I wanted, but instead choose the things that would garner the least amount of comments or attention. Ordering a salad instead of fries or turning down dessert felt shameful, because it was supposedly the “healthier” choice, when really I was ordering the salad because I genuinely wanted the salad, and I was turning down dessert because I was full.
Me listening to what my body wanted and craved had turned into a game of labels, and unfortunately it is still kind of this way. Although I’ve gotten better at steering the conversation a different direction whenever someone brings up my eating habits, that doesn’t prevent the comments from coming up in the first place.
The way I look at it, food is food. Some foods are more nutritious than others, but they shouldn’t be labelled as “bad” or “good” because of that. Giving food labels only promotes restriction and shame. I don’t eat certain foods because they are “healthy”, I eat them because I like how they taste and I like how they make my body feel.
So moral of the story, if you see someone eating a salad don’t say anything about it. I’m sure they would much rather talk about their latest Netflix binge than how much fibre is in their spinach.