I'll Never Feel Guilty For What I Eat, And Neither Should You
Should we replace the word 'guilt' when it comes to what we eat?
I had a bit of a rant on Facebook recently (to my measly amount of followers, yes, but a rant all the same) about capsicums. Hear me out.
In particular, a brand of baby capsicums that sold itself as "a sweet snack without the guilt."
Here it is:
And I'm still mad. So I'm having another rant here.
You see, I don't have kids but I have a goddaughter who is 13 and whose sister is 11 -- so far they haven't been sucked into today's unrealistic beauty standards. At this stage, they still eat lollies when they're allowed to, love chocolate (but not chocolate-flavoured things, go figure) eat fruit and vegetables, eat pies, eat salad, eat sushi, eat everything. And they don't ever feel guilty.
I'd like to keep it that way.
I have a friend with a daughter who has an eating disorder. She feels guilt every day about what she eats -- not because she wants to be thin, but because she doesn't want to put on any weight.
I hate that she feels like that.
I've worked with women all through my life who have had issues with food, with putting on weight, with looking a certain way. With only eating certain things.
I have always wished they wouldn't.
If I go to lunch with friends, sometimes they will say, "Oh I shouldn't eat that, I feel too guilty". My mum says she feels bad when she has a piece of chocolate every night.
I actively encourage them all to eat what they want.
I hate that "guilt" features so heavily in our feelings about food.
We need to change the wording and the feeling behind the word. Eat a cake if you want one, just know that eating cake for every meal isn't the best thing for your health.
But don't feel guilty if you eat it -- enjoy that goddamn cake. You could get run over tomorrow. Don't get run over feeling bad that you didn't have a guilt-free treat on your last day.
We need to change how people feel about eating full stop -- let's not keep going with this idea that there are foods we should feel guilty about. That we're bad for eating them. That we're somehow terrible and need punishing for having a flippin' cake.
Kids grow up thinking that health and guilt are interwoven when it comes to what they eat. And they aren't. Sure, sugar is bad for your health, fat isn't great in large amounts, lollies and sweets aren't good for you at all, but feeling guilty for having them is the WRONG FEELING.
Feel guilt if you kill someone / drive into someone's car / steal money. And yes, I guess feel guilty if you feed a Black Forest Gateau to someone who is allergic to cream and cherries -- a somewhat specific allergy, granted. But don't feel guilt if you eat a chocolate (and don't NOT feel guilty if you eat a ton of tiny nightshade veggies). Just feel good about both and live your life.
I went on holiday to Italy recently and a wise friend told me to "eat all the truffles". I did. I ate them all. And not once did I feel guilty. I knew it wasn't the healthiest to have creamy truffley pasta (excuse me, I seem to be drooling) for every meal and I made sure I didn't FOR MY HEALTH but not for my guilt levels. Those were low. Like, below ground level.
There is too much of this stuff around food already. Why do we need to keep it going? If you want to promote something for being healthy, how about you call it "healthy" or "delicious" or -- radical, "Healthy and delicious"? If you think that is boring and you can't bring yourself to do it, call it (*shudders*) "sweet'n' sassy" or something. Just don't mention guilt anymore when you talk about food. Please.
Oh Sweet Baby Capsicums, I ask you -- what's wrong with saying, "A sweet snack you'll love", "A sweet and healthy snack" or "Little cute capsicums? Who knew?"
Advertising and branding agencies -- I know, I'm good. I'll answer all your messages and job offers I promise...
Feature image: Getty