The “No-Nos”

We all have those foods. The foods we deem unfit to eat.

But how did we choose them? The main culprit: word of mouth. Yes, that’s right, we heard from someone or read on some unreliable site that these foods are unhealthy. But what if we were told spinach was unhealthy? That we shouldn’t eat it and you’d be fat if you did? That isn’t really accurate. In fact, if you didn’t ever eat spinach, you’d be missing out on not only a tasty food, but also certain nutrients it gives us. The same applies to pleasure foods, more commonly known as “junk food”

The term “junk food” isn’t correct. It implies that these foods are trash and eating them is bad for our insides. Sure, if all you eat is candy all day everyday, it will hurt you, but the same applies to all foods. We have to eat these things in moderation and enjoy all different types of food, unless you have an allergy or ethically are against certain foods (but cutting out some foods means you have to introduce new ones to make up for lost nutrition!).

By taking out these foods, we are punishing ourselves. It brings the correlation between food and appreciation. Food soon becomes a reward and a punishment, some are good and some are considered bad. But this isn’t a healthy way to look at food. Food is something our body needs, and it’s important to try as many different things as we can, not excluding any food that we physically can eat.

By a technical way of looking at things, this is restricting. You are all working so hard to overcome your eating disorder behaviors, and this will not do you any good. Denying yourself food isn’t a good habit. We have to normalize our eating and this includes introducing foods we don’t find “healthy”.

What really defines healthy? Who told us what is healthy and what is not? When you have an eating disorder, no foods should be off the table (unless for religious, ethical or medical reasons). There is no such things as bad foods. I believe there shouldn’t be any labels on food, no super foods, junk food, low fat food, etc. It is all just food. We can eat it all.

Now, just because I believe we can eat all these foods, it doesn’t mean go out and binge. Things in moderation. It is important to eat a variety of foods and expose yourself to different tastes and textures. Eating a couple candies or chocolates a day won’t hurt you. Even having one day where you eat a bunch of candy (Halloween!), you won’t expand like a blimp. All these foods are carbohydrates, and all can be digested by your body and converted to energy. They aren’t going to kill you, as long as you keep eating the other four food groups and get your required amount of nutrition.

If we set rigid rules against food, we could find ourselves in tough situations. An example came up in group today. Our dietitian is going to have a baby, and this weekend she went shopping at the mall. All of a sudden she felt her blood sugar drop. She started sweating and had to sit down. A lady approached her and asked if she was okay, offering her timbits. Now what if the dietitian had a rule of no cake or sugary foods? What if she said, no I’m fine and just walked to the food court? She could’ve fainted in that time and hurt not only herself, but her baby. (She in fact loves timbits, and yes, she is a very healthy dietitian, and took some) But this could happen to anyone at any time. Sometimes you have to eat these foods for when you’re in an emergency and when your health is at risk. There shouldn’t be any foods crossed off your list of foods to eat, reintroduce as much as available to you!!

The main question you have to ask yourself, is this my opinion or Ed’s? Most of the time, it’s Ed’s. Don’t let him or her keep you from eating foods you once enjoyed. Give them a second chance in your life. I have a friend who doesn’t like candy. She finds it too sweet. She also doesn’t like fruit. But she doesn’t ban these foods from her life, she just would prefer not to eat them. If she had to eat them, she would. If you physically do not like a food, don’t say you’ll never eat it, keep it on the table. Simply say you’d prefer not to eat it, and replace it (sometimes) with a food of equal nutrition.

I have had foods I didn’t want to eat. Sometimes I didn’t realize I was cutting them out, but this weekend I recognized it. I decided to challenge myself by eating foods I rarely ever eat. I had hot chocolate, pop, pasta and butter. Some of those things I enjoyed quite a bit, the noddles and butter were fantastic and I will eat them again. But, I wasn’t a fan of the pop or hot chocolate. But I’m not going to never eat them again. In fact, I’m just going to try different brands and types before I say I’d prefer not to eat this food. I want to give it the complete chance it deserves.

You never know, you may not like sweddish fish candy, but maybe you’ll like sour cherry blasters. You’ve got to try different varieties before you say one food isn’t to your liking. All foods deserve a chance.

Give it a shot and stay strong!!

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