Vegans, surely I’m not the only one to have noticed this.
We act like it’s some revolutionary act to notice that food conglomerates make money off of enhancing packaged foods whilst ignoring that the “health food” industry has made a ton of money swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction.
Conveniently by still “processing” and “packaging” foods, but having us tell ourselves that it’s okay it doesn’t taste very good because it’ll cure us of all that ails. It sells a lot of books. It gets a lot of interviews. They tell us “people don’t want to hear this.” But in my experience, people do. People crave “the answer” even when they have no idea what they’re looking for. They just want to be healthy, well, able to live their lives. Society has somehow told them they can’t do those things or be those things right where they are.
The Health at Every Size movement has done so much to begin to untangle this. If I sound completely unhinged to you, I recommend starting there. Dr. Linda Bacon has given many of us permission to live our lives now, not an ever-changing goal from now. We’re allowed to be so much more than “on a diet” or perhaps even more trendily, “‘not’ on a diet.”
But we push back.
“Yes that’s okay for you, but what about me. I want to do this for me.”
Even when that’s true, it isn’t. Can we really separate it like that?
I get it. My body doesn’t feel great if I survive on bagged chips either but that doesn’t mean I need to shun them, or weigh them, or put them in a color coded container, or only eat them on Sundays. That means I should enjoy them with my lunch, not as my lunch.
Not feeling so great lately? Sure, look at diet, but don’t villainize anything.
Are we providing ourselves three meals and two snacks at predictable times during the day featuring a variety of foods? Do we round out our meals with a grain or bread, a vegetable or two, possibly some fruit if we’re in the mood, a protein, some fats, and a source of calcium? Are we a competent eater? Or do we put food off as long as we can until we cram whatever we can into our faces while hating oneself one day, portioning things into teensy, tiny color-coordinated containers the next while telling oneself how full and vibrant we feel, and eat plain, undressed lettuce and call it a “superfood” while judging family and friends for “indulging.”
How is that healthy? How is that going to cure anything? How is that the legacy that we want to pass on even if we don’t have children, but especially if we do.
We have given food so much power, while taking away the power it actually has.
We’ve given food the power to cause every single ailment under the sun while denying it the power of bringing families together, soothing broken edges, or simply the ability to enjoy a nice, quiet lunch with foods we enjoy.
The power to stop binging doesn’t come from somehow getting enough willpower one day. It comes from breaking the cycle and treating oneself softly, predictably, well. Feed oneself a variety of foods. Don’t try to live off of leaves and nuts alone and then wonder why we don’t have the strength to enjoy an entire sleeve of Oreos a few days in.
Instead, we can find a comfy spot to sit and savor our cookies with a glass of soymilk, some apple slices, maybe a bit of peanut butter even. Maybe sometimes we’ll eat too many, and get a stomachache. That’s okay. Focus on meals. Sitting down, enjoying, savoring. Trying again. They’ll be there.