at the beginning of this year, i made a commitment to myself to refrain from using the words "good", "bad", "healthy", or "unhealthy" when referring to food. particularly around storie and my other future children.
here's the thing. we already KNOW that spinach has more nutrients in it than twinkies. i am not trying to dismiss the fact that some foods truly do contain more healthful components. i am not suggesting that twinkies and spinach are the same.
i AM suggesting that we stop putting so much pressure on the labels of our foods. if i grow up my entire life hearing "cookies are bad, cookies are unhealthy, cookies have sugar, i shouldn't eat too many cookies" etc, how am i going to feel if (let's get real-- WHEN) i eat one?
i am going to feel bad.
food does not have that much power over you and me. you should not feel like people owe you more respect if you have the "willpower" to haughtily decline a donut on friday around all your coworkers. you shouldn't fear that people will think "awww, she has really let herself go" when they see you go back for a second helping. you are a good person simply because you exist. not because of what you put in your mouth.
i knew that i wanted my children to have a healthy relationship with food growing up. i have kind of dedicated my entire life to helping others mend their relationships with food, and the people that i raise are always my top priority. after reading this book over christmas break, i knew what and how i was going to label foods in my house.
grow foods and play foods.
some foods (like spinach) exist to help us G R O W. they help our tummies feel good. they help us run fast. they help us feel our best. consuming them does not make you a better person, but your body will feel better when you eat grow foods. your body wants grow foods.
other foods (like twinkies) exist to help us P L A Y! this is such an important aspect of food that we should not dismiss or resent. when my own relationship with food was not in a particularly good place, i remember hating this part of culture. why did there always have to be food at gatherings? why couldn't you connect with a friend just for the sake of connecting-- why did you have to "go get lunch"? why did we have cake on birthdays? why did events have a greater turnout if refreshments were advertised? i didn't like it. food was everywhere, and i was afraid of it.
now, i am able to see that this is such an important part of food. this is why some foods help us play. it is an important function of food. you can comfort a friend by bringing over a pint of her favorite ice cream. you can ease the day of a neighbor by bringing them a home cooked meal after they have a baby. you can celebrate graduation with your significant other by going to the cheesecake factory and ordering the godiva chocolate cheesecake. food unifies. it is okay.
it is also important to remember that play foods won't help our bodies feel as good as grow foods will! and you don't want your body to feel gross. it's not fun to feel bloated. but it is ALSO not fun to watch everyone enjoy a delicious dessert and bond over it while you sit in your chair and feel sorry for yourself. there needs to be a balance. grow foods and play foods. they each have a purpose and they are each important to your overall health.