Natural Healing Omaha Blog

Food Fear Isn’t Making Us Any Healthier

Food Fear Isn’t Making Us Any Healthier

8 seconds. That’s how long I searched Facebook to find a blog/link/post about some kind of food being ‘bad’ for me. Then, when I Googled the phrase ‘bad food’, I got 2.1 billion search results. Billion! That’s more than Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber combined!

Food-bashing is nothing new.

In the 70’s they told us fat was bad for our arteries, so my mom switched us to margarine instead of butter- my dad had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of heart attacks. His doctor told him to cut down on salt, so the only time we enjoyed that spice was on taco night – and boy, did we load it on! And forget about eggs. No way. Big killer.

In the 80’s we counted calories, because we were already starting to put on weight from the so-called food that replaced the evil fats we cut out the decade before.

In the 90’s, convenience was king, and we threw out all the rules and enjoyed our fast food lunches crammed into our 10 hour workdays. Why? Because it was all about success and big houses and keeping up with the Joneses.

Honestly, I don’t remember all the food fads over the past 40 years (and excuse me if I mixed up my decades), but some pretty lousy advice has been handed down under the guise of ‘research’ from food manufacturers, healthcare providers and mass media.

I feel so guilty eating practically everything these days, because somewhere, at some time, every food on the shelves, in the CSA box or from the garden has been so demonized that I’ve had the fear of God scared into me over ever bite I take.

Even something as purely healthy as an egg gets analyzed, researched and questioned until someone comes up with a ludicrous list of qualifications a simple egg should meet to enter our mouths:

  • Free-range
  • Omega-3 enhanced (what in the world did those poor chickens have to go through to qualify?)
  • Gluten-free (seriously?)
  • Farm-raised – what farm these days is good enough to meet this standard?
  • Local (that’s always nice, I guess)
  • Fresh (doesn’t that go without saying?)

Remember when eggs came in 4 sizes and that’s all we cared about?

For that matter, remember when the only bread choice we ever considered was homemade or store-bought? Now we worry about gluten, whole-grain, transfats vs polyunsaturated ones, and food coloring – since when does bread need to be colored?

For once, I just want to eat without running through the pedigree of my meal. I know I should be buying my food from local, organic farmers with free-range animal products and environmentally sustainable practices. I fully support these practices, in theory, but when it comes right down to it, I’ve realized that this takes an enormous amount of time and effort and planning.

And I’m working on it, little by little. I started by shopping the organic section of my grocery stores, reading food and farming blogs, and I’m finally going to join a CSA this Spring and see what THAT’S all about.

But for now, I’d like to pour a bowl of oatmeal without worrying about whether it’s organic or gluten-free, and top it with walnuts without wondering if they’re covered in pesticides, and mix it up with some organic milk that might not be from a farm nearby, and top it off with dried cranberries that probably have some sugar added because I couldn’t find the unsweetened ones I’m supposed to buy.

It would be a little slice of heaven to enjoy a warm spoonful of breakfast and not once, not even for a split second, wonder if the grain in there is genetically modified.

I love to eat, but we’ve taken all the fun out of eating in our culture. Food is a minefield of potential cancer-causing, inflammation-inducing terror. No wonder everyone is so confused and stressed about what to feed their families.

Today, for just one meal, eat without guilt, or fear, or disappointment. Before you start your new eating habits – low fat, high fat, low sugar, no sugar, vegetarian, paleo, vegan, grass-fed – enjoy that juicy steak and baked potato smothered in gravy with a side of delicious, and sugary, fatty, gluten-laden pie for dessert with a big smile on your face.

Life is stressful enough. Enjoy your food, even if it’s not the most healthy thing you’ve had this week. Then tomorrow, pick just one thing to do differently. Eat a little less, skip dessert, add a vegetable to your plate without worrying about who grew it. You’ll get there. It’s a process. One step at a time.

If you’re serious about eating more local or considering joining a CSA, check out my Resources page for links to trustworthy products and businesses in our community.

 

Comments (11)

  1. Thanks for writing this. I can relate to this blog post. I have recently been finding myself obsessing over where my food comes from, watching documentaries like Food Inc. and GMO OMG. I follow food activists so I can get as many tips to eat as naturally as I can, why does eating healthy have to be so difficult? As you stated, we all have plenty of other things going on in our lives to stress about but, once I realized how terrible a trip to the grocery store can be how does one not get stressed? It sad and terrible how something so simple and natural as food has become just the opposite.

    • Kim, I’m thankful for the information and try to incorporate fresh, local, etc, into my diet, but it’s so easy to get wrapped up in worry. It affects our digestion and ultimately, our whole health. Better to eat the best you can and slowly make changes over time. It’s all about happiness!

  2. Mo,
    Thanks for the reminder that the best thing to feed ourselves is a daily slice of contentment ! You are so wise. Love love your blogs!
    Jennifer Connolly

  3. I agree that if you look hard enough you will find someone that will tell you most every food we eat is not good for us. That being said, I think when you recognize that there are many ailments which are now rampant that years ago where not so common, when the majority of people ate unprocessed food. I think this observation could indicate we are doing something wrong and bad food likely could be a culprit. I really don’t think it is that hard to make healthy food choices. Just stay out of the center of a grocery store and stick with whole unprocessed foods. If you need a chemistry degree to recognize the ingredients or if it doesn’t look like something you could harvest from nature, an organic farm, or your garden, then there is a good chance it isn’t good for you. That still leaves a lot of good choices.

    • Jarel, We certainly could benefit from a return to some common sense eating, like your ‘shop the perimeter’ approach and reading labels for unrecognizable ingredients. The good news is that there are so many healthy options with more and bigger farmer’s markets, CSA’s and a rise in the popularity of home gardens and canning/preserving. I’m looking forward to watching my kids and grandkids get more involved in growing food and eating more like our great grandparents did. We have lots of reasons to be optimistic. Thank you for your comment!

    • Mardra, I’m happy that you could feel a respite from the food struggles for just a little while. Hopefully, the Resources page will make the search for local food easier for you and your family. I appreciate your comment!

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