In a society obsessed with diet culture, we reject the toxic narratives surrounding food. Instead, we encourage an approach that removes morality from your food choices, and rejects the misguided advice of those peddling unhelpful narratives about nutrition.
The Only True 'Bad' Foods
Let's set the record straight: the only foods we consider 'bad' are those that might send you into anaphylactic shock, are covered in mold, or find themselves surrounded by wolves. Anything short of those? Fair game. Reject the thinking that dictates what's acceptable to eat and what's off-limits.
Thinking of foods as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ translates into our own sense of personal morality based on the foods we end up choosing. We leave the table feeling like WE are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ because of the food choices we make. This thinking robs us of the ability to find balance in our food choices, honor cultural traditions, and use food for any means other than boosting our biology. Also–it’s difficult to follow! This all-or-nothing thinking around food sets us up for restrict-binge cycles which we blame on lack of willpower instead of a very normal psychological phenomenon that wants us to EAT.
Morality-Free Food Choices: A Radical Shift
By rejecting the morality attached to food, we liberate ourselves from the burden of guilt and shame. Food doesn’t have to be a moral battleground; it's a personal choice. Contrary to what the food police will tell you, food serves not only to nourish our cells but also to nurture our relationships, connect with feelings and memories, honor cultures, and more.
Consider exploring and embracing your own personal relationship with food that feels both free and body-honoring. Yes–it’s possible! If you’ve been caught in the diet mentality for a long time the idea of a relaxed relationship with food may sound impossible, but it’s not.
All Foods Fit, Always
All foods fit into a balanced way of eating. Regular enjoyment of foods previously deemed 'off-limits' will often remove the power that the food holds over us, and allows us to eat in a way that is both satisfying and comfortable.
The 'Yes, And' Approach
The 'Yes, And' approach to nutrition stands in stark contrast to the idea of restriction or elimination. If we think about all of the roles that food can have in our bodies and our lives, we know that some foods nourish our cells, help manage blood glucose and energy levels, and some nurture our souls. All are important! An approach of ‘Yes, And’ means that we combine foods offering all of these benefits on our plates throughout the course of the day.
Even those with special health needs can partake in this approach to nutrition. Consider diabetes, a condition often burdened by restrictive dietary advice. While carbohydrates raise our blood glucose levels, they’re also a vital nutrient for our energy levels and brain function. Instead of restricting or avoiding carbs, we can take the Yes, And approach. Here’s an example:
If your grandma’s lasagna is a recipe handed down through generations, we want you to enjoy it! Pairing it with sauteed broccolini or a hearty salad will make the meal more satisfying AND aid in blood sugar regulation. So ‘YES, please’, to delicious lasagna (also a great source of protein and carbs) AND a ‘yes’ to filling fiber from the veg. You don’t have to choose either-or, instead you can say ‘Yes, And’.
In conclusion, the time for revolutionizing our nutrition is now. Restriction, confusion, and overwhelm with our food choices has had the stage for long enough. We want to see you liberated from good-bad, all-or-nothing thinking about your food choices and instead find a pattern of eating that suits your unique culture, tastes, dietary needs and feels comfortable. With this perspective, we can find joy, satisfaction, and true nourishment in every bite and then get on with our day sans guilt.
This blog is co-authored by Synergy's team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, Licensed Massage Therapists, and Diabetes Educators practicing in Bend, Oregon. As providers following Health at Every Size® (HAES) and Body Trust® philosophies, they strive to help EVERY BODY thrive.