Food & Guilt – 2 Words That Should Never Go Together

Food & Guilt – 2 Words That Should Never Go Together

For some, long gone are the days where food is considered as just a basic need for survival. For those privileged enough to choose, food can describe a lifestyle. Some go as far as letting food define their personality, their sense of identity and wellbeing, their meaning. The labels of gluten-free products create more excitement in buyers than the prospect of actually eating them. Guilt starts to creep in after a few handfuls of chips; unless it’s ‘cheat day’, of course. With the overwhelming influence that social media enjoys on our lives, our relationship with food is getting more obscure by the day. Read on to find out how to take guilt out of your food equation.

chili sin carne is always a good idea
chili sin carne is always a good idea

Not quite sure what to eat? Don’t worry, there is plenty of advice out there. Scrolling through Instagram, you feel like fruit is the only way to go, dare you eating anything cooked. The magazine you read while at the supermarket checkout tells you to indulge; treat yourself, because why not? Your best friend swears by a no carb diet, because our brain can surely survive without carbs, no? You turn on the TV, an energetic health expert recommends, no, demands that you jump on the paleo bandwagon, because grains were soo yesterday. It’s these conflicting narratives that trigger feelings of guilt, insecurity, and confusion. Instead of being inspired, we are bombarded with prescriptive portraits of the ideal lifestyle. Our own voice is lost in a maze of marketing-driven, unsustainable fads. There is only one way to escape. First, educate yourself. Second, listen to your own body. Repeat. Here is something drawn by people who are far more qualified at this than I am. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for interpretation, so I will leave you to it. :-)

© Nutrition Australia

I believe that taking a holistic approach to food is the way to go. The food you eat shouldn’t only fill you up, but it should also make you feel energetic and happy. Savour every bite, no matter whether it’s the ice cream you are having for dessert or the salad you packed for lunch. Mindfulness is the key to understand what it is that nourishes your body the most. Listen to yourself before blindly trusting the opinion of countless self-acclaimed health experts. I made the choice to follow a vegan diet. It makes me feel great, it suits my lifestyle and it is sustainable. Note, my lifestyle is not vegan, my diet is.

some drink coffee, I drink juice
some drink coffee, I drink juice

Guilt impacts your eating like a pendulum, swinging you from McDonald’s to everything-free biscuits. You strive for balance by supposedly making up for cheat meals, but all you do is confuse your body and your mind. Your diet has a tremendous impact on your mental health, your brain function, your happiness levels and your surroundings. Instead of creating guilt, food actually fuels, comforts, and connects.

sometimes all you need is a piece of cake
sometimes all you need is a piece of cake

Instead of countering fatty burgers with juice fasts, look after your body for the long run. Balance yourself Рnot just your diet. Use your common sense. Learn. Eat the food that suits you, what you do, and your environment. Bon app̩tit!


Have you ever experienced food guilt? How did you deal with it?

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  • I quite like that philosophy of taking a holistic approach to food and doing what makes you feel good. There are so many strict diets out there at the moment. I was definitely nodding along with you in this post!

  • As someone who lived with an eating disorder for a long time, I really understand guilt around food. I think you’re right – finding balance in your diet is really important and the best way to keep yourself healthy and nourished. I try to eat fresh and organic where I can with as little processed food as possible, and eat foods that make my body feel good (I’m gluten free, mostly dairy free and processed sugar is now only something I have rarely), and it makes such a difference to my overall wellbeing!