PSA: Food should always be guilt-free

I’ll give one concession to the clean eaters out there: some foods are nutritionally good for you, and some are nutritionally bad. Sweet potatoes, for instance, are nutritionally more valuable than regular white potatoes. So if you’re the kind of person that wants to maximize your nutrient intake, opt for sweet potatoes.

But the more time I spend in the health and wellness sphere of Instagram, the more I see a common yet harmful phrase used to describe food:

“Guilt-free.”

Like, what? I’m sorry, but I don’t think someone should ever feel guilty about eating food, unless of course that food was stolen from a hungry child. The thing about food is that the relative health of what you’re eating doesn’t actually affect what kind of a person you are for eating it.

Repeat after me: FOOD HAS NO MORAL VALUE.

That’s not to say that I don’t apply my personal beliefs to food; I try to buy Fair Trade Certified products, eat grass-fed beef and give as much of my money as I can afford to companies that stand for things I care about.

But to think that the amount of carbohydrates or sugar or calories a specific food item contains informs your value as a person is a dangerous and maladaptive pattern of thought.

This holiday season, try not to be guilty for what you eat. Eat the carbs, eat the sugar and eat the saturated fat and enjoy it. The most important kind of health is mental health: if you’re beating yourself up over a couple potatoes and a Christmas cookie, you’re not going to be healthy, no matter how much kale you eat.

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