Thanks for your response.
I am not judging other people’s eating habits though. If someone chooses not to eat a brownie, then that is their choice, good on them. However, I am judging the language we use around food and the deeper meanings it carries.
When someone says “I’ll be good,” when they decline a dessert or a second helping, the implication is that if they took it, they would be “bad.” There are tons of reasons they might refuse that brownie. Maybe they aren’t hungry. Maybe they already had one. Maybe they are allergic. They could say “No, thank you.” They could say something more descriptive or accurate than that they are choosing to “be good.”
I understand what you’re saying about eating a balanced diet, but even if you are saying “I’ll be good” because you are trying to eat something more balanced and had two donuts for breakfast, you are still applying morals to food when you say that not eating the food is the “good” choice. Whether you MEAN it as a moral judgement or not, you are using words that imply morality. Instead, you could say “I think I’ll skip it, I don’t feel like I need dessert right now.” That is a statement of looking at your entire day and making a decision in a matter of fact way.
I’m not projecting what makes me happy onto someone else. If it makes you happy or it makes you feel physically good to eat or not eat certain foods, that’s great. I’m not saying that you should eat what I eat. I AM saying that a lot of times our ideas about what we “should” or “should not” eat are based in diet culture and false morality being placed around food. If you are eating a salad because you were craving greens, fantastic. If you are eating a salad because you are punishing yourself or depriving yourself, you are contributing to diet culture, and falling victim to it, whether it’s a conscious choice or not.
Regarding the concept that “some foods are healthy, some foods are not,” I think it’s a lot more complicated than that. Most foods are healthy in some way some of the time. If you eat apples and only apples, they stop being a healthy choice. A cucumber may be healthier than a donut, presuming that you are not eating ONLY cucumbers and that you are not allergic to cucumbers. If you are talking about nutritional value, you could say “A cucumber has more nutritional value than a donut,” but what if someone is starving, and has no access to regular food? Which will sustain them for longer? Which will leave them still hunger? Which will their body process faster? It’s not as simple as saying something is healthy or not.
What I’m saying is that we need to think a lot more about the way we talk about food, and the assumptions we make about other people based on the food they eat. Again when you say “At the very least some have more of the nutrients that food is supposed to provide us with,” who decides what the food is “supposed to” do?
At the end of the day, if you’re married to using words like “I’ll be good” and “clean eating,” that’s a choice you’re going to make. I’m asking people to think about the words they use and how they might be affecting the people around them and contributing to a damaging diet culture. I’ve never asked for some kind of moral authority, nor have I said I disagree with eating how you want to eat — that’s an assumption you made. What I DO disagree with is the well-ingrained idea that eating those foods makes you “good” or “clean” or “better” than someone who isn’t eating them.