This post originally appeared as guest post on Michele Payn-Knoper’s Cause Matters Blog.Check out her blog for reliable information about the food you eat!
Do you suffer with Food Guilt?
No, I’m not talking about that regret you might feel after eating something packed with sugar or fat.
I’m talking about guilt in the grocery store. The small voice in your head telling you that item isn’t good enough for you and your family. It’s the urge to look for the antibiotic-free milk, and the hormone-free meat. It is really the voice of marketing preying on your desire to feed yourself and your family the best products possible and your fear that you don’t know enough to make the right choice.
It happens to me every time I pick up a dozen eggs. I know – I REALLY know there is no nutritional difference between the brown egg and the white egg, but I want the brown egg. Somehow I’ve been conditioned to believe it is a more healthy choice.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last 18 months examining my own beliefs about food and nutrition, and have discovered much of what I thought was based on information on the front of the package and from the media, rather than information found on that tiny label on the back of the package.
Think about it.
If you see one carton of milk proclaiming it is antibiotic-free, don’t you assume all the rest of the cartons contain antibiotics? I did, until I started talking to farmers and other people in the dairy industry. Turns out all Grade A milk is free of antibiotics and is, in fact, tested several times to make sure of it. So now I buy my milk based on taste, not packaging.
That is the key to the Guilt-Free Food Zone: Get the facts, make a choice and feel good about it.
A young mom in one of my sessions shared how guilty she fells about not being able to get organic produce. That choice is just not available where she lives. An organic label doesn’t magically make a product more healthy for you. Organic cookies are still cookies – not health food. Organic labels are about how the food was produced rather than the nutritional content. I reassured her that it is important to get fresh fruits and veggies – and wash them. We are told to be concerned about pesticides and what might be on non-organic produce. However washing and/or peeling the produce will get rid of whatever might be there. In fact – if you aren’t washing your produce before you eat it, you might as well go ahead and lick the grocery store floor – since your apple might well have been there! Don’t feel guilty about your choices in the produce section, take the time to understand what organic really means – then make your decision based on facts, rather than marketing. Organic or not – just eat your fruits & veggies.
One more guilt-ridden section of the grocery store for me is the meat counter. I used to stand there and ponder which pack of pork chops was better. Hormone-free — really? That label that now makes me laugh. Of course meat is going to have hormones in it, even broccoli has hormones in it. So what exactly is the point of this “front of the package” label? Fear. Goodness! You don’t want hormones in your food – we’ll suddenly be a nation of mutants! Relax. According to USDA rules, even if an animal is given hormones to help them build lean muscle, that medication must be out of the animal’s system before it can enter the food supply. Meat is tested to make sure of it. Many farmers raise their animals without the use of hormones at all. So make a decision about what you want to buy based on facts, not marketing, and feel good about it.
Next time you are in grocery store take a deep breath, understand that the farmers out there are doing their best to produce healthy and safe food for you and your family. No one is secretly trying to poison you or create a race of mutants. Relax and enjoy the Guilt-Free Food Zone!
Looking for real information about your food?
Eliz Greene works with busy people who want to improve their heart health so they can work well, live well, and stress less.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country providing down-to-earth, ag-friendly, and energizing keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She is the author of 3 books and writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.
Eliz Greene survived a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggled to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and searched for a way to hold on to the perspective and passion she found in her near-death experience. Drawing on her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage stress.