Privilege of selective eating


Zoe Nicholson on the privilege of selective eating:

The ability to be so selective with what we eat is a Western world privilege.

Unfortunately an over-abundance of food is partly why we have so much unnecessary processed food-like food. The proliferation of such processed food is, I believe, a large part of why so many people are turning to different forms of eating, be it paleo, clean, gluten free etc. After all, if we only had fresh whole food available to us, the term “clean eating” probably wouldn’t even have arisen. I also suspect that if we only had fresh whole food available to us, and this includes grains and legumes, the “paleo diet” would not have come about either.

The one thing all these new styles of eating have in common is the elimination of highly processed food. Well almost, the food industry has responded with plenty of packaged paleo and “clean” food (aka processed food), which ironically is exactly how we got into this “food fight” in the first place. Watch this space, in a few years there will another style of eating to combat all the new food-like food that has infiltrated paleo and clean eating.

While all this goes on, there are millions of people in the world who are just happy to have whatever food is available. They are not interested if the food is gluten free, sugar free, clean, paleo or alkaline and most likely don’t even know the terms exist. 

Rice, maize and wheat provide 60 percent of the world’s food energy intake [source] . Of the top 10 crops in the world, all are carbohydrate rich food. I am not saying this is how it should be, but it is the current situation. The overwhelming majority of people in the world cannot afford (and I don’t mean financially) to eat “clean” or “paleo”. Luckily for them, they don’t need to because they are not exposed to an over-abundance of food, be it whole food or processed food.

However you choose to eat, try to keep things simple, stick to mostly whole fresh food, limit packaged food with multiple ingredients and be thankful you have access to so much nourishing food.

Try to avoid placing a moral value on how you eat or following a style of eating that doesn’t fit in easily with work, family, social events or travel. Why? Because this type of eating can foster an unhealthy relationship with food and can lead to disordered eating or eating disorders. If one of your reasons for following a specific style of eating is weight loss, then you also may be increasing your risk of body image dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem.

For centuries the problem with food was getting enough. It still is for most in the developing world and the poor in the developed world.

But those with more than enough which gives them the luxury of choice are worried about getting too much and/or whether what they are getting is the “right” food.

Most of us in the developed world have the privilege of selective eating and that’s made what and how much we eat a problem of our own making.

A Peace of Nourishment


Today is International No Diet Day:

After it was first held in then early 90’s in the U.K, slowly but surely other countries around the world have come on board to acknowledge this day. There is now no debate (and the research is clear) about whether weight loss diets work (they don’t), that they cause weight gain for many, and the focus on weight/weight loss leads to increased weight stigma. In addition, weight loss dieting is the commonest pathway to developing an eating disorder. This is perhaps the most insidious aspect of dieting, as we are increasingly seeing younger and younger age groups engage in weight suppression strategies. Please watch and share the promo for ‘A Peace of Nourishment’ featuring the very brave Kylie who is aiming to share her journey to recovery via this documentary.

Dr Kausman is the author of If Not Dieting Then What and has a website of the same name.

The Moderation Movement is also marking No Diet Day:

Here are my 6 top reasons why people should stop dieting now, or never go on a diet again.

1. “The best way to gain weight, is to lose weight.”

Research shows us that over 95% of people who lose weight on a diet, regain that weight within 5 years. The overwhelming majority regain more weight. Quote taken from ‘Beyond a shadow of a diet’ by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel.

2. With regard to diets – “It’s the only thing we buy that, when the product fails, we all blame ourselves and then go buy another version.” Brilliantly put by American dietitian, Evelyn Tribole .

3. “If diets worked, everyone who has ever tried to lose weight, would have done it and kept the weight off long-term, end of story.” Zoe Nicholson (me)

4. Many people go on a diet with the aim to lose weight and feel better about themselves.

Research has found that dieters have lower self esteem, lower levels of body image satisfaction and higher levels of anxiety, depression and disordered eating than non-dieters. So in fact, dieting achieves the exact opposite of the very thing many people are trying to achieve.

5. Weight cycling, or yo-yoing, causes more damage to the body than maintaining a heavier weight.

Given most people who lose weight, regain the weight, most people diet more than once and get caught in the trap of weight cycling. Weight cycling causes inflammation in the body and increases risk factors for obesity related disease regardless of a person’s weight. Weight cycling also damages a person’s psychology as mentioned in point 4. If you have dieted, or are dieting, you will be familiar with the complete sense of failure every time you “fall off the wagon” or regain weight. This sense of failure leads to food binges and chips away at your self esteem and body image.

6. Diets fail people, people do not fail diets.

As you restrict calories and lose weight, there are neurological, biological and metabolic changes which occur that make it almost impossible to maintain the diet and a significant amount of weight loss. Restricting food makes you think constantly about food and eating, hormones increase your appetite and leave you less satiated after a meal and your metabolism becomes more efficient so that your body requires less energy than it did before.

But there is good news!

You can start to feel better about yourself without dieting or losing weight. With a Non-Diet Approach, you can start to improve your relationship with food and your body and significantly improve your mental and physical health. While the focus is shifted away from weight loss, weight loss can occur as you stop worrying so much about food or your body. As you let go of restrictions around food and allow yourself to eat freely, you will find in time that you no longer want to, or need to, binge on your “forbidden” foods.

Enjoy all food and the pleasure of eating, love your body for what it can do rather than how it looks and change your life for the better!

All research for above facts can be found in these articles:

Zoe Nicholson – figureate Dietitian

The Moderation Movement's photo.

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