Our Food Choices and Morality
November 13, 2019 | By Corin Luckhardt
What is food morality? We all know what food is because we have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We use food to provide us energy and promote our overall health. Morality is the distinction between good and bad behavior. We implement our own personal morals in our intensions, decisions, and actions. Unintentionally, we even find ways to implement our morals with what we eat. We use labels “good” and “bad,” as they relate to food, meaning more than “healthy” or “unhealthy". These labels can be taken out of context, which may lead to food shaming. In other words this is also known as food morality.
“When we eat foods that are considered to be 'bad', we are breaking a moral code”(Udall-Weiner, 2018).
“Morality is an issue of growing importance in regards to our relationship and consumption of food. Within the mass media of Western societies, traditional ways of cooking and eating have been opposed" (Halkier, 2010). We trust our societies and medias propagandas that creates our own food morals. We have been taught to praise the “good” food being “healthy, clean, natural”, and oppose the “bad” foods represented as “GMO or non-organic”. "The morals between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ play a crucial role, as some foods are constructed as ‘ethical’ or as ‘better’ than other foods” (Jonas, Grauel 2019). We have been influenced from diet industries that by eliminating one or more of a certain food group will help us reach our goals. Therefore classify us as feeling accomplished. In order to prevent us from feeling guilty we avoid all these “bad” foods. When we demonize foods in categories of “bad” and “good” this mindset will drive us to identify us as a good or bad individual. Viewing food morality in this way can negatively impact the relationship we build with food and how we view our own bodies. In order to obtain all our nutrients we need a variety from every food group.
More commonly food morality is being seen in adolescents; a study was done that, “shows how adolescents view healthy eating as a moral, affluent practice and discussions of healthy eating to assert their own morality and socioeconomic position. Adolescents associate healthy eating with 1) financial privilege and 2) moral superiority”( Priya, 2018 ). Seeing this behavior in young adults shows how important it is to encourage to change this mindset. We need to educate ourselves and the young that consuming certain foods does not make us superior or inferior to one another.
We don't need to label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Obsessing over what we eat and judging others for what they decide to put in their bodies will build an un-healthy relationship with food. By categorizing foods with morals, it encourages disordered eating habits that can be carried throughout adulthood. This can lead to mental and physical health problems. Listening to our bodies hunger and fullness signals while allowing ourselves to eat from every food category creates a balanced relationship with our body and mind. It’s more important to listen to our body rather than social media influencers. We don't have to convince ourselves that carbs or meat will make us a “bad” person when eaten. We don't need to criticize others for their personal preference of food ( Sharp, 2019).
Overall, why is it important to be aware of food morality? We need to remind ourselves that we are not what we eat. We don't have to shame ourselves or others for their food choices. To help reduce the negative connotation we assort with foods here is a acronym we can remind ourselves before doing so!
B e mindful
A cknowledge that everyone has different food
L isten to your body
A ct instead of advise
N o “bad” or “good”
C are for yourself
E ncourage through action
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2. Fielding-Singh, P. (2018, October 26). You're worth what you eat: Adolescent beliefs about healthy eating, morality and socioeconomic status. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027795361830618X.
3. Grauel, J. (n.d.). Being authentic or being responsible? Food consumption, morality and the presentation of self - Jonas Grauel, 2016. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1469540514541880?casa_token=_e5HbQTmmLQAAAAA:NXOZCI0qxI1x_jbCZOhOfjrbNIdOIxag9t61geIjngRBmlZcATleNprg0A0wfe8aRW7BmouGmDYboQ.
4. Retrieved from https://getstencil.com/app/saved.
5. Sharp, A. S. A. (2019, October 3). Mind Your Own Plate: Food Intolerance and Diet Shaming of Others Food Choices. Retrieved from https://www.abbeyskitchen.com/food-intolerance-shaming/.
6. Winderl, A. M. (2017, June 12). Why Having Bad Balance Is Something You Shouldn't Ignore. Retrieved from https://www.self.com/story/5-health-problems-that-can-cause-bad-balance.
7. Udall-Weiner, D. (2018, October 8). What We Eat: Morality and the Dinner Table. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-we-eat-morality-and-the-dinner-table/.
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