Food Shaming: Don’t Yuck my Yum!

Food Shaming


{No Food shaming Zone }

We hear a lot these days about body shaming, which fuels the desperate quest for the so-called ideal body by means of food restriction, excessive exercise and medication. These heroic efforts generally lead to short-term success, but ultimately to failure and angst. This is a shame in and of itself!


What I want to discuss today, though, is food shaming. Yes, food shaming. If you look around, this kind of shaming happens all the time, and helps promulgate the “good food /bad food” phenomenon that we see everywhere. This can create deep anxiety about one’s food choices, and for some, ultimately can lead to fear of food and consequent eating disorders.


Case in point: In the 2008 election, there were headline news articles published essentially shaming Barak Obama for liking arugula! Arugula? Poor arugula cowering in the corner, hiding behind the kale and mustard greens – forever doomed as an “elitist food”.   So, if I like arugula, does that mean I’m elitist and that I don’t understand the trials and tribulations of the average middle class American? Doubtful, but this is the zeitgeist of food today along with the moralizing using food choices to describe character (I’m good if I eat broccoli, bad if I eat Doritos).


Do you think the lion bullies in the jungle are off to the side chuckling and making fun of the tiger that opted for antelope that day instead of water buffalo?   And by the way, didn’t you know “Real men don’t eat quiche!”?


This food shaming truly has to stop. As a vegetarian for almost 30 years, I’ve been the butt of relentless jokes regarding my food choices. Tofu? Ewww! Why would anyone eat tofu? My dear grandmother, may she rest in peace, used to stare me down, just daring me with her eyes to not eat her sweet and sour meatballs and was mortally offended when I opted for the only vegetarian choice she made available – bread.


We see this regarding other cultures as well. In fact, there is an entire show on the food network devoted to ‘Bizzare Foods” hosted by Andrew Zimmern, who is both revered and mocked for eating such “strange” foods from other countries as goat testicles, whale blubber and chocolate covered crickets.


It’s been said that one man’s poison is another man’s cure. Do we really have to live in a culture where men who don’t eat steak and potatoes are regarded as less masculine? And where women who don’t pick at food but savor and enjoy full portions of food are less “dainty” or sexy than those who eat lettuce and sip on Diet Coke, all the while fantasizing and plotting an explosive binge when home alone?


I think not. I think we need to just lay off everyone else’s food choices and simply focus on whatever nourishes and delights our own bodies and us the most. We are all different, with different nutritional needs and biochemistry. We have the beautiful ability as human beings to have diversity – in our bodies, in our minds and yes, in our taste buds.   We also have freedom of choices.


I’ll make a deal with you. Don’t tease me for being a tofu-loving vegetarian and I’ll lay off the fact that you just downed 150 toxic and destructive chemicals in that Cheetos and Diet Coke lunch you just ate.


Are we on?





One thought on “Food Shaming: Don’t Yuck my Yum!

  1. Love this! Food can really be so different for everyone. This is such an important reminder and I feel like the less we judge food and others, the more we are able to nourish ourselves 🙂

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