Food Freedom is a term that restrictive diets like Whole30 try to hijack. But food freedom really only applies to intuitive eating.
People who honor their God-given intuition—and wholly trust their natural cues to properly nourish their body—have food freedom. But if you’re on a diet, you’re restricted to the foods that are only allowed on that program. Or you’re limited to staying within a specific amount of calories, macro grams or Points. That is not food freedom.
Intuitive eating is food freedom. They are synonyms and can be used interchangeably. All foods fit and nothing is off-limits. As an intuitive eater, you have full freedom to each any food you want, when you want and how much you want.
How Diet Culture Hijacked Food Freedom
If diet culture didn’t exist, intuitive eating would just be called eating. But because we’ve allowed marketing, food tracking apps, fad diets/lifestyle programs, and half-baked science to tell us how and when to eat, we’ve lost touch with our own bodies.
The $72B diet industry is the reason we have food guilt and food restriction. It’s why we label food as “good” or “bad” and deny ourselves the foods we really want.
Nutrition is important. As a Nutritionist, I know this. I support it. However, diet culture hijacked the terms “nutrition,” “healthy,” and “food freedom.” And twisted them into a self-shaming bundle of insecurities so they can sell us a “solution” to our food and body issues. On a diet/lifestyle program, each food is looked at as something that will cause you to either lose weight or gain weight. Nutritional guidelines get put on a pedestal and sold as absolute laws that must be followed in order to be healthy/thin.
The truth is, nutrition is supposed to be science-backed information for what might help your body feel better. A free recommendation of balanced foods to help your organs function best so you can live an active life. A sharing of nourishment for your consideration. An understanding that vitamins and minerals help us.
But what feels best in YOUR body, might not feel best in mine.
Diet culture doesn’t see it this way though. Because if they did, they wouldn’t make money off you. To keep their lifestyle program enticing, they need cut-and-dry rules for you to follow. So you can feel like you’re part of something. So that you’ll stay a repeat customer.
The outcome of diet culture’s eat-this-not-that approach? A bad relationship with food. Psychologically-damaging thoughts about self. Constant war between mind and body. The exact opposite of food freedom.
Intuitive Eating is a Framework for Healing Your Relationship with Food
In its most simplistic definition, intuitive eating is restoring us to factory settings. The way God intended us to be.
Our bodies are incredible! If we listen, our bodies will tell us exactly when we’re hungry; when we’re full; when we’re satisfied; and even what nutrients we need to thrive.
Food Freedom has to mean you truly have freedom in your food choices. No guilt. No debate on what’s “healthier.” No outside influence from diet culture. No rules. No limitations. No “if” statements to limit the when, what or how much. Just pure freedom.
Do you have food freedom? Or do you have diet culture’s hijacked version of it?