I’m so tired of all the food rules

Feb 12, 2016Family Uncaged

So I’m going to get all honest with you…I listened to a podcast today that basically said be sad the rest of your life.

Well, to be honest, what he said was never eat grains, not even corn or millet or that darling of the non-gluten crowd, quinoa. Of course no wheat, soy, joy, or love either. Sugar = evil and never. The man also said that maybe, just maybe, you could have a treat, but only once a month, and pretty much that had to be like things sweetened with dates.

This makes me overwhelmingly sad and irritated and low.

Promise me there’s balance in the Force, Obiwan. Promise me that we don’t become so food fixated that no one in the history of life can EVER SIT DOWN WITH FRIENDS and actually ENJOY food.

I consider myself a very healthy eater. I grow crops in my yard, eat whole food (mostly), don’t eat junk food, don’t have soda, etc. But these kinds of restrictions (except for my celiac and autoimmune and allergy friends) seem teetering close to food legalism.

Plus the fact that when you’re on a fixed income, you don’t have the luxury to eat this way. (So does that mean only rich people can have all the “good” food, and too bad for those who struggle financially. It’s mac and cheese for them.)

I don’t know. I just think it’s getting nutty. Yes, moderation. Yes we shouldn’t eat cocoa puffs for dinner. Yes the food conglomerations make our food weird with creepy chemicals. All true. But how about this? Why not be grateful for the food we have? Why not eat healthy, but leave room for periodic celebration? Why subject ourselves to orthorexic rules when God has given us good food to enjoy?

The question is: what does it mean to have freedom while you sit down and eat dinner tonight?


  1. Saedra Oldham

    Oh how I love this article! I feel like all the rules and social media together create this incredibly un-healthy obsession with what we eat, when we eat, and in turn, how we look. And I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else out there! I shudder to think of my daughters someday getting on pinterest to find a million ways to keep themselves skinny and obsess over what they eat. Thank you for sharing this!!!

    • Mary DeMuth

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Saedra!

  2. KFDP

    Imagine the freedom we are going to have as a society when we take back our food system from processed stuff and get back to more natural! It’s delicious, healthy, creative, and doesn’t take that much longer to make (sometimes). We’re going to be free of many of our own self-created illnesses also! Now…if I can just follow my own advice! But yes, dwelling on it to the extreme does no one any good. Thanks to things like pinterest, it’s getting easier to find already-created menus. It’s still up to each person to figure out what the right mix of things is, just for you, or me, or family.

  3. Janelle Keith

    After losing my weight of 132 lbs it’s a delicate balance to maintain this success. Food was created for enjoyment and to the nutrient of our bodies. Exercise has to play a part too. When there’s a tendency for gluttony well frankly I have to avoid it. I have to depend on my relationship with God over food rules. I’m not perfect and do allow occasional treats but have safe boundaries in place.

  4. Rea

    Freedom for me meant finally giving up on trying to control my family’s food preferences. I tried. Oh my goodness, I tried. And I about drove myself crazy in the trying. So they get the simple meals that they like: homemade pizza, spaghetti, tuna turnovers (think hot tuna sandwich in a biscuit…oddly that is one of their FAVORITE things). And then I sit down to happily eat my quinoa, sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, kale, or whatever vegetarian dish I’ve cooked for myself because I LIKE it.

    • Mary DeMuth

      Good point, Rea! Glad you found some equilibrium and freedom.

  5. DragonLady

    I can’t eat gluten, which made me so sad when I discovered that. After an adjustment period, I found that I really don’t miss it so much anymore because there are still so many options. I have to cook most things from scratch because I am also sensitive to high fructose corn syrup and a lot of artificial flavoring/coloring/preservatives. Unfortunately I hate cooking. Haha! But I like to eat, so there ya go. I have to make a concerted effort to eat in moderation because I comfort eat. I often say, “If one can be addicted to something, I have been.” Food is no exception. For me, it’s about my motives. Why am I eating that pint of chocolate peanut butter gelato? 8 days ago, when I had spent the afternoon in urgent care with my 17 year old as he got 6 stitches in his hand, my motive was stress/comfort. Not a good motive. (Still better than a pint of rum.) This past Monday when I replaced a broken faucet and fixed a leak under the sink (that had been leaking for a WHILE), it was celebratory. Still excessive, but the motive was better. Or else I just rationalized and justified. 🙂

    All that said, for me, a “bad” food is one that I am “allergic” to, either from an actual allergy or auto-immune reaction. Beyond that, it’s a matter of my behavior with regards to food, in which case the food isn’t the issue, it’s the value I am attaching to the food such as comfort/stress eating.

  6. Sonja

    There is no “bad” food.
    Everything in moderation. As a parent of a recovered eating disorder child, it is something hard to hear in our culture. So much good food,bad foods, cleansing programs and restrictive talk that we miss the point. Our family will never feel the same about what food means. Sorry.

    • Mary DeMuth

      Don’t be sorry. You make a great point.

  7. Liza

    I hear you! The other day, I was talking with my neighbors about food and diets and restrictions. One neighbor is doing the Whole 30, another is on some diet that has certain restrictions. We talked a lot about grains and sugars and allergies (both my youngest son and I have multiple food allergies). I taught them what I know (which is quite a lot) but I walked away from it feeling overwhelmed and thinking “what’s wrong with eating simple?”.

    We eat a protein, a starch, and a veggie for dinner. Similar for lunch, except usually with fruits. We do eat sugar- and starch-laden breakfasts (the only meal I have problems finding healthy things that everyone loves that the kids can fix themselves). Even with the restrictions we have, I don’t stress over our food because I keep it simple. We get the nutrients we need because we keep it mostly balanced. And by doing that most of the time, we don’t worry about going out for dinner on the weekends or celebrating moments (large or small).

    The main takeaway I’ve learned from having a restricted diet is that when you focus on what you CAN eat rather than what you CAN’T, food becomes a non-issue and therefore, enjoyable.

    • Mary DeMuth

      I really love that point about rejoicing in what you can eat. Brilliant.