It’s no mystery that I love beef. I mean, it is a component in the name of my blog. And you might even know of my love affair with coffee, but other than that I’m not sure we’ve ever discussed in detail my other beliefs about food.
But because I’ve been on the receiving end of some food shaming about my food choices, and witnessed the shaming of others based on their choices, I thought it might be worth sharing my food philosophy.
I live by the motto “everything in moderation… except coffee.” I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as “good” or “bad” food.
I eat intuitively, which means I listen to my body, feed my cravings, and stop eating when I’m full. And, I wholeheartedly believe that food (all food) is something to be enjoyed and not feared.
That’s it in a nutshell, but please keep reading for why I believe…
There is no such thing as “good” food or “bad” food.
There is only food.
Are some foods more nutrient dense than others? Well, sure. Beef happens to be one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. But this idea that if you didn’t make it in your own kitchen from unprocessed proteins and produce it’s somehow “processed garbage” is a dangerous form of food shaming that I cannot and will not buy into.
Food shaming is bad. And something I don’t tolerate.
Consuming a handful of Oreos, an Arby’s gyro with a side of curly fries, a Tombstone frozen pizza, or a Quarter Pounder with Cheese every once in a while won’t kill you, friend. In fact, I am of the belief that depriving myself of things like the occasional Dr. Pepper or bowl of Lay’s Kettle Cooked Jalapeno Chips dipped in sour cream does more harm than good. That’s right – more harm than good.
Yeah, those things are not the most nutrient dense foods. But they are tasty and I thoroughly enjoy, and sometimes crave, them. If I never allowed myself to eat the chips or drink the DP, I’d be miserable. Eventually, instead of eating a reasonable amount, I’d straight up binge on them. I’d be bloated, miserable, and wishing I’d stuck to my next belief…
Everything in moderation… except coffee.
Too much of any one thing (aside from Jesus) can be detrimental to our health, even my beloved coffee. On the flip side, too little of certain nutrients can also be detrimental to our health.
Balance is key.
In this day and age, fad diets abound. And quite frankly, those fad diets scare the hell outta me. They scare me because many of them call for cutting out entire food groups. And I like love things from all the food groups. Plus, cutting out food groups for the sake of weight loss, and not an allergy or intolerance, is not only miserable (because life’s too short for fake butter), but that behavior can also be unhealthy.
Each food group brings something to the table – nutrients all their own that help keep our bodies running smoothly. And while you may be able to replace those nutrients elsewhere, they often aren’t as well received or efficiently used by the body as they would be otherwise.
Food should be enjoyed, not feared.
I don’t know about you, but some of my best memories involve food – Christmas Eve Chili, birthday chicken (don’t ask; or do, it’s a funny story), and first date crab legs. Every time I eat these foods they take me back to their respective memories. And quite frankly they’re delicious, and who doesn’t love delicious?
The answer is no one.
We’re meant to enjoy the foods that we find delicious and not feel guilt or fear because we’ve treated ourselves to a bite. And yet, we often do. There’s just so much noise and straight up misinformation out there about food that it makes it hard not to feel those things.
But here’s what I know – the folks that grow food are real people.
They have hopes, dreams, feelings, and families that they are fueling with the same food they grow for all of us. Most importantly, no matter how they operate (i.e. conventionally, organically, or somewhere in between), they care. And they’re very passionate about producing safe, wholesome, and nutritious food.
I know, because I’m one of them.
However, I don’t fuel my family with the same beef we grow for others. We don’t actually fill our freezer with the beef we raise because it’s not what’s economical for us. Instead, I buy all of our beef from the grocery store or my favorite butcher. When I buy our beef, I don’t know its entire origin story. But I trust the product because I trust the process and the people who worked to get it from pasture to plate.
Locale is more important than local.
I don’t buy into the “eat local” movement. I mean, it’s a nice thought if you live somewhere like California where a very wide variety of foods is grown year round. But if I only ate local, my diet would be comprised only of beef, corn, soybeans, sugar (from sugar beets), and some potatoes. Don’t get me wrong -those are all great foods, but I like a little variety and more vitamin C in my diet.
We can grow other things here in Nebraska, but that doesn’t mean we should. Our growing season and soil isn’t equipped to produce the juiciest oranges, sweetest peaches, most flavorful pecans, or a lot of other things I really enjoy eating.
I’d much rather my food be grown where it thrives, travel to get to me, and taste better than to “eat local.”
If you don’t agree with me…
These are my food philosophies. If yours differ, that’s totally cool. I won’t ever shame you for your food choices or try to sway you to my way of thinking. But I will always be here if you have questions about food, specifically beef. And if I don’t know the answer, I will find it or put you in touch with the folks I turn to (see below).
Where I turn when I have food questions.
Cara Harbstreet, RD
Cara is a registered dietitian who helps people “rediscover joy in eating deeply nourishing meals without restriction or fear.” And I love her. Not only do many of her food philosophies align with mine, but she’s got the RD to back it up.
You can find Cara at Street Smart Nutrition.
Michaela is an Ultrasound Tech/farm wife/mom by day and a group fitness instructor by night. She’s also one of the most passionate people I know when it comes to nutrition and health and wellness. She’s very well-read on the subject and in a few short months she will be working to earn her certification in Fitness and Nutrition.
You can find Michaela at Cowgirl Boots and Running Shoes.
Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner
Your mind likely doesn’t go to nutrition information when you think Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. You probably think Rodeo with Sam Elliot’s voiceover. Or maybe your mind goes to the delish beefy recipes. But, there’s also a lot of great nutrition information on the website and they also have registered dietitians on staff. So there is that.
Moral of the story.
Eat what you love. Enjoy every bite. And for the love of Pete, don’t shame others for their food choices.
Pin for later.