Superfoods: More Perfection Myths

Lately I’ve been preoccupied with the idea of superfoods. You know– chia seeds, hemp protein, almonds, oats, turmeric, etc.

There’s a magical appeal about them. Not only do they promise impeccable health, but they advertise a notion of purity. If you eat these foods, you’ll be “clean” (and, it goes without saying, you’ll also lose weight.)

Sometimes I wonder whether dealing in superfoods is a way of skirting around full recovery. Maybe I can’t count and restrict calories, or eat only vegetables to lose weight, but I can eat from a category of food designated so superior that it’s been labeled “super.” The more time I spend planning meals around clean eating and thinking about how I can get as much almond milk into my diet as possible, the more I see myself getting caught in patterns that are present with my eating disorder.

A hugely important part of recovery, for me and for other people, has been recognizing that there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” food. All food is food, all food is viable and okay to eat. That’s the perspective that lots of ED dietitians take, and while difficult to master, it’s a concept that helps a lot of edfolks. So, in a way, my preoccupation with chia seeds is a distorted extension of that. Maybe I’ve learned that cake, crackers, and bread aren’t inherently bad, but it’s still troubling that I can easily buy into the idea of a “superfood.”

Striking a balance between simple healthy eating and avoidance of eating disorder behaviors is hard during recovery, and it’s something I’ve really struggled with. I need to refocus on the idea that all food is just… food. And there’s nothing magical about coconut oil.


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