What to Eat and What to Avoid

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Sitting down at my desk with a chocolate banana smoothie, I open my inbox. 98% of the time, I love reading my work emails. The other 2% of the time… I want to poke my eyeballs out. Today’s maddening email is a pitch to “write for us” at Recovery Warriors. Their suggested topic: What to Eat and What to Avoid Eating.

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As the Chief Editor of Recovery Warriors, I get a dozens of emails a day. One of my favorite parts of my job is connecting with warriors around the world who write for our online magazine. My soul lights up each time a warrior uses their voice to spread light into a world so often darkened by diet culture, fear, and fat phobia.

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably already spent more time on our website than the misguided person who emailed me this morning. Obviously we’re about supporting warriors; our mission is to serve those working to break free from food and body obsessions. So they can live fully. An article about “What to Eat and What to Avoid Eating,” is NOT in our wheelhouse. (Giant understatement).

But…. it got me thinking. I love when anger inspires an article deep within me. Before I knew it, I was writing. Why not take a stab at the article, but with a warrior slant.

What to Eat and What to Avoid Eating – Warrior Style

What to Eat:

Eat whatever your body wants.

Give your beautiful amazing powerful body the fuel she/he/they desire.

Eat three delicious satisfying meals every single day. Add in snacks. Honor your body by listening to her cravings. Fill her with a variety of tastes. Sweet. Salty. Crunchy. Savory. All. The. Foods.

Eat foods that bring you joy. That give your body energy and comfort. Fill your body up with foods you loved as a child. When your throat hurts, soothe it with hot chicken soup. If sweat is dripping off your body after a long day in the sun, drink a large refreshing glass of lemonade or enjoy an ice cold popsicle. Check in with your body and ask what sounds the best in this very moment. Give your body what he or she wants.

Craving a bowl of ice cream? Give your body ice cream. Enjoy every single refreshingly cold spoonful. Dreaming about a thick juicy steak? Dig in and allow yourself to savor every bite.

Eat what your body wants.

Listen to your body’s needs

As human beings we have needs, drives, and desires. Ever heard of Abraham Maslow? He was a psychologist famous for his theory on human needs. It’s called Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs and the gist of it is this: one level of needs must be met before we can go on to meet the next level of needs. He used a pyramid as a visual, placing the most basic needs at the bottom. This base includes our need for food, water, warmth and rest. Above this base comes safety, then love and belonging, and then esteem. At the very top is “Self-actualization” which refers to achieving our full potential. Again, before we can move up from focusing on one level to the next, we must meet the needs of that level. And the very first need is for food, water, warmth, and rest.

This is significant. It seems so obvious.

One of our most basics need, in order to stay alive, is to be fed.

Our bodies are biologically programmed to seek food, water, warmth, and sleep. To keep us alive. So the answer to the question of “What to eat” is really pretty simple. Eat what your body wants.

What to Avoid

Avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, “wrong” or “right” “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Food is just food. One food is not morally better than another food.

Avoid attaching your worth to your plate. You’re a valuable lovable worthy person if you eat salad. You are STILL a valuable lovable worthy person if you eat a candy bar. Or even if you eat both. You get where I’m going with this, right?

What you eat does not say anything about your worth as a person.

Avoid caring what other people think about your food or your body. Connect with your true wise inner self. Get to know her or him. Understand your passions, drives, and values. Live according to what matters most to you. Not what is on your plate.

Avoid basing your worth on the opinions of others. What other people think about you says nothing about you and everything about them.

Avoid comparison. Stop comparing what’s on your plate to the person’s plate sitting across from you.

Avoid comparing your body size, shape, or appearance to your friends. And to the filtered, photo-shopped, curated images that fill your news feed. While you’re at it, avoid comparing your body today to what your body looked like a week ago. A month ago. Or five years ago.

Avoid fat shaming.

You know better! Don’t fall for the lies of diet culture. Avoid equating anyone’s worth to their body size or their food. Including you own.

Avoid focusing on the number of calories in a food, your pants size, the number on a scale, or any other number that does not matter in the grand scheme of who you are as a person. Avoid getting sucked into the lie that these numbers define you, keep you safe, or measure your value as a human being.

And in general, avoid reading articles that start with “What to eat and what to avoid,” unless of course, they’re written with a warrior twist.

So there you have it. What to eat and what to avoid- Warrior Style.

I’d love to know what you think in the comments below. Do you have any to add?

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6 Comments

  1. says: Annonomous

    We need a lot more articles like this! In a world where we are told constantly to label foods, watch what you eat and are barraged with “diet culture”, this is soo refreshing and needed, especially in recovery

    Thank you for this. I’m new in recovery and want to eat what I really want but can’t stop looking at labels and the negative stero type around certain foods.

    I hope I find the strength to break the habit

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your comment. I’m so glad that this piece spoke to you. Congratulations on starting recovery. Remember that every single time you eat a food without looking at the label, or stand up to the stereo types of a certain food, your recovery gets stronger. You can do it- one step at a time! 💖

  2. says: Annonomous

    Thank you. Its soo hard to train your mind not to look at the calories section of food when it’s plastered all over the packaging! Hopefully with time and effort I can overcome this and finally have something I have been craving for 7 years. A slice of cheesecake 🙂

  3. says: Janette Ace

    I literally love you.
    I do now eat all the food, but not without guilt at times and certainly not without comparing my body with others, or how I used to look.
    Recovery is an uphill climb…

    1. 💖💖 Thank you for reading Janette and for your comment! That is wonderful you are now allowing yourself to eat all the food. Awesome job! You’re SO right- recovery often feels like an uphill climb. But the good news is – it is SO worth the work. Keep going and remember you can overcome the feelings of guilt and the comparing the same way you overcame restricting foods. Your body needs and deserves all the food, and it sounds like letting go of the guilt and comparison may be your next step to work on. Sending you lots of warrior love. 💪❤️❤️

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