Print Helen Owen RD, LMNT

You are my best friend and worst enemy; my first desire and last sensual pleasure; you help me celebrate, mourn, christen, marry, applaud myself and others; reward good behavior and bring major guilt for indiscretions. You can comfort me, help define my identity and culture, and are always there to accept me and offer me pleasure.

We human beings, however, are a magnificent synthesis of mind, body and spirit. Food not only feeds our body and emotions but is also a powerful, cheap and pleasurable tool in achieving and maintaining good health.

Food ultimately is only a four-letter word; a tool; a helper and requirement for life, but is neither good nor bad; angelic or evil. It is a cheap, easy, pleasurable aid in achieving an appropriate weight or helping control a medical challenge while teaching moderation and balance.

We all abuse food in giving it a moral connotation – artichokes are no more intrinsically “good” than an “evil” Snickers bar. My job as dietitian has frequently been in absolving and not so much in instructing. My most treasured skill being the ability to help people allow themselves the freedom to use food as a tool and not a weapon of self abuse.

Food can be the ultimate “box” and learning to act beyond our pre-conceived notions, feelings and beliefs about food can be a huge challenge. Allow yourself to “de-mystify” food and absolve yourself of indiscretions and past “sinful” indulgences. Give yourself the freedom to use food for its designed purpose – a great teacher, joy, and pleasure. Give it an objective view and give up believing in “good” and “bad” foods.

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