Health and Responsibility

For me, deciding on what food to eat is essentially a matter of deciding 2 things:

1. Is it healing?

2. Is it socially & environmentally responsible?

The answer to these questions can be challenging — how bad does it need to be for me to consider it harmful or reckless?  When is it merely questionable?   But generally I can chart both of these answers on this graph and when I begin wondering if something is too bad for me, others, or the environment, that signals I’m not comfortable with it.

Food Chart in which Health is the X axis and Responsibility is the Y axis

In a perfect world I would only eat food near the number 1: food that improves my health and the world around me.  But this isn’t a perfect world and I don’t eat in that part of the graph all the time.  I have a major sugar addiction, for one.  A limited budget.  A family history full of foods that trigger emotional responses, like nostalgia and pride.  I’m sometimes at the mercy of other people’s hospitality.  Right now I’m staying at my parents’ house and they don’t eat like me.  They also don’t have access to the same stores I have at home.  And food — especially organic produce — is limited in their town, in the winter.

So I’ve been wondering where my lines are, and which circumstances I am willing to eat in different parts of the graph.  I’m nearly always willing to eat foods that are harmful to me, but environmentally/socially responsible.  Vegan donut, made locally?  Ummm, yes please.

Where on the graph do I eat during holidays?  When someone else is preparing the food?  When I’m stressed (emotional eating)?  When I’m poorer than usual?   When I’m celebrating?  When something looks like it will taste really, really good?  When I’m already imposing on someone?  And why do I pick the circumstances I’m picking?  What does that say about me and my values?  My privileges?  My alliances?

In the coming days I’m planning to reflect on this more.  I’ll share what I come up with.  I would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts or stories in the meantime.