For so many people in our society, the word “nutrition” brings to mind restrictive dieting, cutting out food groups, and trying to lose weight. Too often, learning about nutrition means learning the idea that certain foods are “healthy” and others are “unhealthy,” with an emphasis on avoiding foods categorized as “unhealthy.”
This restrictive mindset can easily perpetuate disordered eating behaviors and thoughts. Equating nutrition with an inflexible diet moralizes food choices, introducing guilt into what we eat or do not eat. Making a food choice that is perceived as “unhealthy” becomes a moral failure. For persons with eating disorders, this unbalanced perception of nutrition can be extremely triggering.
March is National Nutrition Month which is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. To commemorate this month, we hope to impact change in the way society talks about nutrition.
Distorting the concept of nutrition into an unforgiving binary of “healthy and unhealthy” limits food options and can easily progress into disordered eating. To fully understand nutrition, we must understand that different foods have different kinds of nutrients, none of which are “good” or “bad,” but rather all foods provide nourishment to fuel the body.
One of the key steps of recovering from an eating disorder involves coming to understand nutrition and food choices as flexible, individualized, social, and enjoyable.
To celebrate and reflect upon National Nutrition Month, some members of our dietetic team share with us how they are changing the conversation around nutrition as employees of Veritas Collaborative:
“I get the privilege of helping my clients rediscover the joy of eating by understanding that our bodies are not judgmental towards food the way that our minds are, and that all foods fit in moderation regardless of body shape or size.
-Kristen Highland, RD, LDN Registered Dietitian
“Nutrition is too often misunderstood, misrepresented and inadvertently taken for granted. Our responsibility is to reteach and reintegrate the fundamentals of adequate nutrition, which is, above all, essential for human life.”
-Elysse Thebner Miller, MPH, RD, LDN Registered Dietitian
“I view nutrition as medicine. Nutrition provides our bodies with what we need to heal and restore our overall well-being — physically, mentally, and emotionally.”
-Sara Wilburn, MS, RD, LD Registered Dietitian