The Defense For “Junk” Food

Junk food, processed food, packaged food, or fast food has been universally acknowledged as “bad” or “unhealthy”. It’s not the same as eating whole foods in their raw, “clean”, unprocessed, natural, blah, blah, blah, blah, sorry was someone saying something?tired school GIF by Originals

The truth is these foods are the BEST foods you can be eating in recovery from an eating disorder.  THE BEST.  And there are a few reasons why:

  1. Biologically the more processed a food is, the easier it is to digest. Therefore our bodies are using less energy in digestion of these foods.  The less energy your body has to spend digesting, the more energy it can store or use for physical recovery.  This is why people who are letting their body recover by eating freely will often crave these foods heavily at the beginning of recovery. The body KNOWS that it will require less energy output to turn the food into something helpful and useful for your recovery effort.
  2. Fear foods. Anyone who has been in any sort of treatment of an eating disorder has a list of fear foods somewhere.  Everyone’s are different but most people’s consist of processed foods.  Fuck “nutrition” for a few minutes and think about what sounds healthier to you:

    A – A person who is deep in an anorexic mindset and so terrified of carbs and cheese that the thought of eating a bowl mac and cheese literally sends them into a panic attack so intense they not only continue to avoid the food but also continue to live in the isolation and despair of their disorder eating “healthy” foods like salad and other healthy crap.
    B – A person who is able to eat whatever they want and sometimes (though rarely if they have any taste) it’s a salad and sometimes it’s a big ass bowl of Mac and Cheese.  They’re just living their life free of any disorder or anxiety around specific food groups.

    Obviously option number two is healthier. However, if you are stuck as person number one the only way to get to number two is to allow yourself to eat the easy mac, or oreos, or cheese fries, or whatever food your craving body desires.  And it’s OKAY, in fact, for your purposes it is healthy. Health is subjective and means something different to everyone – and for a recovering body health is often found at the bottom of a bag of potato chips.

  3.  Finally, we need to talk about assigning morality to food. Food is food it is NOT “good” or “bad”. Some foods have more iron, or protein, or carbs, or vitamin A, or calories, or fat, or calcium, or whatever than others but in the end FOOD IN INHERENTLY NEUTRAL.  Eating disorders live for rules and labels, they thrive on the idea of “good” vs. “bad” foods. Therefore, trying to ‘eat clean,’ and avoid junk is only triggering for those attempting to recover.  The aim in life is to be flexible and view food as nothing more than something (hopefully delicious) that fuels you.

So basically, of you want to eat junk food and processed food than you can and should do it. Despite what you may hear, it’s good for you.


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Rachel, 25, Badass feminist, Kitchen mess maker, Spanish speaking television buff, Bikram yoga junkie, Buffy Summers wannabe, ED Recovery warrior.

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