I take the general point of your post... and perhaps it is that way for some folks. I just want to offer another "interpretion" to what can be meant when we use the words "good" and "bad" in the context of food.
Originally Posted by Mari
I do not understand why we ascribe morality to food or to our behavior.
Do we really do that, though? The words good
sure do pack a punch. They can easily sound like moral judgements but it is not always
We are not better people because we ate this or did not eat that. I am not racking up points toward an "A" by doing certain things correctly.Food is not bad. Food is not good either. We can free ourselves from moral judgements here.
Well, a Hindu who eats beef might call that "bad" behavior in a moral (religious) sense, because cows are considered sacred. By contrast, if I on the other hand eat a Twinkie, I might say I might say I was bad, and I might call the Twinkie bad (even if it was "goooood"
). Here, I am only asserting that I feel I would have been better off had I not eaten it. I am expressing a judgement as to how unhealthy I consider that food to be, and by extension, that eating such a food is unhealthy behavior, by my personal nutritional standards
. It is not a moral judgement. It does not imply that I consider Twinkies or their eaters immoral.
I had a colleague who got migraine headaches from monosodium glutamate. We had a running joke because, at a restaurant we frequented regularly, he would always ask them not to add any MSG to his dish and they would say, "OK, NOOO MSG....... (pause)... jus' a li'l bit
." Just a little bit
was enough to put him KO for the day! He considered any food with MSG bad. It caused him harm. He did not mean it was immoral.
One more thing. Suppose I go on a diet to achieve some personal goal - e.g. lose weight. I choose and commit to
a precise diet plan which includes certain foods, and excludes others. The excluded foods are not limited to what we typically consider junk foods - they include some wholesome foods too. Now, when I eat one of the excluded foods, I might say I ate a "bad" food. By that I don't mean the food is evil incarnate, I am just referring to the fact that it was not on my plan. I might very well say I have been bad, and I might even feel guilty (typical with immoral acts!), disappointed etc. However the assertion of being "bad" in effect refers to the fact that I broke my commitment
to myself - I didn't live up to a behavioral standard I set for myself. Even if it were an unreasonable standard, when one breaks a commitment, feeling "bad" is natural. It does not imply that one feels immoral, although it may be so in some cases here. There is certainly a feeling of having let oneself down, of being disappointed in one's ability to stick to something. Even when I hear someone say, "I am a bad person" in these contexts, while I would object to such phrasing, I would interpret it to mean they feel disappointed in their ability to stick to their plan AND may well have extended the disappointment to the idea that they are incapable of sticking to anything. One would then have to question the person to understand if they have extended the self-judgement to a moral level. Some do. Some don't.
I'll just add that the latter thought process is one reason I dislike rigorous diets - because it is pretty darn easy to lapse from meeting the standard every now and then and, especially if now and then happens a few times over, the feelings can be terribly destructive and i believe these diets can do psychological harm, besides being ineffective if a person rebounds from them. But that is again my own judgement (and not a moral one
~ waves ~