judge not

judge not // www.heynutritionlady.comHere’s a scene that plays out in my life fairly frequently: someone leans in to me over their kale salad / green smoothie / cold-pressed juice and tells me in wide-eyed whispers about the crap they saw so-and-so eating the other day.

Or, a friend relays a story about having seen a colleague in their lunch room eating a salad but dousing it with creamy dressing, which is sad really because it’s like they were trying to be healthy but they just don’t get it.

Or, a colleague holds up an orange from the office fruit bowl and says to me, “this is not good to eat!” Why? I ask, feeling bewildered and wondering if there was some recently released study I haven’t yet come across. “Because,” they tell me, “it’s not organic.”

Friends, let me tell you something important. You are not, in fact, what you eat.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me a green smoothie, but drinking a green smoothie does not a better person make. I shop organic as often as I can, but I’m acutely aware that the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber in that non-organic orange are far and away better than having no orange at all. Or worse, replacing the orange with some factory formed snack just because it happens to be organic.

And, what if that creamy dressing was that person’s one indulgence for the day? What if that person is trying to get more greens into their life and that creamy dressing is helping them make the transition? What if they just got back from a funeral / doctor’s appointment / divorce court and that creamy dressing is the thing that’s getting them through the day? You know, some days just call for a creamy dressing (or whatever).

Friends, judge not.

The prevalence of health shaming, in its many forms, is a real problem. How have we reached a point where we’re not good enough? We’re not gluten-free enough, not raw enough, not level-5 vegan (nothing with a shadow!) enough, not Bulletproof (WTF?!) enough. And should I offer someone a plate of home baked cookies? Oh the horror! I’m not refined sugar free enough.

I’ve spent a decade of my life in the pursuit of higher nutritional knowledge, and the deeper I go the more I learn how different we all are. ‘Health’ doesn’t have an easy definition, nor does it have one that can be stamped out with a cookie cutter.

My version of healthy doesn’t involve creamy salad dressings mostly because I plain old don’t like salad dressing. My version of healthy does involve cookies, even if the sugar and flour is refined and especially if they’re home made because I believe in moderation and balance. And my version of healthy certainly does involve non-organic produce because I plain old can’t afford to buy everything organic but I like to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Of course health has some basic guidelines, many of which include eating more vegetables, and if drinking a green smoothie helps you get there, then power to you. If it’s the creamy dressing* that does the trick, that’s ok as well.

We’ve talked before about how self-defeating food guilt can be, so now let’s do our part to end health shaming. Let’s be gentle with one another, because it’s tough out there and we’re all just doing our best.

*A million years ago when I did Weight Watchers I learned a trick with salad dressing that I still use. Keep the dressing on the side and before each bite of salad dip the tines of your fork into the dressing. You’ll be surprised at how little you use, and how much dressing flavour you get.


  1. Emma says

    Great post Katie! Balance is key, and it is good to be reminded of that from time to time. It is also a good reminder for me not to judge others choices in the food that they eat. I am definitely prone to that!

    • Katie Trant says

      Life is all about balance, isn’t it? Balance, and being kind to one another. Of course we all judge from time to time – it’s part of being human – but it’s good to remind ourselves to take it easy on one another.

  2. Kathryn says

    Hear, hear! I absolutely agree with everything that you say in this post and the flip side of this is definitely the food guilt/shaming. So often people post a recipe or a picture of something delicious but indulgent and feel like they have to almost apologise for eating something other than an avocado or a kale salad. It’s crazy.

    • Katie Trant says

      Right? And it’s crazy how often I’ll make a cake or some cookies and people will say something like, oh this must be a healthy cake since YOU made it. No! I don’t mess around with cake! And I certainly don’t need to be judged for enjoying it.

  3. Linda @ Veganosity says

    LOVE this Katie!! You’re right, we don’t know what others are going through, and we shouldn’t project our issues or beliefs on others. It would be a better world if we would all just except each other for who we are on the inside.

    • Katie Trant says

      Thanks Linda! You’re definitely right, we shouldn’t be pushing our beliefs or issues on others. Most people have a pretty good idea of what’s right for them, and even if that doesn’t feel right for you personally doesn’t mean it isn’t healthy or good.

  4. Cordee says

    I couldn’t agree more with your posting! Comments and judgmental people like that take the fun out of eating. And no matter how healthy or what no you are trying to be, if eating or food isn’t fun anymore, why bother at all. Thanks for this!

  5. Barbara says

    Hello Katie, I enjoyed reading your post. There are those who are so rigid in their stance on health or style of eating that it discourages those who really need to change from attempting anything. Thank you for helping to raise awareness about the need to stop health shaming.!

    • Katie Trant says

      I totally agree. We need to be flexible with our definition of health. If we’re too rigid it intimidates people from trying to make a change – like that creamy salad dressing might be the beginning of getting more greens into one’s diet. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Rebecca @ it's a nourishing thing says

    Great Post Katie!! I hate how health-shaming has become so prevalent, you really can find it everywhere and it’s so sad. Thanks for the reminder that we all need to cut each other (and ourselves) some slack!!

  7. Anne T. says

    I tend to find myself thinking judgmentally about others when I’m in periods of “healthy” eating, because it makes me feel virtuous and strong. Your post reminds me that I need to work on that!

    I’ve found that whenever I judge someone else, it’s often because part of me secretly envies them. If I see a co-worker happily eating pepperoni pizza, for instance, I probably envy her for being self-confident enough to indulge her love of pizza without beating herself up for it.

    Thank you, Katie — great post.

    ~ Anne

    • Katie Trant says

      Thanks Anne! That’s a great reflection on why you might judge sometimes – that it actually comes from a place of envy! I think if we can be mindful about why we might be judging someone, it can help us put things into perspective and drop the judgement. Great comment!

  8. Kimberly says

    Thanks for the reminder that we truly do not know what another person is experiencing/going through/dealing with. Judging others is wasted energy, and a lost opportunity to connect with others around us in the moment. I love the way you put it, “Let’s be gentle with one another, because it’s tough out there and we’re all just doing our best.” Amen!

  9. Ceri@naturalkitchenadventures says

    Brilliant post Katie, I hope it makes the judgers out there think twice! My pet hate is when I suddenly decide to have an unhealthy moment – I get judged on that with a huge raised eyebrow. I’m not being hypocritical, am being balanced!

    • Katie Trant says

      Exactly! Balance is everything! And there are so many different definitions of ‘healthy’ out there, we all need to do what works for us personally and understand that other people do things differently.


  1. […] Judge not via The Muffin Myth –> Great reminder to watch the judgement and health-shaming when it comes to other people’s food. […]

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