So the first reason why I don’t use the term ‘guilt-free’ and why I believe that no body should is…
#1 The term ‘Guilt-Free’ has no legal definition and can be used to describe basically anything.
When browsing products or recipes, you see words like this all the time… ‘Guilt Free’ ‘Healthy’ ‘Fresh’ ‘Farm Fresh’ ‘Free from Nasties’ etc, but what do these terms really mean?
Firstly, words that are used to describe products such as ‘Fat Free’ ‘Healthy’ ‘Heart Healthy’ are regulated and do have to adhere to a set of rules before being used to describe a product. They aren’t regulated when describing a recipe. One of the terms that aren’t regulated for recipes or for products is the terminology ‘guilt-free’, so what is the meaning of guilt-free?
There is no legal definition for a ‘guilt-free’ food. However, the public has an understanding that guilt free products are generally low in fat, without added sugars and made with healthier ingredients than the ‘traditional recipe’.
I have noticed that foods/recipes are being labelled ‘guilt free’ and not even adhering to the generalised understanding of the term, as they are adding sugar to the product/recipe such as maple syrup/honey which is still adding added sugars.
The second reason why I don’t use the term ‘guilt-free’ and why I believe that no body should is…
#2 The term ‘Guilt-Free’ implies that by consuming the traditional ‘non-guilt-free’ version, you should feel guilty about eating it.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where body shaming, fat shaming and food shaming surrounds us. I don’t believe that we have to food shame to promote health. I personally believe that the healthiest diet is a balanced diet without restrictions on calories and ‘treat foods’. Of course I believe a vegan diet consisting of mostly whole foods is the healthiest but it doesn’t mean I encourage cutting out processed foods altogether and banning yourself from having a treat on occasion! One treat isn’t going to make your body unhealthy and one treat isn’t going to make you gain weight, just eat healthy and treat yourself on occasion.
You should never feel guilty about consuming anything. If you eat really healthy for a week and then have one day where you eat higher fat and a higher amount of calories, ITS OKAY. You can go back to eating healthy tomorrow, don’t feel guilty about choices you make about food. Food is what fuels us and is not something to be afraid or guilty of, ever.
I believe that using the term ‘guilt-free’ implies that by consuming the traditional version of the food such as a cupcake vs a guilt-free cupcake, implies that you should feel bad about choosing the traditional version. Making someone feel bad about what they’re eating is encouraging negative and damaging eating habits which could lead to having an unhealthy relationship with food or even an eating disorder.
My Message to you…
If you see someone on instagram or your favourite blogger or even a product manufacturer using labels such as ‘guilt free’, ask them exactly what ‘guilt free’ means and ask them why you should feel guilty about eating the traditional version of these products/recipes and see what they have to say.
Please remember, you should never feel guilty about eating.