Emotional Eating, Food Labels, and Judgments – Oh, My!


“Lose the labels. Lose the percentages. Who are you competing with? Seriously. Set your own bar. Neither a label nor a percentage ever made anyone healthy.”Earth Mother

Wise words, Earth Mother, wise words…

eating labels, vegan, vegetarian, high raw, raw foodist, purist, eating disorder, stress, health, happiness


Labels Schmabels

Why do we feel the need to label ourselves? Even the process of overeating is labeled as “emotional eating.” So, on top of all the other labels life sends our way, we’re now “emotional eaters” as well – me included.

*insert deep sigh*

For the past few years (as I’ve mentioned numerous times before, all across the Web, and on this blog), I’ve eaten at least 75% raw. I didn’t think about labeling myself at that time (although I did eventually start calling myself a vegetarian). I was just  trying to improve my health and just considered it as eating more whole foods so I’d have a healthier diet/lifestyle, overall.

I didn’t have a blog at that time so I wasn’t as aware of all the various labels raw foodies (and people in general) put on themselves, and others.

I didn’t consider myself “not a raw purist” – I was just a gal who was eating high raw (sometimes 100% raw for months at a time) with an ultimate goal of losing weight, improving my health and  lifestyle habits, and basically finding a way that resulted in eating to live. – I just wanted to live and be healthier and happier.

And I was!

When I felt my best…

I was eating the following:

  • a lot of raw veggies
  • minimum fruit (mostly berries)
  • some nuts
  • some seeds
  • salads topped with fish
  • eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • a little honey

Yeah, fish and eggs. I was looking and feeling sooooooooo much better when I (without guilt) included these foods in my diet.

So, what changed?

First, I labeled myself “low carb” and then I was “vegetarian” and then “mostly vegan” and then “high raw” and then “raw foodist” and then “vegan” and somewhere in the midst of all the transition, I lost the part of myself where I was eating better, feeling better, looking better, and was actually happy.


How’d that happen, eh?

I’m not sure how I lost my (true) happiness along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not seriously depressed or anything – I’ve just noticed a difference in how I view food and how I feel when I eat it. If I’m starving for an omelet, I usually feel guilty if I decide to eat it.

In the past, that guilt wasn’t there. Yes, I’d feel guilty about eating cake or something because I was so overweight, but I didn’t feel guilty about eating an egg or a little honey – so, imagine how crazy it is to feel guilty over eating an egg or a small portion of salmon now that I’ve lost 100+ pounds! Gasp!


What’s a gal to do? Hmmm….

Positive Solution

I’ve decided that even though I do live mostly a vegan/vegetarian-ish lifestyle (and have for several years), I’m going to do my very best to remove myself from the labels I’ve limited myself to.

Does this mean I’m going to run out and eat meat? No. It just means that I want to simplify my life. I want to enjoy the food I eat – even if it happens to include an omelet (made from farm fresh, organic-omega eggs) or a little honey drizzled over a treat, or some fish on top of my ginormous, raw salad.

It means that by removing the labels I’ve placed on my life, I’ll be stepping into a confident, beautiful, peaceful existence.

Aaaaahhhh, now that sounds awesome! 😀

What will I be eating?

  • whole foods
  • raw foods
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • fruit
  • veggies
  • grains
  • Greek yogurt
  • and sometimes this will include eggs, maybe fish (???) and honey

I may even throw an occasional splurge in there for good measure. 😉

Seriously, raw foods have been such a huge part of my healing journey and weight loss – I’ll never give ‘em up!

There is one label I don’t mind: Healthatarian


A while back, I was chatting with my friend, Beth, about how I was getting stressed from labeling my eating habits. So, she said something like:

Michele, just quit calling yourself a vegan or vegetarian and consider yourself a “healthatarian” – genius, that girl is!

(Thanks, Beth!) 😀

By trying to adhere to a “healthy” lifestyle, we’re merely choosing to strive to do our best. That takes a lot of the pressure off. If you miss a day of exercise or enjoy that cupcake at the office, it isn’t the end of the world. We aren’t perfect – none of us. We all have something we don’t want to give up. We all dream of chocolate or caramel or whatever. We’re human.

And I’d never tried to deceive anyone…

So, you can guarantee that I’m not in the deceiving business and I’ll always be upfront.

It is – and always has been – my desire to share my heart with you.

And I want you to know I’m not perfect, and that we’re on this health journey together. I may slip up and call myself a raw foodie or high-raw vegetarian from time to time but I’m going to work on just living as a healthatarian.

So… here’s my advice for food choices:


“Make the best choice most of the time, the better choice as often as possible, and enjoy the splurges when they come.”Raw Juice Girl


I feel much better now that I’ve shared this with you. It’s over. It’s out. What a relief! 😀

And, I’m NOT saying that you’re a bad person or anything if YOU call yourself a vegan/vegetarian/whatever – I’m just sharing that it stresses ME out to limit myself with labels.

Your Turn

Do you worry about what people think of your food choices? Have you recently limited your eating habits by labeling yourself? Do you wish you could rewind and remove that label?

Do you consider yourself to be a hardcore vegan, vegetarian, or whatever else? Do you label yourself? Tall, skinny, short, fat, etc.? Do you even think about how often you label yourself? Do you feel like it’s a bad thing? Good thing? Does labeling yourself help you live a more peace-filled, harmonious lifestyle, or (like me), do you find yourself stressed over trying to live up to certain labels or expectations?

And would you be upset to see photos of salad, topped with fish or boiled eggs on this blog?

Let’s glean from each other. Do share!!

Contest Alert

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter contest – this stuff is delicious, no matter what your food choices are!

Note: I updated that contest post to include an amended rule (the one about tweets). Thanks for understanding!


Wordle (by me)

Quote (Earth Mother, In the Raw)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

29 comments on “Emotional Eating, Food Labels, and Judgments – Oh, My!

  1. Great post! People do get wrapped up in names. Focusing on what’s best for each person is the way to go. Healthatarians will take over the world! Bwahahahaha!

    • Thanks so much, Beth! Yes, it’s easy to get wrapped up in names – I did it myself! It is the best to focus on what each of us feel the best about. Here’s to healthatarians taking over the world!! 😉


  2. Michele, beautiful post. I totally concur.
    I am so sick of labels, i hate them. They work when i am in a large setting or to try to explain in 2 words to a stranger what my dietary choices are. But for people that know me, or when i look inside my own head, the labels dont help b/c there are always exceptions. And that’s why i hate that my blog is known as a high raw vegan blog…b/c i am not perfect, I am not perfect w/ the veganism thing nor do i care to be. but people call me out on the smallest trace dairy slip up and it’s very annoying to me. I dont care but they do. They care what i ate. Really? wow. But they seem to.

    I love the healthitarian term. Perfect :)

    I love all your contest entries, your candor and totally hitting the nail on the head in this post and all the commetns youve been leaving me the past week. It’s good to have you back; for as long as you can be. I love you sweetie!
    .-= Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)´s last blog ..Give Away: Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil!!!! =-.

    • Thanks, Averie!

      I know what you mean… I just kept labeling (and limiting) myself until I backed myself into a corner – and I’m not happy with it. So, I’m shaking off the labels and stepping into a fresh, new perspective on my eating habits! 😀

      Some people are stickler for certain labels and that’s okay if it works for them. No problem. But, like you, I think we should be considerate of one anothers’ choices and just be kind and not freak out of someone eats something we wouldn’t eat.

      Glad you’re loving the healthatarian term. Woohoo!!!

      (Hear that, Beth? Another healthatarian recruited!) 😉

      I’m glad to be back, Averie. Feeling my groove, I am!

      Big hugs,

  3. I don’t necessarily worry about what people think. I try to be low-key about ordering in a crowd, about eating with others, etc. It’s okay for them to eat what they like and for me to eat what I like. It boils down to that, doesn’t it?

    What I don’t like is evangelizing. Some of the followers in our meditation group (worldwide group) sat around one day going on and on about what they eat, won’t eat, can’t believe people eat, etc. It was one of the rare times I wasn’t too thrilled with my group, but it was a select few women who were trying to impress each other, or as I said at the time “out-veg each other.” :)

    The worst trouble I’ve gotten for my eating habits came from my brother, of all people. He could not let it go that I didn’t eat meat. I used my standard line for the hard-asses: “More for you, right?” and still he came at me. I finally said, “Why do you care?” Imagine my shock when he said, “Because it says you should eat meat in the Bible.”

    At that point I knew enough to shut up and talk to someone else.

    • Hi, Lori!

      I know… when I turn down meat, I get “looks” and “comments” too. It’s craziness. If I’m not ridiculing them about eating meat, why do they have to carry on and on and on if I choose NOT to eat it. I’ve so been there…

      And I’ve also heard what your brother told you. Actually, the Biblical diet is much healthier than the SAD so not sure how folks can use that as a reference, though. 😉

      Thanks for sharing!!

      Big hugs,

  4. Amen sister!!!
    I too have tried hard to avoid the label pitfalls of this whole blogging/eating/living thing. I have been working at cleaning up my diet in the past 6 months but instead of going about it by eliminating things from my diet I have instead been adding. By adding healthier foods that include more veggies, grains etc. I find that my desire for the less healthy foods are way less… some days it is easier than others but like you said, we are human. And I think your wrong about not being perfect. You are perfectly Michele and that’s what we love about you!

    Have a great day!!

    • Hey, Berni!

      Thanks for chiming in! Yes, it is definitely hard to avoid labels and I’m sure I’ll slip up and use them on myself but like Averie said, if we’re trying to explain our eating habits in just a couple of minutes in the shortest way possible, it’s absolutely a great idea to just say something like “I adhere to a high-raw vegan/vegetarian diet” or something similar just to sum it up and be able to move on – without a scene.

      Yep, we’re all human, even ME! Although I DO appreciate that you think I’m perfect – I’d be lying if I said I was. 😉

      Big hugs,

  5. Great post Michele! I hope we all can get to a place where we do shed those labels and not judge others because of this or that but are doing things because we know them to be right for ourselves and our bodies. Because our journeys to good health should be positive and not filled with guilt or fear. Thanks again for your post!
    .-= hihorosie´s last blog ..Yes, Please! =-.

  6. I’m going to do my very best to remove myself from the labels I’ve limited myself to. —> Exactly! When we label, we limit. We put ourselves into a box. And I don’t know about you, but I for one, have spent waaaaaaaay too much of my life inside “the box.”

    A raw living foods lifestyle is about LIVING. It’s about feeling vitally ALIVE. Hard to do when we’re trapped inside of a box, no? Where’s the room for growth, for exploration, in there?

    Fabulous post, Michele! Just tweeted the link. LOTS of folks need to read this!
    .-= Earth Mother – In The Raw´s last blog ..How To Enjoy A Purely Delicious Blizzard =-.

    • Thank you so much, Earth Mother!! Yes, I spent way too much of my life living in a box. Although my diet is pretty much fitting within a “high-raw vegan/vegetarian” lifestyle, there are times I want/choose to eat something outside that box (like organic Greek yogurt, etc.) and that brought on guilt.

      I’m SO glad I blogged about this, got it off my chest, and that y’all can relate to how I have been feeling!!

      And thank you for providing that most awesome quote – SO much wisdom lies there!!

      Also, thank you for tweeting and sharing!! 😀

      Big hugs,

  7. Thanks, Heidi!

    Yes, we do need to shed labels and judgments and just be kind to one another. We each have way more to offer than what our eating habits are. I mean, I know we write food blogs… but in general, like at get-togethers, etc., we don’t have to dwell on what the other person is eating/not eating or why.

    Absolutely, our health journeys should be positive and free of guilt and fear. Spot-on, you are!!

    Big hugs,

  8. Guilt is the wrong reason to not do something. Even though I don’t eat any animal products, I don’t do it for guilt reasons at all. My most recent blog post kind of addresses some of this. http://bittsblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/psychological-relationship-to-food.html

    I’ve gone back and forth between being 100% raw and high raw. I’m comfortable with where I am right now but it might change. It’s ok to change, we are human after all!

    Since you asked, I typically don’t visit non-vegan blogs that have food on them. I know other vegans feel the same way. It grosses me out. So I suppose I’d rather not see fish or eggs on here.
    .-= bitt´s last blog ..the psychological relationship to food =-.

    • Yes, it is the wrong reason. Let me go read your post and I’ll come back to finish my comment…

      Okay, I’m back. 😀

      That’s a beautiful post you wrote, Bitt! I left you a comment. 😉

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I do appreciate (and value!) your opinion and although I had already posted an egg or two and I think a salad topped with fish (once?) a while back, I’m not positive I’ll post eggs or fish on here in the future.

      And I may not even eat fish, I just wanted to remove the labels I had restricted myself by and just enjoy all my healthy eats, ya know? And the majority of everything I eat is raw anyway.

      Big hugs to you, Bitt! 😀


  9. I just can’t believe how perfect and timely this message is M! You hit the nail on the head and I really REALLY needed this. I wish I had loftier things to say …but I am exhausted and need to go to bed. I just needed to get over here while I can comment and say I love your post and THANK YOU for it’s great message. I have been struggling with this very concept for EVER.
    add me to your healthitarian list please!

    Much Love to you!
    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..Lookin’ for my New Groove =-.

    • Hi, Cindy!

      Wow, I’m so glad this resonated so deeply with you – woo hoo! 😀

      It’s amazing the limits and restrictions we can put on ourselves, without even realizing what we’re doing until we discover that we’re stressed, unhappy, and have somehow strayed a bit from the happy, healthy trail we originally set out on.

      Ultimately, it’s about being as healthy as we can be and making the best choices as often as possible and not stressing ourselves to the point of illness if we stray a bit.

      You are most welcome. Enjoy being a healthatarian – you are on the list!!! 😉

      Big hugs to you!

  10. You have this raw honesty that really shines through in your posts. It’s very refreshing and inspiring. I am new to your blog, but have seen your site scattered throughout the blog world. I’m so happy I finally stopped by to say hi! You are a breath of fresh air dear! I can’t wait to read more!
    —To answer your question, I totally feel like sometimes I am limiting my diet because of the fact that I went vegan 2 years ago. It was for health reasons, but a tiny bit of honey in a granola bar isn’t going to kill me. I do find my self saying “no” just because a certain food isn’t 100% vegan and that needs to end.
    xxoo Jenna
    .-= Jenna @ Healthy. Happy. Well.´s last blog ..Eat Carbs! Thinking is a Rigorous Exercise =-.

    • Hi, Jenna! Welcome to Healing with (Raw) Juices!! 😀

      Raw honesty… I like that description. I suppose it’s true! I’m not afraid to share my heart with the world. I’m glad that it shines through, and I’m so honored that I’m able to be a breath of fresh air to you, and others!

      Thanks for answering the question. I do understand why people are vegan and why they’re so passionate about it. I am NOT a promoter of animal cruelty either. And I don’t do well consuming meat or dairy that’s filled with hormones and antibiotics so I stay away from it.

      I don’t, however, think it’s such a bad thing if someone eats a farm fresh, organic-omega egg that either comes from their own farm (like me) or comes from a farm they have been to and they know that the chickens are well care for and loved. You know?

      I’m so glad you stopped by, and look forward to your future visits!

      Big hugs to you!

  11. Pingback: Zeenat’s Positive Provocations: Healing Your Heart, Holistically — Healing with (Raw) Juices By Michele L. Tune

  12. This was one of my fave posts ever! I’m trying to cut back on meat and eventually not eat it at all. But I don’t plan on giving up eggs (farm fresh from my mom’s friend) or yogurt. I’m uping my amount of raw but still eat beans & brown rice & rice pastas. I absolutely love the term healthiterian!

    My blog is about being green and sometimes even that label seems like too much. I make a lot of “green” choices but not all the time. I like to think of it more as living lighter then “being” something. I think you may have just inspired a post for me!

    Also, I ‘ve got an award for you for bringing a little sunshine into my life.

    .-= Julia @ Easy Eco To Go´s last blog ..Can You Guess? – Wordless Wednesday =-.

    • Hi, Julia!

      Awesomeness! Thank you so much!!

      I think it’s fantabulous that you’re trying to not only lessen your impact on this earth, but be kinder to your body and improve your health all at the same time! 😀

      Welcome to healthatarianism, it’s nice here! 😉

      Yes, even being “green” has sooooooooooooooo many shades and can become quite controversial. I mean, someone who lives off-grid without any convenience is definitely greener than someone who spends money on organic food and clothes, etc. But the person who spends money on organic food and clothes may feel just as green as the person who has given up everything, ya know? It’s all about perspective – and what makes us truly happy and at peace at the end of the day….

      An award?! Wow, thanks!!! 😀

      Big hugs to you!

  13. Thanks for following me on twitter. I stumbled onto your blog because of it, and I don’t know how I’ve never stumbled onto it before. I’m so glad I did, though! I love this post, and it really hit home for me. I struggle with the label (vegan) as well because I’m scared to overcommit myself or make a mistake because of lack of knowledge. There really is no reason to be uneasy about what we’re eating for fear that it doesn’t fit the label we’ve put on ourselves. I’m totally jumping on the healthatarian train with you- love it! I’m really working on lessening the pressure of being perfect in my diet and exercise lately, and your words have pushed me one more step in the right direction. I think I need to read this post about once a week;)

    • Hi, Candice!

      You’re most welcome. I’m so happy this post resonated with you! Yes, I got caught up in the labels and it isn’t about that. Some people can limit themselves and truly live a happy, fulfilling life – but there are others who just need to choose a healthy option the most of the time, yet have a window of space to choose a treat or something they normally don’t eat.

      Feel free to read this post once a week! I’m honored that my words have touched you that deeply!

      Big hugs to you!

  14. wow, we must all be thinking the same thing! Several posts with this theme came across my Google reader, at a time when I really needed to hear it. I go back and forth between feeling weird because I try to eat as little processed food as possible, to feeling like I’m not doing enough because I don’t follow a Nourishing / Vegetarian / Vegan / or Strict clean eating routine.
    .-= Wendy (The Local Cook)´s last blog ..Yes, You Can Lose Weight with Real Food! (I think) =-.

    • Hi, Wendy!

      Yes, we must be thinking the same thing. We can only do so much. We’re human. And we’re simply too hard on ourselves. If we focus on the healthy foods we ARE eating, than we should be proud of all the accomplishment. It’s far too overwhelming to focus on what we shouldn’t or don’t eat. That isn’t healthy for us – it’s stressful!

      So glad my post helped you. 😀

      Big hugs to you!

  15. Pingback: Recipe: Inside-Out (Coconut) Peanut Butter Cups — Healing with (Raw) Juices By Michele L. Tune

  16. It’s unfortunate that we, as a society, are completely obsessed with diet and weight loss. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is I find. I think there are some that are a bit overkill, but then there are people like me who aren’t. I was happy in my own skin until i became obese. Now I hate the skin I’m in. I hate what I’ve done to myself. And no, it’s not because of society that I think I’m fat. It’s true. I’m fat. And I needed to admit that. I was having trouble breathing, even at night, snoring, walking, exercising.
    So I decided enough is enough. I need to get my head in the game, and I did, am. With a book written by Melonie Dodaro, called, “The Mind Body FX Lifestyle”. Now it’s my turn to help, the way this book has for me. If you’re looking to lose some weight and get your head in the game…you should check out what this book has to offer. I found it really helpful, and a self motivator for me.
    We all need that push, and this was definately the push for me. I just hope I can help someone else the way Melonie did for me.
    I would like to pay it forward. I would even like to write a book about how it changed me but I’m not sure it could be any better than this one!!
    .-= Chrissy´s last blog ..ChrissysKorner: Had a great staycationing in vancouver with all the olympic hype! The atmosphere in vancouver is amazing! =-.

  17. Labels are counter-productive!

    So did you decide to go back to eating eggs and fish?

    I think it’s better to just “go with it” and listen to your body. I hardly eat meat but I would never even bother calling myself a vegetarian – it seems so political. Plus, I’ll willing eat a steak every now and then. If I decided to “be a vegetarian” I’d feel a lot of guilt and not enjoy the steak.

    I believe “labels” are often politically motivated.
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..Heart Marketing Challenge – Getting Right to It… Finally! =-.

  18. Pingback: Remembering Raw Roots, Realizing Raw Reality » Blog Archive » Healing with (Raw) Juices By Michele L. Tune

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