reintroducing the regular


Anxiety Bites


Words by Jessi Noel

Photos by Rayneutron

A life-changing diagnosis has made me take a serious look at the type of food that I put into my body. I’m taking a positive approach to the lifestyle change. Eating a low sugar/low carb diet will decrease the possibility of me having a heart attack or stroke, which can be fatal. Sacrificing some of the foods I used to eat is a minuscule price to pay for the chance to live.
— RS, 51
Sometimes, when I’m choosing the “right” things to eat I wonder if I could be doing this all for nothing. I mean, yes, I’ll still feel better and probably have clearer skin, but sometimes people do everything right and still get cancer or some other horrible disease and die young for no good reason.
— BT, 33
Healthy eating is a blessing and a curse at the same time. The blessing is that eating healthy is good for your overall well being but it’s a curse to your wallet because it’s expensive.  
— BS, 50
My anxiety from eating mostly comes from not knowing what is actually in my food or what goes into the making of it before it gets to the store. How fresh is my “fresh produce” or how “organic” is this really? I can control how I make my food, but not the way it’s produced. Worst of all, Most of my food allergies I have are nonexistent when I cook the food like carrots and apples, or if they are grown in a different country (peanuts from Nigeria). Same goes for eating meat, I have a hard time wanting to ever eat it again mainly because I don’t know where it’s been, how it was raised, etc.
— JI, 32


"Health is wealth." I think I heard this most often from the old people around me who were watching their sugar and burned incense. And now that I'm actually an adult it would be silly for me to disagree with this statement. 

I try to make a point to eat healthy. I'm usually that family member— the one who is preaching to everyone about whatever preservative packed meal they're eating, how evil the system is to animals, and how vegetables can cure all. I don't drink soda, eat meat, or order McDonald's. I'm a little obnoxious. But as a kid? Kool aid was water, lunch meat was delicious, and McDonald's was a gift from God when my mom had "McDonald's money". I often wonder how in the world I survived childhood and managed to make it to 30 years of age. That isn't to say whatever I was eating then doesn't or won't have an effect on me now, but it's more so an acknowledgement that I still have breath in my body, despite the odds. My mother did her best and I always had a full belly. Blessed. 

However, over the years I've been doing more listening than talking as it relates to the food we eat. And even with the wide range of people and perspectives, the conclusion is the same — we're all afraid of being at fault for the decline of our health.  What if in our best efforts to being meat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, salt-free, gluten-free, corn-free, fat-free, pesticide-free, GMO-free, etc,  we're still doing something wrong? Which got me thinking: we spend a substantial amount of time researching what to eat, how to eat, and what to avoid. There are entire blogs, podcasts, books, and films dedicated to healthy eating. There's literally a 24 hour news cycle around food, y'all. This is great! I'm thankful this information is available to help guide us on a cleaner path. But are there ample resources concerning the anxiety one can have from this abundance of information? Are decisions driven by anxiety and fear suddenly appropriate when it comes to food? And lastly, are we factoring in the serious implications anxiety alone can have on the body? 

This is not a guilt trip. Lord knows none of us need anymore of that. But it does encourage me to consider more factors before I preach my food sermon to those around me. Factors such as customs, culture, allergies, blood types, medical conditions, proximity, affordability, sustainability, and the luxury of having options. 

You get what you pay for, I guess. But what about the price we pay for stress? Health is wealth after all. 

This conversation has no period, so please feel free to comment below and tell us how you're coping with food anxiety.

Models: Gabe Rivera, Tia Davis, Daria Harper, and Nicole Kang

Creative Direction: Jessi Noel + Rayneutron 

Location: Brooklyn Grain