No food is inherently evil in and of itself.


As a certified intuitive eating counselor, one of the key things I often work on with clients is releasing various foods from the morally drenched labels our culture piles on them. Sugar, gluten, and dairy are getting the brunt of it now. It used to be things like nuts, avocados, and butter were “bad” while these days things like bread, yogurt, and jam are being shunned.


There are lots of things to ingest on this planet. Some bodies do really well with some things and other bodies do really poorly with other things. I see this in my own household. My daughter prefers meat as a protein, my son prefers cottage cheese. They are naturally drawn to these things. It is the coolest thing as a parent and intuitive eating advocate, to watch my own kids follow their inner knowing of what, when, and how much to eat.


So back to quinoa. It is a tiny seed that is cooked similar to the way rice is cooked. Quinoa has a protein in it that some people have a difficult time digesting. I am one of those people. Quinoa causes me terrible stomach aches when I consume it. Is it evil because of this? I would say no. Do I avoid it at all costs? Yes!


Now, I have no invested interest in taking to the streets to warn people about the dangers of eating quinoa. I will not be creating a revolution and writing a book about eliminating quinoa to be the answer to all of life’s questions. Though if I was forced to eat quinoa daily, stopping eating it would certainly feel that way.


I have seen, in my experience, research, and work, that in most cases people can deduct what is best for their own nourishment by paying attention to how they feel when they eat certain things.


Once we can break through the rigidity of food rules, labels, and the insidious lie that our bodies cannot be trusted, we can get to the real work of tuning in to our body’s signals and making choices based on our preferences and access to food.


It does not have to perfect, in fact it is best if it is not. Flexibility, sustainability, and pleasure-seeking are all part of a balanced approach to nourishing ourselves. 


Jennifer DiGennaro MA, LLPC, is a psychotherapist and couples counselor in private practice in Grand Rapids, MI. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Body Trust® Provider, Lead Hungerwise Facilitator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, as well as the founder of Nourished Energy. She specializes in treating chronic dieting, binge eating disorder, body image concerns, trauma, PTSD, mood disorders and relationship issues. She brings a deep passion for social justice to her trauma-informed, evidence-based and heart-centered clinical work. She is committed to ending the war that is waged against bodies in our culture. Learn more at: