Are you searching for the “right” thing to eat? Do you blame yourself for dealing with unsupportive eating? Could you actually be feeling external shame that you are internalizing? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks with expert dietician Jessica Setnick about whether there is a “right” way to eat.


Jessica Setnick is known by eating disorder professionals for bringing a new vision of eating disorder care to the field. Through her training workshop, Eating Disorders Boot Camp, and hundreds of conference and community presentations, Jessica has spread her message to thousands of healthcare professionals, educators, college students, and others.

Combining authenticity, two decades of expertise, and her unique ability to translate complicated topics into practical tools, Jessica connects with audiences on a deep level, whether from a podium or across cyberspace. Visit Jessica Setnick's website as well as Eating Disorder Boot Camp. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Check out the free Evaluating Food Exclusions and Understanding Orthorexia Documents! See Also: The Food Fairy Tales Workbook - Behind the Bite listeners can use the promo code "Bite" for $30 off the Food Fairy Tales workbook or Eating Disorders Boot Camp.


  • The system is unequal
  • “Is this the right way to eat?”
  • Giving food moral value is dangerous

The system is unequal

I think we have steadily been fed the idea that your body size is totally in your control and that what you eat is totally in your control. Both of these aspects do not take into account that there are huge inequities in financial means, that there is food insecurity, and a lot of the times people do not have choices. (Jessica Setnick)
Not everyone has access to healthy, nutritious, and affordable foods. Not everyone can purchase high-quality ingredients to cook with or use to eat. There are not always supermarkets or food-outlets available that serve a variety of nutritious options for people to choose from. From the offset, there is no “right” way to eat because no one is living on the same level of income, access, and affordability.

“Is this the right way to eat?”

People often try to find the “right” way to eat either for health reasons or to lose body mass.
In our culture it is so ingrained that weight-loss is always good … the idea that no matter what your weight is you should be precautious, and that’s part of the fatphobia in our society, what weight-gain is always bad, and weight-loss is always good. (Jessica Setnick)
Therefore, the idea behind whether you are “eating the right way” or “eating the right things” is a fallacy. There is no one right way, or thing, or weight, or body type. None of that exists, and ideas of what is “right” are sold to people by the diet industry purely to make money.
To me, the question is not, “is this one item [of food] good or bad for me, healthy or unhealthy for me?” [the question should be], “is the way I am eating supportive of my goals and my life?”  (Jessica Setnick)
Food is food. No food is “bad” or “sinful”. Food is purely fuel, and you can decide what you want to eat based on the goals, principles, and aspirations you have for yourself by the health of your mind, body, and spirit.

Giving food moral value is dangerous

“Good” and “bad” are words with very specific meanings, and can have a negative effect if used inappropriately. If you think a certain food is “bad”, you may feel like a “bad” person afterward for having eaten it. This does not serve you.
[“Bad”]is such a strong word to use for a choice. You may regret a choice, but it doesn’t make you a bad person. That’s where we’re putting too much value on just molecules that are clumped together into food. (Jessica Setnik)



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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