Thursday, September 4, 2008

More than a fan. We're involved.

Yes, that was a random throwback to 10 Things I Hate About You, which I love, in spite of myself. But Mandella was referring to Shakespeare, and I'm talking about food.

I've become more and more aware lately that I literally am involved with food. And I'm not sure it's a healthy relationship. I literally think about food all day long. Well, not every waking moment, but there's a good portion of my day when, if I'm not thinking about eating food, I'm thinking about how to prepare it, or if I need to buy it, or how to make it healthy, or wondering if it is already healthy, or whether or not I've eaten balanced portions throughout the day. I can't stop thinking about it.

And I'm not sure why. It's like the focus of this journey / project / goal for myself--being a healthy, vivacious woman--has morphed into something entirely different, and completely counterproductive to what I need to be a full, satiated person.

I really admire and aspire to Sally's approach to food: it's a vital and important part of life, and meals deserve our attention and care, yet the energies we pour into the foods we eat should never outweigh the joy we get from eating healthful foods that ultimately, were designed to help us lead happy and satisfied lives (forgive me and correct me if I've totally misinterpreted your thinking here, Sally).

There have been so many times when I've taken so much of my time and energy into creating a meal. I poured through cookbooks and websites searching for recipes, I researched or tested all the ways I could alter it to make it more healthful or more to my liking, I've spent money on buying the ingredients I need, taking care not to buy in excess, taking care to use wisely and conserve my resources. Then there's the time I've spent cooking the meal, nudging a recipe along in it's development. And then, I eat. Sometimes I don't stop working to eat. Usually, I worry about portion size or whether or not I'm getting enough fiber or protein. Sure, the meal (usually) tastes good, but I'm not enjoying it the way I deserve to. Something else always pulls my attention away, and all the energy I've invested in the meal seems wasted.

I feel like I'm dissolving all the wholesomeness out of my food when I fail to enjoy it for what it simply is: nutritive, pleasurable, and healthy.


MizFit said...

(I love that movie as well...and have given up and embraced that trashy side of myself ;))

constant struggle huh?

food as merely fuel. food as sustenance. food as punishment. food as love.

exhausting at times and yet exhilarating when we 'nail it' & stike that elusive balance.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

You've summed it up pretty well. :)

Food is complicated. By its very nature of being something we both need and enjoy/want, our relationship with it has to be somewhat complex.

But you're thinking the right thoughts, because you're thinking about it at all---you're delving into what you need to consider.

At the same time, leaving joy for pure pleasure is important, too, I think. Even pleasure from an unhealthy or imperfect or whatever meal is essential, because without that enjoyment, the purpose of it is lost, especially when it's unhealthy to start with and doesn't provide great nourishment!