So yesterday was my birthday, and naturally my thoughts turned to…
Another year older, and those unwanted pounds seem harder and harder to shed. You would think I would have no problem with my weight, with all the healthy, seasonal, local fruits and vegetables I eat. Well, it wouldn’t be a problem, if that were all that I ate.
But it isn’t.
It is said we eat with our eyes first, then with our mouths. I believe those of us who truly love food as an experience, not merely sustenance, also eat with our brains, and our hearts, and that when I am poking around the kitchen, looking for “something” to “eat”, it is not just my eyes and my mouth that are doing the looking. Some of you are now saying, “Why, that’s boredom, why don’t you just find something else to do?”
See, that’s the thing. Along with Knitting, Reading, Blogging, various Crafts, Playing with my dog, and Watching hockey, Food is something I DO, not just something I eat. When I want to do Food, I don’t want to find “something else” to do.
The key, for me at least, is to pack as much “experience” into that Fooding as possible, otherwise I find myself aimlessly eating a little of this and a little of that, in search of a food experience I never find, until I have eaten much more than was actually desired. If I take the time to pull together a total sensory package for myself to snack on, the result is I eat less, because not only are my eyes, mouth, and stomach satisfied, but my brain and heart are as well. It can be difficult to take the time to do this, and that is a complication that leads to things like consuming half a loaf of artisan bread and butter because it’s easy to grab and eat without thinking. (Ask me how I know.) Eating without thinking. It’s really the snake in the grass of weight loss. You don’t know you’re doing it until you’ve already done it.
So I have been developing some guiding principles for my Fooding, some “Rules of the Road” I call them (such a geek), so that my enjoyment and passion for procuring, preparing, and eating the best food I can find does not render me unhealthy or unhappy. Textures, flavors, shapes and colors dance together in my mouth when I successfully follow my Rules of the Road, and just a few perfect bites satisfy my Fooding itch.
Rule #1 (and it’s a big one): Eat what you want.
We are told by societal norms (in America; see the “Real Food for Thought” on the right) that we should eat some foods, and should not eat others, even that we shouldn’t want those foods, because they are not good for us. Yet, these are the very foods so heavily marketed to us in advertising, making us want those foods more. So in creeps the guilt over food. But humans are hard-wired to seek out sugar, fat, and salt. They were survival foods that were not so readily available to our ancient ancestors, so when they could get them, they ate them up yum. They are found in abundance in our environment today, but the cravings are still there. In fact, processed food companies’ scientists are counting on those very cravings to sell their products.
I can’t tell you how many times I have dithered about in front of the pantry door, trying to find a substitute for what I really want. It could be chocolate, it could be bread, it could be potato chips, heck it could be a fruit we just don’t have in the house right now. A piece of cheddar cheese, when there’s none in the fridge. In the process of trying to make that substitution, I put five different things in my mouth, instead of just the one I wanted.
When I eat a few bites of exactly what I wanted in the first place, I stop eating, and get on with my life. So I try to keep the foods I know I like to nibble on in the house as much as possible. In full disclosure, I can get very carried away with potato chips, so I don’t buy them often, but when I have been thinking about potato chips for days, and eating all kinds of other stuff because we have no potato chips, suddenly it seems more practical to just buy a bag of chips, and share them with The Husband and The Boy, and then I’m good for another month or so.
So, eat what you want, eat it slowly, pay attention to all of its flavors and textures, get as much enjoyment as you can out of as few bites as possible, and (this is important) save some for tomorrow. There’s always tomorrow.
That’s all for now; I will share more of my Rules of the Road in upcoming posts.
Until next time, see you on the Road.