Friday, October 2, 2009

Food's supporting role

Today I realized something that for me was big. As I was walking home this evening on the beach, I thought about what a nice, full, and rewarding day I had. I spent the day seeing the sights of San Francisco with a friend. We did a lot of walking and had a good time. In the afternoon we went to Muir Woods, a National Monument and home to hundreds if not thousands of majestic redwood trees. In the evening, we went to a barbeque at a friend’s house. So what was this realization? Food really is not a big deal in a full, meaningful, well-lived life. Let me try to explain.

First of all, let me tell you that we had some great food today. In the morning, we had clam chowder from a breadbowl and some fried shrimp and calamari. We stopped for a snack and I got nice tomatoes, Melba crackers, and goat cheese as well as some groceries for the weekend. For dinner the friends had quite a spread of BBQ stuff, but I had fried chicken and lots of roasted vegetables. I do admit that I had the first non-milk calorie drinks I have had in a long time – an Orange Crush and a glass of ruby red grapefruit juice. This food is not the healthiest but I made a conscious effort to get fiber (had a Fiber One bar somewhere in there) and worked to incorporate veggies where possible. As you probably would guess, we did a ton of walking on the hilly streets of San Francisco so I would guess that I was either breaking even on calories or perhaps even operating at a calorie deficit. All in all, not the best day food-wise but far from the worst. The point of including this is to say that I don’t think one should avoid good/tasty/contextually enriching food. Far from it. I really enjoyed what I had and worked to add a local flavor to what I had to eat today.

Here’s the realization I had though: food really doesn’t matter that much, or at least it shouldn’t. I’m all for trying new things and experiencing local cuisines and so on, but I don’t need to think about food all the time. Doing so is complete unhealthy and irrational. Other than times when I got hungry, I really would say I didn’t think about food all that much today and when I realized this I felt incredibly liberated. Food does not need to and should not under normal circumstances occupy so much of my mental energy. I need to figure out how to translate my experiences today into my everyday life as, under normal circumstances, food and especially thoughts about weigh loss, healthy living, what I am going to eat, and so on can consume me and divert me from thinking about other aspects of my life. Today was totally different with respect to my thoughts about food and it was so nice. It makes me wonder what people with “normal” relationships with food spend their time thinking about? (Normal in quotes because who is to define what normal actually means…this girl has no idea) They must have either a lot of mental capacity to spare, or obsessions with problems that are different than mine.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I finally am reading your blog. I think other "normal" people probably other obsessions occupying their thoughts. I had a great time wandering around in San Francisco, and I was so happy to spend our time doing lots of different things - wandering in the city, hiking in the woods, wandering on the beach, and best of all, seeing lots of great friends.


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