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Monday, May 12, 2014

Food Thoughts

I have an interesting relationship with food. Not only do I consume it, but sometimes it consumes me. When I finish my coffee in the morning, I think, "I can't wait til my afternoon cup of coffee." If I have dessert, I think, "Just one more bite, and then I'll be satisfied. Just one last cookie, and then I'll be set." If I have a plate of good food, I sometimes finish the whole plate of food, even if my belly was full after only half a plate.  I love to talk about food. It's a safe subject that most people are interested in. I read recipes like a book. I stockpile dessert recipes because I want to eat the finished products.

My late twenties brought about my food renaissance. I learned about real food, bought locally, and memorized the "dirty dozen" and "clean fifteen" lists for organic produce. I signed up for my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and nearly turned vegetarian overnight in order to not let any veggies go to waste. I helped establish a farm in my neighborhood. I ate less meat because the good stuff was too expensive to buy regularly. Reading these last few sentences, I wonder what happened to the girl in college who thought free/cheap food was the most important factor.

I also got into baking. Weekly baking, which produced lovely muffins, bread, cake, cookies. It didn't make a difference on my I'm-still-in-my-twenties body. I exercised regularly, and figured anything extra would just burn off. Then I turned thirty. And had a baby. Even on my awesome 40-60 minutes a day workout plan, I cannot just eat whatever I want anymore, and especially not in whatever quantity I want. Ah, thirties.

It also got me to thinking that eating beyond the feeling of fullness is simply a waste. A waste in my body, a waste in dollars, and a waste in food production. I got used to food having power over me. "That is a cookie. You love cookies. Eat that cookie." Even if I had already eaten three cookies. It's so stupid! I am trying to take back the power by changing my thinking about food. I truly delight in eating good food, but when I give food too much power, it consumes me, and I feel guilty. By changing my thinking, I eat more balanced, and I enjoy it so much more.

This has not come about suddenly. I have been pondering these things for a couple of years. When I start to feel like I'm spinning out of control, I ask myself, "Why do I want to keep eating? What will it accomplish? What void am I trying to fill?" Usually I can identify something that is pushing me to want to snack or keep eating when not hungry. It is often stress or anxiety. Or tiredness.

In light of all of these food thoughts, I typed some one-liners into my phone to refer to when I feel the need. I'd like to share them with you. I showed Justin, too, and he was amused, because he does not have such a complicated relationship with food. Here goes: