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Food Makes Me Happy! - And Why That's a GOOD Thing

Monday, July 19, 2010

After reading the recent Spark Article about "picky eaters"
it occurred to me just how lucky I am that I LOVE FOOD!

So often we berate ourselves for our desire to eat, our "healthy" appetites and our inability to control ourselves in a grocery store - but after reading the article I realize that I would far much rather have it that way than to never have experienced the pure BLISS of fresh-caught lobster dipped in garlic butter, or a plump, sweet, juicy, ripe-red strawberry still hot from the sun in the field, or as KARVY09 recently blogged about - a fresh fig.

I LOVE FOOD - and that is nothing to be ashamed about. I have also been spending a lot of time recently rediscovering my love of making food - cooking, baking, blending and the like - if it happens in my kitchen, chances are it's a sacred love of mine. I read cookbooks and magazines, drooling over the colourful photos of food plated in the most delicious-looking of ways, though you will rarely find me actually using a recipe. I love studying the gastronomical field to get ideas, but my kitchen is my canvas, and I'm most certainly adventurous when it comes to the art I create. Sure I've had a few flops - but more than enough I find new and exciting tastes that just GO together that I never would have thought of before. If I could wallpaper my kitchen with photos from those magazines I would. I most certainly eat with my eyes and my nose before my mouth, and I think I can certainly credit my "super-spidey-senses" as my boyfriend calls them to my absolute love and desire for all things yummy. I'm one of those people who can tell you what's on the BBQ just my smelling it. It's one of my favorite things about summer - walking around the neighbourhood at about 6pm and just taking in all of the different menu options for the evening - pork chops, steak, hamburgers, chicken, corn - each have their own distinct and delicious char-grilled smell. I'm making myself hungry just writing this.

So why would I want to give any of that up? Why would I want to go on a "diet" and limit myself so much that I deny myself of one of my real, true loves? My inability to "break up" with food is what derailed me before in my attempts to lose weight. It is the most loyal and beautiful and delicious lover that I have ever had - so it is not a wonder that in the past I chose it over the deprivation diet. You don't even have to read that twice to know which one is more appealing. But in a "lifestyle change" there is still room for food. In fact, not only is there ROOM for food, but there's an acceptance of food and the relationship I have with it. There's also room and a new-found love for exercise, which in fact strengthens and makes MORE room for my relationship with food. There's room for head and heart and health - the trifecta of well being, which I will be honest is what has surprised me the most about this journey so far. Previous attempts saw me trying to cut out pieces of who I am to have what I always wanted - and isn't that a backwards way of thinking? To feel like you can't be WHOLE to be the person you want to be. It never once occurred to me that to be the person I want to be, I have to in fact ADD to myself instead of subtract from. I have to embrace my love of food, and find a love of exercise, and grow my ability to plan for myself, and expand on my current abilities to organize my life. I have to MAKE MYSELF FULL, not continue to empty myself of my loves. Because when we are FULL of life, we are also full of food, and the need to feed gradually goes away.

Yesterday morning I made some very yummy Ham & Cheese Quiche Muffins and some Oatmeal Pancake Muffins. For 25 minutes the smell in my kitchen as they baked was to die for. And when I pulled the trays from the oven and saw those puffy, golden brown, cheese-crusted tops, expanding from the pan, I was literally overcome with joy. I love it when things come out looking as pretty as they smell. I really should have grabbed my camera and snapped some pictures - but my boyfriend already thinks I'm crazy and I fear the photos wouldn't have done their beauty justice. Plus - we were hungry! I savoured every single bite. Delicious and healthy - and made by me. It makes me feel warm and tingly inside - and it wasn't just because the oven on a sweltering day in Chicago made my kitchen about 2000 degrees!

I am allowed to love food. In fact, I am expected to love food. I come from a foodie family - all just as adventurous as the next in terms of what we will try. My love of food feels like home. And in terms of my therapy and my process, there have been times that that has been a help and other times that it has been a hindrance. Eating has been and will continue to be an emotional experience for me. But EATING is helping me heal. Learning to love food all over again - this time with added knowledge of what I'm putting in my body - is an ongoing process. But it's an experience that I will never deny myself ever again. Because sometimes there is just nothing in this world that can replace the feeling of fresh-picked blueberries bursting on your tongue, or the taste of a medium rare NY strip steak with a side of baked potato.

It will be a while yet before I no longer feel like I have to eat to feel "full". But for the time being, I'm re-cultivating my gastronomy muscles. I'm the opposite of a picky eater, so I wouldn't mind actually becoming a little bit of a food snob. It just means that I care more about what I put in my mouth and what I will spend time eating. Saying no to things that I don't particularly like still isn't an easy task - but I'm sure I can hone my trash bin skills in the near future. When I am surrounded by the fresh fruits and vegetables of the summer, there's really no reason to eat less than the absolute freshest and best. And it is certainly the best time of the year to try something new, or retry something you dismissed before.

Alas - my lunch calls! So I'm going to go ENJOY it!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ANNANN63
    Years ago I realized that a lot of the food I was eating was really not all that good. I started then to eliminate foods that really were not good enough. I felt that if I was going to be fat, I was at least going to be fat from eating things I loved. It was amazing how many things I stopped eating.

    I don't think the average overweight person is overweight from eating great food, they are just addicted to the fat, sugar and white flower that abounds in our society.

    I applaud your interest in healthy, high quality, great tasting, food. Good for you.
    2584 days ago
    Great blog!
    2584 days ago
    Wow. What a great blog.

    The idea that food is not the problem or even championing the idea that food is a beautiful thing is commendable and refreshing. I always knew how I used the food was the problem - not that I liked/loved it.

    That is really great insight and how you describe that lobster almost makes me want to use my kitchen place too - almost.


    Rock on, boo. XO
    2584 days ago
    Oh yum.
    Also love the smell of something baking and enjoy the beautiful photos of food. But how do you control the one more bite urge?, or just one more slice of that cake?
    Even recipes cut in half make too much.
    Going to go get the cookbooks out, just for the pictures, off to the vegetable stand,thanks.
    2589 days ago
    I love your blogs! Please tell me you'll consider submitting some of these to health and nutrition magazines... more people should hear what you have to say!
    2589 days ago
    Profound as always, Jenn. emoticon I find summer the best time to cook and eat, too. I also found that getting back to my roots (I grew up on what was a working dairy farm not too far north of you) helps a lot: Cheeseheads are all about simple ingredients prepared simply but deliciously. Cutting out all the processed junk and getting back to the fresh-from-the-garden stuff has definitely helped me shed some pounds. I just have to avoid all the fat that my dairy-farming family loves, lol.
    2590 days ago
    Love your take on the food! I know exactly what you mean! And I'm definitely going to be trying out your recipes this week, already saved in my cookbook.
    2590 days ago
    You have every right to enjoy your food. I enjoy food too. There is room for food enjoyment and eating healthy. There is a happy medium. You are slowly finding it. We all are.
    2590 days ago
    Cooking is my passion and creating and trying new delicious dishes in my kitchen is a calming experience. Enjoy the adventure!
    2590 days ago
  • WYND10! Great blog! Also, can I come over to eat soon? :D
    2590 days ago
    There absolutely is room for food!

    What's great too is when you find your palate expanding emoticon
    2590 days ago
    You remind me of myself-I also love to cook and love to eat! Normandy
    2590 days ago
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