Our obsession with eating - food
Eating in America
First, it is imperative that I state that I love to eat. I love food. Its taste, texture, looks and the way it makes me feel. Well now this is the problem for me, isn't it? I don't seem to control my food impulses very well which results in my rather large girth. I can't have it all, I guess. Can't have my cake and eat it too.
As I, like the so many other Americans, gained weight and bulked up, I wondered what is different in this age with this generation. Hmmm. I began to examine the way we eat and came to the following conclusions. Mind you, these are strictly my conclusions and opinions.
Compared to the past, 1960 and prior; we feast! Feast in the sense of the Roman orgies so often depicted in movies. We don't simply eat to nourish our bodies, we devour our food. Food once considered "special" for special occasions or Sunday dinners.
Meals once consisted of a small dinner plate at supper time. A balanced meal was considered to be meat, starch, vegetables and dessert. Portions were filling but not meant for over eating. Unlike today where everything is "super sized." Restaurants serve meals on platters once reserved for the dinner table beef roast or whole chicken to be cut and distributed to the others at the table. Now a platter is filled with food for one person to consume.
Looking way into the past of human eating, I noted that as nomadic we ate what was available as we travelled. Eating was a social event rather to nourish and fuel our bodies.
In "Desert Flower," the Somalian, now American super model, Waris Dirie, described her nomadic early life. She was sent out early in the morning at 5 years of age or sooner, to tend to the family goats. She remained in the desert, far from her family, and alone, the entire day until night fall when she and the heard of goats returned to the familial camp. Then, she was given a cup of goat milk along with the rest of the family.
One cup of goat milk per day. Imagine it.
When I travelled Europe I ate in homes of friends and learned of their eating habits. There was no huge breakfast or lunch. Often there was no lunch. Dinner is often eaten after 9 pm. Quantities are average. Food was food. For nourishment not for entertainment, at least for the average person and family.
My middle Eastern friends begin their day with bread and cheese most often with a small amount of fruit. They don't eat again until late that evening when they sit down as a family to eat the evening meal which may consist of rice, vegetables, meat and tea. Nourishment. Feasts are reserved for weddings and special occasions.
As I sit at my dinner table filled with incredible foods, I think of this. I look around at so many of my rotund and obese friends and family, no longer wondering why.
I remember reading of cultures that considered "fat" to be equal to wealth. That kings and other prominent figures of society were fat because they could afford food and didn't have to perform any physical labor. Their subjects were often thin to the point of skinny because they were too poor to buy much food and they labored long in physical toil.
It appears that we have succumbed to our wealth. This country has been so incredibly successful that we have been able to mass produce what once was rare into everyday fare. We are able to live like royalty; kings and queens. Who would've thought that the wealth and comfort we enjoy, compared to the rest of the world, would kill us.
I began paring back my eating trying hard to get back to just basic eating to nourish and fuel my body. I never imagined that it would be so difficult. I must isolate myself to do this.
Eating in America is a social custom well ingrained in us all. Everywhere I look there is food. Billboards, television, magazine and newspaper advertisements.
One magazine covers it all. For the past 20 years, "Woman's World" has had a cover with a woman proclaiming that she lost 10 pounds (or more).Always a different woman but the cover had never changed in all this time. Inside will be her story along with her diet and information, "how to" on how she lost weight. Turn the page and there will be recipe after recipe for decadent chocolate goodies, deserts, and meals.
Food, eating, is our pastime. Our compulsion. Our obsession.