|I can't even talk about how good this shrimp & grits was at Screen Door.|
When I went camping a couple weeks ago, my friends and I found ourselves in a fit of provision-induced euphoria brought on by the rather spectacular picnic we were gorging ourselves on.
We propped ourselves up on a large flat rock by the lake that had been baked in the sun (we made sure to lay down a couple towels so as not to fry our delicate bottoms) and unleashed a festival of cheeses, meats, bread, avocado, salads, chips, hummus, olives – oh hell, the works.
And as we ate, we couldn’t help shrieking with pure, unabashed glee as that summer sun glowed across our skin and the juice of a perfectly ripe white nectarine ran down our chins.
We were elated by the simple joy of eating good food with good people.
And that got us thinking…
Why do we beat ourselves up so much about what we eat? Why do we look at food as a painful but necessary act of staying alive, worrying about every calorie, every gram of fat potentially headed for our hips? Could it be that when we see the negative effects of eating on our bodies it might actually be in part due to the negative emotions we fuel that consumption with?
Hear me out…
What might happen if we treated our food, our meals, like the life-giving event they were meant to be? Why not, instead of looking at that wedge of cheese as the enemy destined to tip the scale one pound beyond our goal weight, we looked at it as the fruit of someone’s calling in life? Someone spent time raising those cows, milking them, crafting that piece of havarti so that it was something special to make your meal not just a meal, but a festival of harvest and enjoyment!
And flying in the face of that, all we’re concerned about is the damage it will do to our figure?
Now I'm just as guilty of this as anyone else. If I’ve been “bad” and I feel my clothes fitting a little snugger because I didn’t turn down that last bite of croissant ("bite" here meaning the whole thing and probably half of another while I was at it because really, if you’re going down, you may as well go WAY down) I start the mental addition, tallying up the snack here and the nip there. Yes. I'm extremely guilty of this attitude toward my food. So is Mari, who actually has reason to be weary of certain foods because her body will literally reject it and cause eventual detriment to her health if she’s not careful.
But as we sat there, enjoying a pieced-together lunch and washing it down with a cold beer, we decided collectively to change that mindset. We decided to treat our food as the incredible gift that it is and celebrate it accordingly – even if it was just a sandwich on the go.
Our idea was the change the attitude with which we put food into our bodies in an effort the maybe change the way our bodies’ attitude with what becomes of it.
Is it so crazy to think that eating or drinking with joy will possibly reduce the “negative” processing of our meals within our bodies? Maybe, maybe not. But if nothing else, it might tone down the stress hormones our bodies make that actually do cause the body to hold onto those “bad things” in food. So we like to think we’re on to something.
Not to say we’re going to go out and go nuts (though admittedly, after roughing it in the woods for a couple days we all treated ourselves to burgers and a
pitcher two pitchers of IPA), but living in a place like the Pacific Northwest
offers us the incredible opportunity to access a bounty of meats and cheeses
and vegetables and fruits and beer and wine – all in our backyard!
Coming from all backgrounds of growing up, we have all made the conscious choice in our adult lives to take the PNW up on its offer to feed ourselves with some of the best ingredients Nature has for us.
So join us? Stop treating food like it’s out to get you and allow yourself the freedom to really love what’s on your plate.
And share it with people you love.
That’s the real key.