ColumnIf we don’t have an appreciation for good food, we can’t live a healthy lifestyle.
Last week I devoured a burrito. And when I say devoured, I mean devoured. It was a breakfast burrito, and at the time it was the best breakfast burrito I had ever tasted. Why? It could have been because it had farm fresh eggs, spinach and sunflower sprouts in it, but mostly it was because I had just gone on an 8-mile trail run.
Sometimes the taste of our food doesn’t really have any relation to the actual food, it’s all about how much our body craves it. Whether it’s a burrito, a bowl of granola or a handful of almonds, if you’re hungry, your body craves it, and that makes it tastes exponentially better.
As active women that are hyper-conscious about body image, the influence of the media, and women’s issues in general we sat and fumed about it. As women, we’re now afraid of workouts because they will make us look fat? Note that “fat” in this case means muscular butts and thighs. Apparently not something to aspire to if you are to believe the mass media.
But then it got worse. Hilary pointed out that the article mentioned a celebrity trainer forbid his models from going to spin class because it made them hungry.
Hilary and I fumed some more. I thought about that tasty burrito I had eaten in my activity-induced state of hunger. This got me thinking about the extremes of our relationships to food.
On one end we have the problem of overeating. Mass consumption of processed food that leads to obesity. Then we have the other end of the spectrum, where the eaters are hyper aware of every single nutrient, every single calorie, every single carb. While they seem so very opposite, they are in fact one in the same, both an indicator of a lack of appreciation of food.
We are meant to eat. We are meant to be hungry when we exert energy. Hunger is a natural state of being. Overeating, however, is not, and either is starving yourself, or choosing your activities based upon how well they allow you to avoid hunger.
If we are to live truly healthy lifestyles we have to find a healthy balance. Eating is fun. Good food is delicious, a way to bring people together. Enjoying it, if we are privileged enough to do so, is a part of life. Not allowing ourselves the pleasure of food is as bad as eating too much of it.
While it’s easy to demonize one extreme and idolize the other – we abhor anything that might make us “fat” in the eyes of society, yet we put those people who stick to extreme workout routines on a pedestal – they are exactly the same thing. We can’t demonize real food. Humans eat. Humans look like humans when they live healthy lifestyles, not like stick, thin runway models. Ever tried to live on a diet of cotton balls like some of those models do? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
We have to appreciate food for food’s sake, because being afraid of it is just as detrimental as enjoying it too much. Mindless eating isn’t good for your health or your soul, and either is being on a strict regime of water and diet pills.
Embrace real, good food and a healthy lifestyle. Find balance. And if your thighs get bigger because you’re doing spin workouts or going on trail runs, then get yourself a breakfast burrito as a reward for being a healthy, active individual.
Related on EcoSalon
This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’ weekly column at EcoSalon: Foodie Underground, an exploration of what’s new and different in the underground movement, and how we make the topic of good food more accessible to everyone. More musings on the topic can be found at www.foodieunderground.com.
Image: Jonathan Lin