Food, Revisited

I’ve always been confused about food. What is there to be confused about? You buy it, you cook it, you eat it, and your body is fueled. Do basically that process three times a day, and you’ll be healthy, right? Wrong.

I’m not sure if I can blame the melting pot of American culture for the loss of my ancestors’ European food traditions or if I should blame post-war food manufacturers and their marketing teams. Perhaps western diet culture and Hollywood are to blame for my confusion, not just directly, but indirectly through my mother and grandmother. Maybe I can blame Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network for allowing the emotionally manipulative advertisement of junk food when I was a child. Or perhaps it is all these things, muddled together with other aspects of my childhood and the white American culture in which I was raised.

Since high school, when I first heard of a peer going on a diet (it was the South Beach diet, and yes, I tried it too), I’ve gone around and around in circles with different diets and manners of eating. It’s almost a cliche in our country now. I’ve tried everything, especially if it involved going to a health food store for sPeCiAl InGrEdIeNtS.

Lately, all this confusion has nothing to do with my weight or physical appearance. Rather, I see my weight not as the problem, but the symptom. When I gain weight, I’m not upset about the way I look (I look fantastic at any weight, thank you very much), but because I know it’s a result of unhealthy eating and lifestyle. My confusion about food has more to do with the yearning to be healthy and live a long life.

Compounding all this confusion is that someday I will have children and that the relationship I have with food will be taught to them whether I like it or not. It is a hefty weight for someone who wants children as badly as I do.

Recently, I found a diet that really worked for me. I felt amazing, lost some weight, and gained back a little hope for my future. Then, I saw how that diet affected my hormonal cycle and immediately stopped. If the food I ate was going to make me healthy, it had to make ALL of me healthy without upsetting the hormonal balance that had previously been working wonderfully.

So I find myself back at square one, this confusing place where all food seems simultaneously good and evil, where there are far too many choices to choose from and everyone has an opinion about it all.

In times like these, I tend to go back to basics. Cheryl Mendelson’s chapter on food in Home Comforts is always, well, a comfort to me. She writes of the three western meals of the day in terms of their physical contributions as well as their emotional impact on our day, and it speaks to me on a spiritual level.

Everything is connected. The mundane and the spiritual. Light and dark. Helpful and harmful. Exertion and rest. Balance is key. I know that. I’ve known that before. I will know it again.

I’m working on sitting in the middle of my confusion and waiting for it to settle, rather than trying to sort it all out. I have to accept what is before I work on changing anything.

[Sorry, this got real deep all of a sudden! That happens when I write without a plan!]

In conclusion, I have no idea what I’m doing, and what is food anyway? The end.

Author: R.V. Butler

R.V. Butler was raised among the fairies in the foothills of northern California, where she learned the magic of storytelling from a variety of wizards, witches, mermaids, and superheroes. To her chagrin, she was never kidnapped by pirates or abducted by aliens, but she managed to find adventure in the most boring place of all: school. In her teens, she began a lifelong battle with the demons Depression and Anxiety, which she currently has under her thumb with the help of some very powerful potions and spells. She presently works as an administrative assistant in Winters, California, a magical land known the world over for farmers, steak, and a certain country music singer we’re not supposed to make a fuss about. At the end of 2016, she became a true Phoenix, and since then, she’s been befriending dragons, hunting things, and time traveling. Every November, she straightens her Viking helmet and captains the Yolo County ship for NaNoWriMo alongside Elisabeth Kauffman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s