August 19, 2016

How “Healthy” Weight Diet Trends are Eroding our Relationship with Food.

berry smoothie drink

There’s a “Beach Body” trend that has people drinking their dinner or lunch through a straw instead of ever sitting down to a meal.

They call it “shakeology,” and it usually amounts to a chocolate or fruity flavored powder blended into a meal supplement.

They believe they are eating healthfully—but are they?

I joined a site for those interested in smoking their foods. Despite them listing the “meds” that they’re taking for every ailment and sickness under the sun, they all agreed with one sentiment: “My house eats healthy!” (Their site taught me about smoking succulent foods with aromatic maple and hickory chips, but also about “Fatties”—ground meat and eggs and cheese and veggies, all wrapped and smoked into a torpedo or log that is covered with a braided, bacon weave). I also learned about smoked pork butts, and “moink balls,” comprised of “mooing” meat and swine, all swirled together.

To them, that is great food. Moreover, from where they stand, it’s very “healthy.”

My restaurant-coveting wine rep pals, and those in the business of promoting vino and gourmet goods, attend every trendy soiree and dine with the famous top crop of chefs when it comes to elaborate eateries and Michelin stars, late night guitars and hipster bars aplenty. (Copious cream, butter and the chef writing his name in the crème fraîche or dessert can accompany such a jaunt, and to some that is considered a gastronomical and impressive acrobatic act that equates with dinner being “well made” and thus being “healthy” as well).

Still more acquaintances of mine live 24-7 on a diet of “restriction and measurement,” and sadly, that is all they’ve ever known for much of their lives.

Whether it be five little packets a day as their sole intake or culinary allowance, or perhaps a delivered mail system of small, portion-controlled albeit gunked up set of lasagnas, or a strict regimen of “no oil” and “no animal” products; large portions or plates are their sworn enemy.

To others still, it is fats or meat that garner the “evil” award of the century. But rest assured, food is not a harmonious and friendly thing to them either. No, not at all!

But everyone I reference above insists, boasts and promotes their personal diet as being “super healthy, energizing and amazing!”

Yes, only in a country of abundance do we barf, purge, diet, reject, restrict, measure, avoid, fear, wolf down mounds of gunk, and then throw away the kitchen culture altogether; or instead, over-exercise and damn-near have an exorcism to try to eradicate every morsel of nutrition out of our body, all the while dreaming of those beach-body abs.

Somehow, this has become acceptable. It seems like everyone believes they eat healthfully, and it seems like eating healthfully is defined differently by each person.

I do not look down upon another for eating however they wish. Hell, if the fitness crowd wants to sell and promote a single shake or smoothie as their meal replacement, go right ahead. I just hope their single serving provides all those vitamins and minerals our bodies crave. If the body is starved of its proper nutrition, eventually it will speak up!

Peeing fluorescent green doesn’t seem to happen when we take in our B vitamins via clams, vegetables, or natural, whole foods. I’m not insisting that everyone makes a habit of eating shellfish. But if supplements and vitamins in pill form start causing us to pee vivid, unnatural colors, then what else is it doing to us internally? What aren’t we seeing? That neon green is like a warning light—a conveniently visible one.

Moreover, and perhaps scarier, is that this “slurp your dinner” system removes the romanticism and ritual of fetching, cleaning, preparing, taking pride in, plating, presenting, sharing and devouring and savoring (over conversation and slow, sexy, and mentally stimulating exchanges) a God-given meal, from the earth, and all that it entails.

What happened to a zest and lust for life? To “bread, wine, thou” (and okay, maybe a little Joe Cocker music too) being everything that one’s sacred self so gallantly thirsted for? When did cooking someone a casserole or a heartfelt meal as a good deed and kind gesture diminish into an inappropriate and taboo act?

Recently I watched a TV special about what the Victoria’s Secret models do to “prepare” for the ever coveted runway show where they are adorned in thongs and 45-pound wings to wear on their backs. In a nutshell, this meant two hours a day at the gym and a liquid diet as the curtain neared.

Without casting judgment on anybody’s way of living and dining per se, I hope to shed some light on the misinformation that often surrounds trendy diets and so-called “healthy” eating.

Yes, gone are the days of the raw and real Bacchanalian mystique! The once unabashed romanticism and carnal fury attached to the act of living and eating one’s dinner, and drinking vino—each of our senses evoked as we’d take to our bedrooms with the pungent and sultry stench of wine on our breath and vast whimsy in our souls—has been turned in for apps that can help us log our caloric intake and reject and/or measure and restrict what we would otherwise nourish our body with and enjoy.

We’ve pretty much gone numb. More and more people are forsaking the entire eating experience altogether—they would rather take a pill or supplemental form of something (B12, vitamin D and more) than eat the damn oyster and evoke all of their senses and have to smell something, taste it, feel it (with every morsel of their being) and digest it.

We are more worried about the guilt or shame, converting every extra calorie to another minute on the treadmill.

Where did our exploratory curiosity go?

It went to the pressure of media images, that’s where! But it doesn’t have to.

If you love your smoothie and exercise program, or smoked sausage or mail ordered meal plan or cleanse or “thing” that you do, that is your right.

Ironically, some of the body conscious zealots and shake/program salesmen could even increase their game (and money) tenfold, if they authentically embraced a taste of gratitude for real life, real food, and the real nourishment it provides our bodies.

So, in spirit of celebrating our food as a holistic experience, I’d like to invite everyone try something different. Just for today, may we all look at the bounty of culinary treasures that someone higher than our own ego has brought into this magnificent blessing of a life, alongside us, and receive such under the notion and mantra, “I Am Worthy.”

You’d be amazed, downright startled, delighted and grateful, to see how everything changes—even weight—when we see the plate in front of us that way.



Author: Laurie-Beth Robbins

Image: kawaiikiri/Flickr 

Editor: Renée Picard; Apprentice Editor: Devin Mudcat Kelly

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