Food for the Fun of It?
(Sure! If fatigue, obesity, clogged arteries and general malaise are your idea of fun...)
A message appearing in my inbox this morning from Neale Donald Walsch inspired today's post:
..."food was never intended to be used as fun. Food was intended to be used as nourishment."
(Another update, 1/06/15: Michael Pollan, author of "In Defense of Food" might even argue with the latter half of the above statement...)
This reminded me of a certain snack food company's truck I passed a while back, bearing the slogan, "Food for the Fun of It!"
I'm wondering if maybe Neale saw the same truck.
Anyway, you only have to watch ads during kids' tv programming for a brief amount of time to see that the primary selling point for snack foods is fun. Because, really, what is the point of food that isn't shaped into 3-foot long ribbons that you can whip around your head with mad ninja skillz, or mysterious treats that explode in your mouth or tattoo your tongue, or turn colors when milk is added. Even the packaging has to be entertaining in some way. Because, god forbid, you are one of those losers that still uses a spoon to eat yogurt.
Sure, we adults are too mature to eat stuff that comes in unnatural colors or lights up or doubles as craft supplies (even if we do buy it for our kids).
But, sell us cheap and easy, and now we're talking! (Oops ... sorry, I meant "value and convenience"...)
We're appealed to in terms of how much meat, fat and 'other' can you cram between two enriched buns for only a buck. Or how we can purchase super-parent status as we balance our hectic lives and our sense of responsibility to our families in the form of a box.... just add water!
And as far as maturity goes, well... that seems to be up for debate too, as it's become trendy in commercials to 'humorously' feature seemingly professional adults coveting and chastising each other's food choices like kids in the middle school cafeteria. Now, if that doesn't appeal to our latent insecurities ....
But that's precisely what's at the heart of all of this marketing, isn't it? It's not about feeding our bodies, it's about feeding our insecurities, our boredom, our emptiness that is only exacerbated by failing to truly nourish ourselves... body and soul.
Getting back into touch with what truly nourishes us takes time. As does preparing healthy food. There's no way around that.
But here's the thing... why did something so integral to our health, happiness and survival become such a chore in the first place? Why is tending to the expression of love and care for ourselves and families in the form of healthy food seen as an inconvenience?
Want to put fun back into food? Plan meals together! Shop for healthy food together! Explore new veggies or ethnic ingredients that you've never tried together. Cook together! Eat together! Enjoy the benefits of renewed energy from eating better together...
Don't have someone to be together with? You can still explore new things... cookbooks, ethnic markets ... connect with others on-line or in your community to share meals with.
Nourishing ourselves hits at the heart of our self love issues ... on so many levels. If your resistance to adopting healthier eating habits seems to be about more than convenience or expense, perhaps there are deeper issues at play.
I'll be addressing that in upcoming post.