Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Do You Actually Enjoy What You Eat?

As I write this, I have what is quickly becoming one of my favorite television shows playing; Good Eats, where Alton Brown plays with the chemistry set he calls a kitchen. With my non-diet, new, temporary food restrictions and my favorite holiday coming up, food is definitely weighing on my mind. For much of America, it also weighs on our waistlines and for creative people, it can weigh on our drive to create.

(shirts swiped from Jeph Jacques at Questionable Content)

I can't remember where I heard the advice I used to stop over eating. It was originally in reference to somebody quitting smoking. The advice was to make a ritual of it, to really enjoy smoking; make a point of noticing the fire from the lighter, the taste of the smoke, the way it fills your lungs. By taking the time to enjoy smoking, you start to need less of a cigarette to get your fix.

The same advice works for food. Take your time to enjoy it. Eat something that you really like and take the time to really taste it. It's hard to do at first. So much of what we eat is designed to be eaten quickly and we eat it so fast, we don't realize we're full. Also, taking the time to enjoy your food means you may realize that you don't really like something that you've been eating every day for years.

I started taking my time over food more than a year ago. With a recent pregnancy, I came to discover that if I didn't eat slowly, I wouldn't keep it down at all. Once I started actually tasting what I ate, I started to realize that I really, really didn't like much of what I'd eaten every day for several years. For instance, I really detest most types of french fries. I also really hate instant oatmeal. In fact, I stopped liking so many foods that I had to discover new things to eat. A mostly dairy free diet these days has also sent me searching for alternatives.

Not surprisingly, I've discovered that fresh foods taste better. Removing Ranch dressing and cheese from my sauce options, I've become much more open to fruits, vegetables and vinaigrettes. I've found myself opting for a salad instead of a cheeseburger and not regretting it. Good pasta and good sauces have to be able to stand on their own and not be masked by cheese. I'll admit, I've found myself becoming something of a food snob. But that's ok, I'm slowly becoming a slender food snob.

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