Friday, June 4, 2010

A little pre-weekend finger-wagging

Warning - I'm gonna get all preachy on you for a minute. 

Today its about commercials for food that feature people who can't believe that the item is healthy (it usually isn't) because it actually tastes good. 

"It CAN'T be healthy!  It tastes too good!" 

The one that got my goat this week was a woman eating cereal who was just amazed that the cereal was filled with fiber and nutrients (it's actually not) because all she could taste was honey and brown sugar!  And it reminded me about how fixated we are on how our food tastes, and how we feel entitled to food that tastes good when really we're only entitled to food.

A few years ago, I attended a lunchtime roundtable meeting featuring the incredible Laurel Blackburn, a trainer and business woman who not only inspires me as an athlete but also as a hard-working woman of integrity.

Anyway, she mentioned the concept of eating for performance, and it stuck with me.  I loved that idea - eating for function, eating purposefully, actually considering the physiological needs of your body before fueling it to get the most bang for your calorie bucks.  Since that day I can honestly say that functional eating has been a personal priority of mine.  Thanks Laurel for opening my eyes!

Anyway, since I started eating functionally, I started letting go of any expectation I had of food to be anything other than functional.  I no longer needed my food to taste good, it just needed to work.  That didn't happen over night, but gradually I began to appreciate food for its purpose and function, not whether it was something I was craving or felt entitled to.  There are so many ways that this has impacted my personal life that I can't go into them here.  You'll have to buy my book for that. :) 

But there is one thing that really stands out - entitlement.  I see such a feeling of entitlement among my peers concerning food. Seeing that cereal commercial made me wonder: do we even deserve food that tastes good?  I argue no.

You deserve access to food that will nourish your body, period.  You deserve to be loved, cared for, and safe.  You deserve to share a private joke with a friend that no one else gets.  You deserve to go through your day freely and enjoy the world around you, unless you have been convicted of a felony in which case you do not deserve that specific part.  But you don't deserve food that tastes good.  You just deserve food.

I know not many others share this opinion, and I'm not so bold as to say I never eat things just because they taste good or that I exist on some higher intellectual plane where I am immune to the delicious aroma of BBQ.  The food I eat does taste good to me, and I love creating and finding recipes that are highly nutritious and tasty.  But, I am really happy that I have gotten to a point where that is secondary to the function of the food specific to the requirements of my body.  So when I see people eating food and going on and on about how good it tastes, I feel sad.

I just needed to say that.

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