I love food. Yesterday’s post which outlined all the eating we’ve been enjoying while in New York probably points to that. As would many other posts.
And it is the truth. I love food. I enjoy it. I celebrate it. I cook it. I read about it. I share it.
Food is a joy. When I think about different periods in my life, there is always a soundtrack of the music I was listening to, and the meals I’d cooked with love, or shared with family and friends.
There are meals that I have had that are still spoken about – years later. ‘Hey, remember that first meal we had at that gorgeous little place in Venice? I had incredibly gnocchetti with seafood?‘ I might say, to which Aaron would reply ‘Yes! And I had the four cheese gnocchi. God that was good. So good.’ That meal was consumed in 2001.
And our daughter recalls fondly the taste of the plums that would fall from the tree in the back garden of our old house, and how we would sit out there in summer and gorge on the fruit, the juice dripping down our chins.
This is the language of food.
So when I read this the other day in my Facebook feed, I was just shocked. I read it with complete and utter disbelief.
Why, why, why would anyone deliberately make food taste terrible, bland or boring?
There is nothing – NOTHING – in this piece of so-called advice that is useful. There is nothing that provides smart advice for how to eat healthfully or listen to your body for hunger cues. There is nothing that says food can be a part of life that is enjoyable, fun, non-threatening and delicious.
This advice makes food sound like it is something to be feared. It makes food sound like the enemy. But worse, it does not explain how food can be part of a healthy way of life. It does not talk about portion sizes, or balanced eating, or how to incorporate a little of everything into an eating plan.
It is restrictive. It is scary and it makes me feel so sad.
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I had no idea what it would mean to my diet. Would I suddenly have a list of restricted or banned foods that I could never enjoy again? Would I need to completely change the way I ate? Would food become a source of stress rather joy?
I have learnt that the joy of food is not lessened at all because of diabetes. I still can eat whatever I want. And I do. My diet is healthy, balanced, full of fresh foods, fun, enjoyable and never, ever boring. And there is no such thing as a taboo food.
I am just so glad that the advice I have taken – as a person with diabetes, but even more so, as a person who loves food – is that there is no need to fear food. I am so glad that what I eat – and what my family eats – is based on what we like to eat, what we want to eat and what works for us. It may not work for you, but it works for us. (The kidlet could probably do without Brussels sprouts, but I am convinced that I will win her over on this one!)
This blog is NOT about advice. Nothing that I write should be considered as something to follow or as advice. So I am going to give you some. Don’t take the dietary advice of a celebrity personal trainer. If you need some help working out what to eat that makes you feel happy and content, see an accredited practising dietitian. If you have problems with your relationship with food, speak with your GP, and ask for a referral to a psychologist.
But whatever you do, enjoy what you eat. Life is too short to eat over-cooked chook.
By the way, here is an awesome way to cook Brussels sprouts: finely slice them, then sauté in a fry pan with a little olive oil and garlic. After about 1 minute (absolutely no longer), toss in some toasted pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds, whatever you have handy). To be fancy, add some bacon cut into thin strips. (To be EXTRA fancy, make it candied bacon by crisping up the bacon in a little maple syrup first.)