You don’t have to look very far to see indicators that maybe we don’t have the best relationship with food. Most people are overweight, unhealthy, and making little to no effort to change those things. These are, presumably, good people who want to do what’s best for themselves and their families.
The problem with our relationship with food is that it serves as both fuel and as pleasure, and the pleasure aspect hijacks the fuel aspect. How often do you eat what you need rather than what you want?
I get as much pleasure from food as anyone else. I had mandarin gelato in Rome a few days ago that was unspeakably delicious. And even though I eat the same thing every day when I’m not traveling, I really do love my sardines and Chipotle. But I always think of food as fuel primarily.
There’s a range of entertainment, from positive stuff like physical activity and museum-hopping down to doing methamphetamine. Each of these has positive and negative aspects, but the former side of the scale is overwhelmingly positive, while the latter is overwhelmingly negative.
I’d put food somewhere below TV but above drugs. Despite what the news headlines might lead you to believe, most people you know will die earlier than necessary because of their diet. It’s not going to be terrorism, traffic accidents, or murder. It’s going to be their food.
Food as entertainment is the problem. We eat not to nourish our bodies, but for that quick rush that sugar brings, for the novelty of something new, or to comfort ourselves. And, in doing so, we slowly make ourselves less healthy. The human body can handle a certain amount of sugar and white flour, but we routinely go above and beyond that limit.
And the memories of those foods are so insignificant compared to other memories. The value of any such memories are probably based more on the company the food was shared with than the actual food. Think about this– if you could go back through your history and remove every dessert you’ve ever eaten, would you? You’d lose the memories, but you’d also be healthier, have less fat, and have a longer life expectancy.
Be careful using food for entertainment. I’m not saying to never do it, only to think of it primarily as fuel and to eat accordingly. You’ll be glad you did, and although your friends and family might rib you for eating a different diet, they’ll be happy to have you happy and healthy longer.
Photo is a recreated dining room on Deshima, in Nagasaki, Japan. I love the European furnishings in a Japanese room. Totally worth a visit next time you’re in southern Japan.