Monday, December 19, 2011

Morality of food.

(trigger alert)

I had this internal conversation with myself yesterday:
"I really should give up soda. It would be an easy way to cut calories and it's really not good for me. I should just stick to tea. Huh. If I drink coffee with cream and sugar, isn't that the same amount of calories as a soda, or maybe more? But coffee has "health benefits". Tea and coffee are always seen as "good for you" and soda is bad..but I like soda, dammit! What's so bad about it?"

I then asked my husband to "indulge my neuroses" and asked him why food is so morally weighted. He responded thusly (keep in mind there is some humor meant):
"You've never been to Europe, right? In America, if I'm at a bar and there is last call and I think about having one more drink, someone will say, 'Are you sure you should have another one?' When I was in Estonia and this happened, my friends would say, 'Well, why shouldn't you have another?' The Europeans shipped all the Puritans over here and we are stuck with those leftover values. If it feels good, it must be bad for you. Especially for women, you shouldn't indulge or enjoy things too much, whether food, alcohol, or sex. It's unseemly. But, in my opinion, food is food and life is short."


I had never thought about how much cultural values really affect my daily behavior (I mean, really, who thinks about sociology on a daily basis?) But it really is true. Think about people who live life on a large scale; they enjoy their food, they may be a tad raucous/tacky, they enjoy a drink and may even come across as very sexual beings. These kinds of people make us uncomfortable. Growing up, I learned not to be "too much", whether too loud, sexy, or, of course, fat. What's funny is that I am at the heaviest weight of my life and my husband loves my body. He wants me to be sexy and enjoy life and food and not worry so much. I think it can be really difficult to break through these ingrained ideas, especially if their are propagated by family, friends, or the media in general.

So, I try to continue being as intuitive as possible and be caring for my body by honoring my cravings, hungers, or hankerings and not feel one bit of guilt. It almost feels like giving myself a hug.

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