Approximately 45 million U.S. Americans make the decision to diet each year. In the beginning they start strong, but by the third weigh- it’s back to take out that they don’t remember ordering, most of the time it’s because we think of dieting as a restriction from our needs and desires. We’re more likely to restrict ourselves from thinking about food, instead of considering what we put in our bodies. That is why the cycle of yo-yo dieting never ends, because the focus should not be on whatever foods have the least amount of calories and fat, but on how they make us feel emotionally AND physically.
I found this power of food while living in Greece for a semester. Shortly after arriving I noticed I had more energy, was sleeping better and felt good! Why? Because I was detoxing my body from all the processed filth I had been used to for so many years. Since I had arrived I had not touched anything that came in a bag or needed to be microwaved. There were plenty of fresh markets around to get my snacks from. I did not even have to feel as guilty about my diet cola addiction because restrictions from the European Union have forced some companies to use sugar cane. I was not going to restrict myself while I was abroad. Instead, I indulged on feta cheese, olives, Greek meat platters, the works! And as I came to appreciate my food, I came to appreciate my body and the way it preformed with different fuel.
There is cultural difference in the way Europeans and U.S. Americans eat. Europeans, and Greeks especially, bring passion to their food. You may go out to lunch and after a couple of hours of sharing food and conversation, it’s time to order dinner. In America you’re rushed out of the restaurant to make room for the next party. In Europe you may get your groceries from neighborhood shops and farmers markets. In America you can get everything you need from anywhere in the world. See a difference? Our European friends generally have a much more personal experience eating, but for us it is just a pit stop between point A and point B.
Since our meeting tomorrow (Don’t forget! Feb. 10th at 7:30pm in 344 Curry Student Center) is about what food means to us I wanted to share with you the experience that made me ask myself that same question. It took crossing the ocean to realize that I needed to attach meaning to my food for the benefit of my body, my society and my world.
It is time to ask yourself, what does food mean to me?