photo courtesy of exploringthemind.com
Disclaimer : easier said than done.
This is what we imprudently convince ourselves each time we, yet again, reach our fingertips toward that plate of French fries or bowl of tortilla chips. We gaze longingly at the tantalizing culinary delights that stand before us, attempting to refuse the enveloping scent which so brazenly dashes into our sensory system before we have the time to try to reject it. An internal struggle occurs within us, our rational selves fighting for our willpower, and our taste buds selfishly wanting to further indulge themselves. But what we often don’t realize is that we are not alone in this struggle. In fact, I would wager an irrationally large sum of money on the fact that most probably everyone else at the table is experiencing this same debacle.
But why must we always want more? Even when our stomachs are yelling at the top of their lungs to us that they will soon no longer tolerate those superfluous and unnecessary French fries, we still want more.
I would like to present a scapegoat to our irrational indulgences – are we nothing more than a manifestation of our ancestors who were so intelligently designed to think with a “survival of the fittest” mentality? A “one man for himself” mentality? Way back when, to attain food meant you must expend energy. In other words, way back when, we were not spoiled in the manner we are today. Today we are able to mindlessly wander into the grocery story and pick up a frozen meal which we can mindlessly throw into the microwave so we can mindlessly munch while we mindlessly stare into a box with moving pictures.
This is quite dissimilar to the means by which we used to have to go about receiving our sustenance. Our agile ancestors used to have to walk for possibly hours in the hopes of finding something which may fuel them. Now the act of obtaining food requires no expenditure of energy. It requires no physical movement. The most energy we have to expend to attain food today is the energy it takes to move our fingers to dial – oh wait…now we have voice commands- the phone number for the nearest pizza delivery service. Food is literally at our fingertips.
Food is no longer understood for what it truly is – fuel. Food was intended to supply us with the energy we need to keep living. While this still remains true, that food is necessary to keep us alive, we now don’t have to expend the same amount of energy to retrieve our fuel. To put it simply, we have become spoiled. We no longer have to work to attain our food, and thus, food no longer has to be tied to a sense of accomplishment. Should we not feel as though we deserve the food we are consuming?
It would seem to be quite sensible to eat according to the amount of energy we need to sustain ourselves on each particular day. Yet today, whether we sit chained to a cubicle, or a car, or a couch, we, for the most part, still will have three meals of the same size, plus two or three snacks. But was that necessary? Did our body truly require the consumption of those calories?
Wouldn’t it be more rational, and less gluttonous, to eat less when we have been physically inactive and to eat more when we have been physically active? Wouldnt we then maintain a healthy weight because we would eat simply to replace the calories we burn off throughout our day?
We must filter our cravings from fuel. We must learn to recognize our basic needs. Yet, I must make it clear that the occasional epicurean indulgence should in no way be seen as sinful in this day and age. When we are inundated by mind-boggling culinary creations, it can be difficult to not partake. Nonetheless, we have let ourselves become spoiled. And it is time that we redefine food so we can redefine our health.