Friends with food

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I think I am a little vain. I imagine some of my friends’ eye brows furrowing thinking, a little? I wouldn’t blame them. At the moment I am on a default exercise programme. Now before you get excited when I say exercise I mean the kind that will not break a sweat. Don’t get me wrong I love sweating as much as the next guy but if it involves pain I will take the easy way out. My exercise regimen consists of a 30 minute walk 5 days a week. I call it exercise because when I talk about it to people who spend a lot of time in vehicles and chairs, they are impressed, and maybe a little envious or not. If you’re on the other side of the divide and you break real sweat through adrenaline inducing work outs, a one hour walk might make your eyes roll but hey I don’t care. I will keep walking for vain reasons like I’m losing inches. If walking does what jogging could do and with less pain, I will take it. Anyway the vain part of the story stems from what I think about losing inches. What can I say I love it! Every time I talk about it I have this celebratory tone like woohoo! I’m getting smaller! On the surface I am thrilled about being smaller but deep down the thing that makes me do mental cart wheels is I can look at all food sinful, eat it even and enjoy it thoroughly, knowing full well it will not remain with me for too long. For someone who loves food this is like having your cake and eating it too. Allow me to digress a little but I reckon the expression would have made more sense had it been having your cake and ice cream. I keep asking, who is this who thinks cake is for having and not eating. In case you’re wondering; I am whetting your appetites so that I can talk about food.
My favourite scene in Eat, Pray, Love was when Elizabeth was in Italy having Pizza. She was tearing into a pizza and her new found Swedish friend couldn’t shake the guilt off having the indulgence of a large pizza because her pants were getting tighter. Then Elizabeth said we are going to enjoy the pizza and thereafter go shopping for bigger pants. I loved it! I mean really how liberating is it to realise that we shouldn’t be defined by external things. I once had some philosophical moments and I thought we should treat food like we would our friends. It made lots of sense back then, I don’t know if it does now especially since you can’t eat your friends. This is the part where I ask for your indulgence. In my epiphany I thought love your food but don’t depend on it entirely. Food is a necessity, it tastes good (depending) but it is not everything. Do not rely on food to sort out your emotional issues. Of course food especially sweets are amazingly comforting when you are in an emotional funk but the truth is if your friend figured out that you constantly go to them when you have emotional issues they would grow sick of you. Since they are your friend they might react by being passive aggressive and avoiding you. Food may take the passive aggressive route too but it won’t be so forgiving. It will hide in your body as fat and kill you slowly.
It has been said variety is the spice of life. Every once in a while you need to make new friends if only to broaden your experience of humanity. When your experience of humanity is broadened your adaptability increases. Adaptability is essential for survival. Same thing with food you need to try new foods every so often. Your palate needs to experience different tastes so as to make you more adaptable to the environment. You might end up in Cambodia where their food philosophy is apparently ‘bitter is better than sweet’. If someone gives you the opportunity to experience some novel food, you grab that opportunity. You never know where life will take you so even your stomach should be prepared for anything.
Then there are the toxic friends who do you no good. Yeah sure, they are loads of fun but they leave you high and dry. At this point I would like to clarify food includes drinks. You keep saying I don’t want to hang out with X anymore because every time I do trouble bites me in the behind. Foods or drinks with high sugar content fall into this category. When the sugar wears off, you crash and burn. At work there was a kid’s birthday party and there were marshmallows. My colleague and I helped ourselves to the marshmallows and I figured since I don’t enjoy the spongy super sugary taste of marshmallows as is, we should toast them. Personally I think in the case of marshmallows once you go dark you should never have to go back. So we went looking for some fire and well we decided to use the birthday candles to toast the marshmallows. Don’t ask! Anyway so we put our marshmallows on forks and we toasted them and you know the result, some ooey-gooey bundle of goodness. We were so pleased with our genius that we high-fived each other when we were bragging to our colleagues about our treat. Besides the marshmallows we had earlier had some cake with jam spread on it so you can imagine sugar on sugar. At first I was totally high! I mean you should have seen me super charged past 3p.m. Normally, the average person wishes the clock was a horse so you could kick it so it goes faster but then time decides to be a donkey at that time. Later on I was heading to town for a meeting and I ran into traffic and by the time I got out of the matatu I was so mad. I had to calm myself down throughout the entire 15 minute walk to the venue. In spite of my best efforts to calm down I was still the crankiest person at that meeting. Newton wasn’t kidding, what comes up must come down. I won’t even get started on alcohol because everybody knows first high then dry and literally because you need to hydrate afterwards. Toxic friends will drain you so the best thing is to avoid them same goes for food. Toxic food and drink should be avoided. Unfortunately some of us are weaker than others and we can’t entirely avoid these things, one word: moderation.
I always say moderation is key (if you haven’t heard me say it, I’ve said it to myself). There is a programme airing on a local TV station called Slim Possible that follows some women’s weight loss journeys. I know some people are having a blast being mean and criticizing them and I will admit my constant thought is “why let the weight get so out of control only to suffer later?” Honestly I feel sad that someone should have to repent for having a piece of cake during the week. Once, a friend blogged about his culinary creation and posted it on face book and the description was mouth watering to say the least. The funny thing is it sparked a debate on calories and death by heart attack and I contributed to the piece saying food is not the problem, we are. We lack control, we ignore all the signals our bodies send to us telling us to stop and then we blame it on innocent bacon. I mean bacon doesn’t call to you saying come and eat me and even if your mind is playing tricks on you and bacon is beckoning, shake your head, say no and live to enjoy bacon another day. Food is to be enjoyed but if you take advantage of food there are repercussions. Go on enjoy some food with friends today!

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One response »

  1. l loved that scene with the pizza and jeans as well! They say many last words are ‘I wish I had eaten more icecream’.. True about the fact that food is not the problem it’s how we perceive and treat it

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