How What You Eat Influences Your World View
Note: This series is not intended as a judgement of anyone’s food choices.
In Part One of this series, the topic was viewing food from a sense of bounty vs. a sense of scarcity.
Part Two considers why it is so difficult to change our eating habits, even when we have been advised that what we are eating is killing us.
Have you ever tried to change your diet? It’s hard. Our emotions, childhood memories, traditions, cultures, and sense of social connection all greatly influence our choices of food. As adults, most of us tend to eat the same foods that we grew up eating. Diet is a sensitive issue for most people, and any suggestion of change is usually met with defensiveness.
Humans crave sweet, salty, creamy, and savory, and experience pleasure when these sensations meet our tastebuds. But preference for favorite foods goes beyond our physical sense of taste; being asked to cut down on or eliminate favorite foods can feel like a threat to our “sense of self.” Pizza is not just pizza, it’s a part of our movie night. Spaghetti and meatballs at Grandma’s house is a Sunday night tradition. Birthdays mean gooey chocolate cake with gobs of frosting. Thanksgiving requires that we eat turkey, and that we keep eating even though we’re full. A clambake means summertime. A picnic summons up hotdogs and hamburgers. Soul food provides a connection to the perseverance of our ancestors. Take away the food and take away the memories.
Logically, we understand that happiness is not found in a bag of potato chips. Sure, there’s temporary happiness when the salt and fat hit our tastebuds, filling that primal need; but that fleeting pleasure is often followed by admonishment from our inner critic when we step on the scale. And while we enjoy the camaraderie of family and friends when we share a meal that is traditional to our culture, we suffer as we watch our loved ones die prematurely from the complications of heart disease and diabetes.