Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Food Frustrations

Food is obviously one of the most important aspects in our daily lives. Without it, we cannot sustain life. For me, food has become not only something of importance for living, but for for other aspects of life as well. Food is what everything pivots around-- conversation and company of good friends and family, exploration in travel, and just enjoying the basic element of life. Savoring food slows us down and brings us away from the daily grind. Enjoying time in the kitchen at the end of the day is something that Andrew and I do together almost daily. There is a joy in that companionship, over discovering new flavors, and challenging ourselves to new and innovative recipes.

My love for not just food, but good food comes directly from my mother, without a doubt. I think back to time with my mom's side of the family sitting at the dinner table for hours, eating, drinking, laughing, conversing, and just enjoying. I remember coming home from elementary school to a house filled with the smell of fresh French bread, ripping off a piece of bread from a baguette, and devouring it just as is because it was just that good. I think of hours over time spent sitting with my dad at my mom's bakery enjoying a flavorful afternoon cup of coffee along with one of my favorite cookies or pastries.

Food is not just food.

via Old English Company

In the past years, I have begun to see a startling trend. Food becomes restricted, becomes the enemy. Clearly, to be healthy individuals it becomes necessary to restrict the amount of food that we consume. It does no one any good to overeat. However, restricting food in other ways by excluding things from your diet is a trend that I will understand the least. Every few years it seems that we're "supposed" to exclude yet another thing from our diets or we will be deemed as unhealthy or simply not caring about what we put into our bodies. And then, the next year, it's fine again to eat that, but we need to exclude something else.

These food trends sadden and frustrate me. After all, we only live once, so why not enjoy all that there is to offer, but eat with moderation to remain healthy? Recently, the trend that has cropped up is the gluten-free diet. It is very possible that I'll get myself in trouble for posting my opinions on food trends, but it seems that these days no one can share their opinion without being considered offensive. Sure, there are benefits for some people in which a gluten-free diet makes most sense. However, studies show these benefits are not proven to make any difference for the majority of people's health. (Yes, I'm sure that there are articles that would say the opposite, but isn't that how the media always dictates food trends? I mean last year coffee was bad for you, and this year it's good for you!) In addition, most people who have gone gluten-free are self-diagnosed which in itself can be dangerous. In the majority of cases, when we exclude things from our diets, we lose out on important vitamins, fibers, fats, sugars, nutrients, etc.

Some of the recent arguments that I hear for a gluten-free diet have to do with digestive issues. Certainly there is a connection here, as we know that gluten affects those with Celiac disease. However, we seem to have forgotten that indigestion can be caused by other aspects-- processed foods, stress and anxiety, and an unbalanced diet-- all things that seem to plague the American society as a whole. As a nation, we eat a lot of junk, we don't slow down to eat, we cram too much to do into the day, and we teach our children that good food and water is gross as we feed them McDonald's and soft drinks. However, at the end of the day, each person can choose what they want to put into their bodies-- that is a personal choice that we all make.

via Hero Design Studio
I choose to eat gluten. I would be lost without bread (among many other things such as beer), and bread has flour which contains gluten. And you know what? I feel healthy. I also feel healthy because I eat in moderation, make sure to eat fruits and veggies along with my grains, dairy, and protein, and try to maintain an active lifestyle. It just works for me. However, if that doesn't work for you, I wish you would stop making my choice in gluten sound as though I am choosing a death sentence. Recently I've heard and read the terms nasty, horrible, bad, unhealthy, poisonous, harmful, and toxic as descriptors of bread or wheat. I feel as if those who have made the choice to go gluten-free continue to hammer on the idea that if I chose to eat gluten I am damaging my body. Not so here. I am perfectly fine and healthy when I eat gluten and would attest to that fact by divulging that in the past at least 10 years, I've only had to go to the doctor twice due to illness.

Often, I liken this trend to any other trend. The way I feel a bit awkward wearing boot cut jeans in a crowd of skinny jeans. The way Wegmans made me feel dirty for purchasing regular yogurt instead of Chobani after they demoted the regular yogurt to the bottom corner of a shelf and filled the rest of it with Greek yogurt. The way people looked at me as if I was crazy when I declared that I hated Lady Gaga when she was first all the rage.

The point is that we all make our own choices, and eating ALL foods is one that I've made. Let me enjoy my food. Don't make me feel bad about that when I shouldn't have to feel that way.

What do you think about food trends? Are they really as healthy as the media makes them out to be? Do you follow food trends?

7 comments:

  1. I agree with you on this- I find it hard to believe that any particular food that people have been eating for centuries is indeed bad for you in moderation. However, the key to that is eating what people ate long before overly processed foods came into play. When you are eating gluten-y foods that have been made from factory-produced elements, then you are asking for trouble because you body is going to have a harder time with those. I have been slowly trying to get my family more toward the whole foods side of things, which can be difficult when you are used to those pantry staples- crackers, bread- but simple label reading can help a lot. Fresh, whole foods are going to do you better than junk food every time.

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  2. I agree. Moderation is the key. Right now I'm on a cookie, ice cream, candy binge and when I stepped on the scale and saw that I had gained 10 lbs. I decided it was time to get off the merry-go-round. But I'm not going to cut out, just replace most of it with healthy food. This is my first time to read your blog. Saw you on etsy blog team

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  3. I'm so glad that someone wrote this. When everyone went all Atkin's and carb free back in the early 00's, I was pretty convinced that the world had gone crazy. Now we are demonizing bread because of the gluten and I stand firmly on the side of the carbs. I could not and would never want to give up bread! And I too am certain that my body is not allergic to gluten. I really hate that this is becoming a thing. Everything in moderation!

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  4. I definitely agree with this! I'm so tired of people telling me that bread or meat or whatever is bad for me. I'll eat what I want and enjoy it. Unless you have a specific health issue, eat what you like (in moderation, of course). Just be smart. Oh and also, all you vegans or glutan-frees, etc., keep your foodie opinions to yourself mmmk?

    New follower from etsy :)
    Brittany @ http://infinityampersand.blogspot.com/

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  5. I've never understood the trendy diet bandwagon, either. Obviously you shouldn't eat only bread all day long, but ruling it out completely is such a bummer when you don't have a real medical condition. If going on the other 13 flash-in-the-pan diets didn't give you the results you wanted, then why should this one? It's just so illogical.

    Like Kristen said about focusing more on whole foods, I do notice that I feel a lot better when I avoid overly processed items. But that's because processed foods have so many chemicals and GMOs that they're practically not food anyway. Those so-called "ingredients" are probably more to blame for food allergies than anything else. Other countries don't have those problems like we do, and it's because they eat real food.

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  6. I am not a fan of trends in general. Whether it be about foods or Lady Gaga(who is pretty much a crude modern day version of Madonna). I would hate to tag this along with race but I'm gonna do it. Caucasians have more body issues than any other ethnic group. Middle Class Caucasian women/girls are more likely to have some type eating disorder than any other group of people.

    I feel these food trends are directly related to that. Atkins Diet, South Beach diet, Paleo diet, Gluten Free diet are all promoted by people of means because poor people certainly can't purchase only fruits and veggies for every meal and other ethnicities don't share the same body hatred as some Caucasians do. I feel these trends mask the real issue which is people are trying to find 'healthy' ways to lose weight and become rail thin. As you mentioned most people DO NOT have Celiac disease or need to go gluten-free so what other reason could people be putting down gluten?

    Now, I do have a friend who doesn't have Celiac disease but is very sensitive to gluten and so she has cut back a lot because she was actually getting very sick for almost a year because of gluten foods. But, it doesn't mean she gives up bread.. She'll eat pizza and gluten stuff items everyone once in a while. I have reduced grains and stuff only because I was eating a lot and I feel less bloated when I do cut back but.. I'll still eat pizza and bread(my favorite things ever)

    I believe people use these diets to lose weight without exercising. What they don't understand is even if you are 'thin' you are still flabby and you don't have energy. You may look good in that bathing suit but you wouldn't be able to run if zombies were chasing you.

    I would rather be 150lbs and able to run than be eaten by zombies.

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  7. I agree totally with not understanding why people exclude entire food groups from their diets. I love food and will always love food. I work with some people at my 'day job' that have celiac disease and one woman in particular whines and complains every time we have any kind of pot luck at work since most of everything has gluten in it. Here the kicker she never brings anything she can eat and enjoy she expects her coworkers to bring only gluten free food which I think is a bit unfair. Just because she has this unfortunate disease does not mean we all have to suffer for it.

    When I was going through my vegetarian stage I never expected anyone to bring food that had no meat and always brought something that I could enjoy and still socialize with coworkers and enjoy whatever occasion. I also never made anyone feel bad for choosing to eat meat. My choice was just that, my choice!

    My guilt for chicken, really any flying animal (they will have to be soulless creatures lol),has since diminished which is probably good since now I have had bariatric surgery and eat a lot of protein but balance it the best I can ... lets face it .. I still love food and still get to enjoy it but in smaller quantities! :)

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