What’s Up with Feeling Guilty about Food? 5

I actually think that I am going to implode one day and it won’t be because of the seriously meaningful or tragic stuff that could set me off.  It’ll be because once again for the umpteenth time I’m around one or more women talking about how guilty they feel when when they eat whatever food – be it a sliver of steak at a barbecue, a dessert helping, or a plate full of stir fried veggies and fish. Honestly!  (This reminds me of when me and several friends went out to see a male stripper and one friend, who knew were we were going, kept her head down basically for the entire time!  Don’t go to a strip club if you don’t plan to look!)

It doesn’t matter if the woman works out every day and has a personal trainer and has weight proportionate to her height (according to U.S. standards), women talk about their guilt while eating whatever they’re eating and even on to the next day after the food has been digested.  “I shouldn’t have had  _____ (fill-in the blank), now I’m going to have to do ___# of sit-ups, or run an extra ___miles to make up for it.    Gr-rr-rr-hh.

Now, if the exercise devotees who walk an hour (or more) per day, in addition to working out on their exercise equipment, etc., can’t have half-a cup-cake or a scoop of ice cream in peace – then who can?  What have we come to that having food, other than rice cakes, makes us feel guilty?  You can’t even have salads in peace because the food police caution you about cheese, croûtons, and other additives that take salad away from being a good food to being a dangerous food. 

Only in a land of abundance (for many but not fot all), can people make eating something to feel guilty about!

I refuse to feel guilty about food.  I like food.  I like:

  • selecting it (always aiming for a variety of colors and trying a new veggie, fish or herb),

  • planning meals (home-cooked or dining out – what shall we have tonight?)

  • preparing it (slicing and dicing – I love the song of the knife and crushing herbs and sprinkling seasonings), cooking it – (combining ingredients in new and tried-and-true ways)

  • plating it (at home using the various dishes and linens I have acquired from Mom, Mar-shalls, various thrift stores and as gifts)

  • serving it (I enjoy serving food to husband, children, granddaughter and friends)

  • the presentation of it (some chefs really go all out; I admire them even though I don’t find it necessary to replicate their flair at home – no stacking veggies for me!)

(Note to hubby: the aforementioned does not let you off the hook for also learning to “love the food” when it’s your night to cook.)

I like the aromas of food (pungent, savory, and sweet). I love the tastes of food – silky, robust, soft, and chewy. I dig the whole experience of eating (don’t even mind cleaning up afterward).

I’m all for the Slow Foods Movement and I worship at the altars of the Food Network, the Best Recipe, Cooks Illustrated, the Wednesday Food section of the Globe, the perfectpantry blog and other food blogs, cookbooks and websites that have upped my game in cooking.

Good food makes me feel loved even when I’m cooking for myself.  I am also blessed that I grew up and have lived most of my life with modest means so I can take a few ingredients and make them safisfy.  I always give thanks before I eat because I am always grateful to have food to eat.

So, please, women – stop moaning and groaning when you eat; instead, feel blessed that you have food, feel proud if you select to nibble instead of nosh thereby limiting your intake, but don’t ever, ever feel guilty about having food.  And, if you just can’t help but feel guilty – keep your guilt to yourself. You’re giving me indigestion!

(Note: the paranoid twin of the Gemini who writes this blog wonders if having people feel guilty about eating just might be preparing us for food shortages that will be coming but let’s not go there.)

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

5 thoughts on “What’s Up with Feeling Guilty about Food?

  • Jim

    I don’t know, I guess my own guilt about eating comes when I realize that I’m eating as a substitution for something else. Needing something, but asking for it from the comforts of my mouth instead of from someone else’s or from my heart. I think an uncomplicated relationship to food is very hard to come by because of how we are taught and untangling that relationship is a lifetime’s work for a lot of people just because it is also a natural and healthy part of our lives. I certainly enjoy reading about your joy. Keep telling it.

  • Candelaria

    thanks for your comment. I think it’s quite easy to have “an uncomplicated relationship with food.” We have to learn to resist the machine that spews at us to think about food more than it ever does to think, analyze, or be good people.

  • Amber

    Well mommy I love this entry but it also makes me a little jealous, I wish you took an interest in cooking the way you do now maybe 15 years ago when I was still home…my point is when are you coming to visit? Me and Saige are hungry; lets go eat!

    I did cook well when you were growing up, daughter.  What do you mean? (C)

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