I am vegetarian. I am vegan. I am gluten free. I am lactose intolerant. I am pescatarian. I am all kosher. I am sugar free, fat free......... fun free?
It has been said that the first weeks after the celebration of Christmas and New Year the guilt of indulging in food and drinking get bad to us and we run to join a diet program or a gym routine as soon as our leftovers are finish.
I don't see any wrong with doing that, but there is a certain guilt that accompanies the 'eating' these days that I don't like.
Food to me is more than just what we put in our bellies when we feel hungry. Is not just about nourishing and feeding our bodies, although it does that. Food is much more than that. For thousands of years since humans occupied the earth food has been a way through which we easily break social barriers, economical barriers and status barriers with each other.
Food is an invitation to the table to come and enjoy each other's company , feed our bodies and refresh our souls.
We celebrate with food. Food join us in our mourning and painful circumstances and of course we bless each other in the presence of the food.
Food was never meant to be something we focused .... "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food...... " Matthew 6:25 NIV
Yes, food is about 'the life that it gives' not 'the worry that it implies.' Somehow these days we have managed to squeeze all the life out of food and all we are left is counting calories and chewing rabbit food.
There is no longer life in getting together. We spend too much of our precious time explaining to the waiter or ourselves what we would like to avoid from the menu. We shy of food that we might be judged for consuming it. 'Oh, you eat red meat?' 'The only meat I have is chicken or fish, even that rarely!' 'Not desert for me, I have to run two days to burn up that sucker!'
Food has become an obsession and when something becomes an obsession it consumes us and controls us. Some of us food controls by seeing it as evil and we spend hours picking every mouthful to bits making the meals time a pain and burden for us and others .
Many use food to comfort and fill a void that food will never fill. Ether side food has become the jail and we are the prisoner. We will never enjoy life if we have that sort of relationship with food.
What makes all these thing even worse is the beautiful pictures we like and praise on social media of 'clean eating.' They are just as misguided to my opinion. The plates may look pretty and full of mouth watering ingredients, but what the picture doesn't show often is that the person is eating alone and food was not meant to be eaten alone.
Growing up in Albania food was scarce, but when we sat on the floor around a oval short legged table to eat we thought about more than what was put in front of us. Food was much more than food. Food was the memories, the sharing, the laughter and the pure savouring of all what was happening around the table in its fullness. Food was just one instrument inside the symphony of the 'meal.'
We looked less at our plates and more at each other. We thought more about the stories and life than how much calories we consumed or what to leave uneaten. When food becomes something else than food than not only our bodies suffer, but our souls and lives tumble too. Food becomes a stumbling block to meeting with friends , enjoying the company of peoples and to celebrating life.
We become shadows staying behind screens with a pretty plates, but empty souls.
No my friend, that's not how our relationship with food should be. Let's respect each other food preferences, but let's not let food separate and deprave us from the gathering together. Lets not let food mess not only our bellies, but our souls too.
I am tired of being ashamed of liking puddings, meat and a good bowl of pasta occasionally. It has become the righteous stick we measure each other these days. We judge each other by the contents on the plate and not the substance of our souls. Lets not let food consume us, consume our thoughts, feelings and lives.
Let food be there to relish our table as we gather with our families, friends and in faith.
Let us come to the table with the purpose of feeding our souls and our lives with the gift of each other. Food is for the body lets not make it more important than life. Yes, lets use food to nourish our bodies, but lets make sure that our souls are not left neglected and drying because of that.
These days I am trying to see food from a different perspective
I see food to nourish, strengthen and feed my body, not to control and manipulate it.
Sometimes, a little bit of what you fancy does you good and food that is taken with thanksgiving and shared with love is the best way to enjoy life.