Archive for February, 2010

A New Outlook on Food

Over the past few weeks I have read several books that have dramatically changed the way I view food. In a way I wish I had never read any of these books so that I could remain in a state of ignorant bliss. But, in reality, I have been far from blissful when it comes to food for a long time. I can relate to the line in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me delivered by Fat Bastard “I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.”

So what are these books? The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler, MD, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food and Food Rules all by Michael Pollan. Kessler’s book explains the science behind cravings and how food science has perfected the ability to manipulate the body’s drive for fat, sugar and salt. In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan traces food from creation to the plate for three different models: industrial, pastoral and hunter/gatherer. With In Defense of Food, Pollan builds on the prior book and explains how the Western diet has created an epidemic of obesity and all of its related disorders. Food Rules is a short read that sets out rules such as “avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.”

To round out my education I watched Food, Inc. which is a good place to start if you are not inclined to read the above mentioned books. I watched the movie with Hot Momma and she was somewhat surprised. Now my wife could just as easily be called Hot Hippie Momma even though she has neither hairy armpits nor Birkenstock sandals. I used to make fun of her when she would talk about going to Whole Foods but now I am on board. She has been thrilled with my change of heart.

I guess my book might be titled The Fat Daddy’s Dilemma. I love food. I love to cook and I am a pretty good eater. But, as is often the case, my enjoyment for food has translated into shopping in the Big and Tall section of the department store. I hate clothes shopping. I ended up buying a few 3XL shirts recently and was humiliated. Seems like an easy fix, right? Stop eating all of the junk food and start eating right and exercising. But the problem is most of the foods that appear relatively healthy and wholesome are far from it. If you look at the labels for most items in a grocery store they are filled with frankenfood ingredients developed in a laboratory.

I am much more conscious of my food. I still battle my drive for fat, sugar and salt and sometimes I lose out; but at least now I am aware.  I have a wonderful, supportive wife who shares my desire to change our diet. I also want to be a good role model to my girls. Thing 1 eats broccoli and salads, Thing 2 loves chick peas. Tonight I watched a show about food manufacturing and Thing 1 asked me “what’s a Twinkie?” Hot Momma and I were so proud that our five year old has yet to have the cream-filled cake treat.

I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.