I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Pleasure in Eating


From Maxine, “Dieting is a way to improve your health, enhance your appearance, and live on food you wouldn’t feed a warthog.” I love that crabby old lady! She speaks the truth, man, I tell ya! Ha-ha!

When I read Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon PHD, I was astounded by the part about being conscious/present and enjoying your food and how that simple change can actually allow your body to absorb MORE NUTRIENTS?!!! Yeah, that was so rad! And I think it’s true. I mean, I know that society preaches the whole, “Eat to live don’t live to eat” thing, but I do not! But I have friends who feel that way. To them, “It’s just food” is a statement that makes sense. To me that statement is offensive!

Growing up a poor kid I didn’t crave candy and soda (though I did love me some “now and laters”), I wanted crisp, fresh veggies and salads and fruits! Those were true treats for me! If we bought a bunch of bananas at the store in the morning? They’d be gone by lunch…gone! I didn’t have a big family, either. My lil’ bro was born when I was 5 and my sister when I was 9, so there’s plenty of years spread out there. I know my mom & dad did what they could with what they had (my motto, always). Mostly our dinners consisted of some type of frozen generis(generic foods used to come in yellow boxes with black writing when I was little) veggies, some type of minute rice (though not always or that often) and ground beef. I don’t remember having chicken or any other type of meat very often and fresh stuff was a rarity. About every other week or so my dad would take whatever leftovers were in the fridge (all of the above ingredients) and mix them in a pot with cream of mushroom soup. He dubbed the concoction, “Goup!” It was my enemy! I hated “Goup” so much and he knew it! But when you’re poor you don’t have other options or choices. You eat or you don’t. So many dinners with lima beans I had to cry and gag my way through. It was either that or go to bed. Ack!

Growing up this way made me grateful and taught me to take pleasure in anything I ate. So when my husband and I first started actually cooking at home? It was miraculous! Flavors! Textures! Shiny rainbows of fruits and vegetables! If there was ever a reason to get religious, that would have been it for me! Ha! It all began with my husband wanting to try to make an omelet. We bought all of these veggies and in the end made massive omelets that we’d have to cut up to share and eat. Later we used Alton Brown and Rachel Ray cookbooks for recipes as well as inspiration. Once we took off those training wheels though, we started to truly experiment! Sure, there were a few failures, but you can always go get take out if all else fails, ya know? So we have fun with it and the reward is threefold! We get to make this magical creation together, enjoy all of the textures and aromas and finally sit down and eat! Woo!

Of course, I do get cravings. Pretty much at the exact same time every month. It’s always the same, too! It’s always bread, chocolate and a roast beef sandwich. Always. Nutritionally I know why the red meat (I never eat the stuff except when I get that craving) would be wanted, but bread and chocolate? Ah, I’ll chalk those up to my love of carbs! Ha! I always lose it when people say carbs are bad. I always chime in with, “Entire cultures and nations have been built upon the foundations of rice, pasta and bread! None of us would have been born without them!” as though it is a personal offense to me. Strangely, I have never made bread by hand. I did it once in a bread machine, but I wasn’t impressed with the results and gave up after that. My husband longs to make his own bread. We have books even! Ha-ha!

There are still some things that I feel left out about. Like seafood. It seems so vast and varied and socially acceptance and fabulous. That is until I try to eat some. Bleghck! I keep trying and I keep hatin’! It’s usually a texture thing, but some stuff just tastes bad to me, too. People flip out when they hear I don’t eat seafood. My husband’s family is from Maine, y’all! It’s hard! They look at me like some kind of weirdo-serial killer because of this. When we went out there, they had their big lobster dinner thing and I was fucking horrified! All of the cracking and sucking and picking and…sorry, I must stop or I’ll be sick. Anyway, I felt like I was watching a massacre. I know this is a tradition for them and I was trying my best to be all smiles and love, but it was a classic case of culture shock, I think.

I grew up on pretty bland food, too. So my palette hadn’t been exposed to much until I met my husband. His family would go to Indian Buffet and this fab Szechuan place (RIP Szechuan Garden, you are truly missed), not to mention real Mexican food! Oh my love! All I’d ever had was friggin’ Taco Bell and Mexican food that is not! It’s tasty when I am in the mood, but I’d much rather have a true enchilada from my fave local place! Now? Now I’ve tried cuisines from many nations and cultures and it’s so fun and exciting! Even if I don’t like something, it’s an adventure! And luckily one we can afford about once a month.

As I get older and wiser and have found that it really is the simpler things in life that matter most, I take in and enjoy things like never before. When I walk in my neighborhood, I smell the flowers and take in their colors and shapes, too. I smile at people and say, Hello! When I sit down for a meal, I savor and enjoy each bite. And since choosing to enjoy it more, I fully grasp now what full feels like for me and this helps me with not only eating, but shopping for food, too. While I occasionally suffer from eyes-bigger-than-my-belly syndrome, it has greatly decreased since adopting HAES/Intuitive Eating techniques.

What do you enjoy? What gives you the most pleasure? Has maturing changed your food preferences? Tell me about it! =0)


posted under Fat Acceptance, Food
14 Comments to

“Pleasure in Eating”

  1. On March 2nd, 2011 at 12:27 pm Dani Says:

    I also grew up eating the same sorts of food — and I also clearly recall the generic packaging of the off-brand pasta, soup and boxed stuff! Ha, it was so discouraging-looking!! 🙂

    I never craved junky sorts of treats as a kid, either. I already got my quota of processed stuff so why would I crave it in a rainbow-coloured or candy-coated format? I remember things like cherries, oranges and fresh juice seeming so exotic and fancy.

    So after years of eating things that were not nourishing or palatable, nowadays meals are an experience of primary joy. I never understand it when people say they “are so busy they forgot to eat,” “will eat whatever”, etc. It’s just beyond my ken! I love mealtimes.

    Now that I am in the position to buy and make what I want I don’t think I could ever get tired of veggies and fruits and all the simple and yet lovely stuff one is so often deprived of on an impoverished budget. I’ll never forget those days and everytime I eat something decent and nourishing it feels like I am conquering a portion of lingering dread remnant from that time.

  2. On March 2nd, 2011 at 12:58 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    See I am just now embracing my childhood. I am realizing, especially in this economy, that there were hidden lessons to be had in having to get by on very little. Since opening my own cafe and now living strictly off of my husband’s income has been such an eye opener. Having to pare everything down and decide what’s most important and all. But yes, I’m still madly in love with fresh fruit and veg. No two ways about it! =0)

  3. On March 2nd, 2011 at 12:53 pm Twistie Says:

    (giggles!) My family three versions of ‘goup.’ There was dump soup (take everything you’ve got on hand and dump it in a pot with water or stock to make soup), throw casserole (throw a bit of everything in the fridge into a casserole dish with bechemel – because Mom would have DIED faster than use a can of soup even though she was not above freeze-dried potatoes – and make a casserole), and gop… which was pretty much the same concept only fried up in a skillet. I still make all three now and again when I lack inspiration and have a lot of ends of things in the fridge.

    The main difference is that Mom and Dad had enough to buy a wide range of ingredients, the skill to prepare them well, and, well, my mother was a stay-at-home mom except for all the committee meetings and Scout meetings and such like. But for most of my childhood, she cooked every single dinner and weekend breakfasts and my father’s breakfast each day.

    Mom and Dad were both adventurous eaters, too. In fact, when my parents got married (in a bit of a hurry since one of my brothers was already on the way!), Dad wrote and told his mother about getting married. One of Granny’s friends asked what she knew about her new daughter-in-law, and Granny said ‘she’s a good cook.’ When her friend asked how she knew that, she said ‘because my son married her.’

    Dearie, I will gladly take all your seafood (except for eels, because I just plain don’t like eels in any form I have tried) for you. And then I will wait breathlessly for Mr. Twistie to be out one night so that I can eat it. He, like you, is definitely not a seafood person.

    So when Mr. Twistie is not at home for dinner, I break out all the things I love that he won’t eat: lamb, seafood, rabbit, oxtails… pretty much anything I can get my hands on that isn’t chicken, turkey, pork, or beef. Those are the only meats he’ll eat, and he won’t touch any form of offal or anything that he finds conceptually disconcerting.

    He’s come a long, long way with veggies over the past year and change, but I still get wild cravings for Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, peaches, plums, blueberries, and parsnips, among other things.

    Still, I know things are better than they were a couple years ago. Over the past week, I’ve fed him ruby chard at least three times and he hasn’t balked yet. In fact, he’s eaten it eagerly in every preparation. I’ve been on a crazy leafy greens binge, which used to be impossible. Tonight I’m going to break things up a bit – while still keeping the leafy motif going – by giving us a lovely salad of ramaine lettuce, finely chopped fennel, and orange segments in a citrus vinaigrette dressing. I can’t wait!

    Oh, as for your monthly craving for chocolate, it happens to contain elements that are natural mood stabilizers. That could be a big part of why you want them so much right then.

    And I know this has turned into freaking War and Peace, but I just want to say that fresh-baked bread is one of the greatest joys possible… at least to me. I bought a bread maker some years ago and used it several times, but it just wasn’t the same as the stuff I mixed and kneaded with my own fair hands. Your mileage may vary, but it’s one of life’s great pleasures for me. It also brings back happy memories of watching Mom bake the bread for the coming week when I was a kid.

    Yes, I was culinarily spoilt. Why do you ask?

  4. On March 2nd, 2011 at 1:00 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    You are like a foodie rock star in my eyes. My husband loves seafood, but is kind enough to never cook it at home. If we go out he will have something if he fancies it. The bread thing I want to do, but we have almost no counter space. It’s so tough in our tiny kitchen to even make cookies, I can’t imagine trying to knead dough. We’ll find a way, we always do. And your “goup” variations sound way better than what I had. Ha! And your mom sounds amazing! Must be where you get it, no?

  5. On March 2nd, 2011 at 6:32 pm Lauren Says:

    I’ve been loving Linda Bacon’s book you lent me, as soon as my job starts paying me I am going to buy it for myself, cause honestly, if I loved you any less, I might be tempted to not give it back! Don’t worry though! I fully plan on getting it back to you.
    My partner is the really cook in our couple, but in the end I actually do a lot of the menu planning, cause I do all the shopping. A little different that how most people do it, but we communicate pretty well and it works for us. My guy also has a tendency to forget what we have in the fridge, so I am often reminding him and giving him prompts for what to do. Not that he can’t be creative! He is a real wiz in the kitchen!
    We are on a really tight budget right now, so don’t buy much prepared foods, and we have to keep it simple most of the time. I think we eat higher quality food because of that though! It just takes more time of course. Eating together is a very important part of our day together, and my partner often makes spectacular food as a way of showing affection.

  6. On March 3rd, 2011 at 9:47 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh yes! They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach! I believe this! I mean, my guy once made me a chocolate souffle! It felt like a dream! Collaborative food efforts are fab for relationships. Rock on you two!

  7. On March 2nd, 2011 at 10:34 pm Kath Says:

    When I was a kid, not only were we poor most of the time, but my mother is incredibly picky and fussy about food. Not because of getting fat – in fact until I hit my teens she was always really thin – she’s just fussy. So I grew up thinking that so many foods were “gross” and “disgusting” and “yuck”. Add that to a limited diet due to poverty, and regular restrictions because of my fatness (or perceived fatness), I got to adulthood with a very fractured relationship with food.

    Then of course I WAS fat, and it just got worse.

    An important influence for me in my youth was my best friend. He is a true foodie (until recently owned a bistro too) and he used to always ask me if I had tried something when I claimed it was “yuck”. If I hadn’t, he would ask me to just try it, and if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to eat any more.

    I discovered that I actually have very broad tastes and there are very few things I won’t eat (and a couple I can’t due to allergies).

    But it has taken me almost 20 years since then to try to work through the damage of fat shame and an eating disorder to start to re-discover eating and cooking. I learned to cook as a child thanks to my Grandma (a good hearty foodie if I ever knew one) so I am lucky to have the base skills, but I have to get past a lot of the guilt and shame to get into cooking.

  8. On March 3rd, 2011 at 9:24 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I think for me a lot of the food related guilt and shame did disappear when I started cooking my own meals. It was such an eye opener. But on the limit food thing? Yeah, it’s amazing! It’s as though you can travel the world through your meals! Fabulous! And your friend sounds fantastic!

  9. On March 3rd, 2011 at 5:09 am G Says:

    I sympathize with your feelings about lobster– I moved to Maryland from the Midwest and everyone here is all about eating blue crabs. Folks get a bunch of steamed crabs and dump em on the table and go to work breaking them open with mallets and butter knives while acting like it’s the greatest thing in the universe. I never could get over the barbarism of it, plus I don’t like crab all that much.

    I’m so lucky– my mom is a great cook (she worked at several restaurants) and she taught me to cook too when I was growing up. Making dinner for the family a couple days a week was good practice (thought I hated it at the time).

  10. On March 3rd, 2011 at 9:26 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh like crab feeds? Ugh! Blegh! Ha-ha! I feel for ya! I saw a few on the food channel a couple of years ago and was horrified as well. Not sure how you navigate that living there though.
    WOW! My mom & dad were fair cooks at best. Mom burned everything, dad did what he could, but no real skills. I envy you! I feel so inadequate most of the time, but like everything else, I just fly by the seat of my pants!

  11. On March 3rd, 2011 at 6:39 am Patsy Nevins Says:

    Maine native, shellfish lover here. I eat a lot of shrimp, which seems to be the cheapest & most accessible of shellfish, lobster when I can get it (we Natives eat much less lobster than the tourists do, usually out of reach for most of us), & I prefer buying the cooked lobster meat for lobster rolls, salad, & stew rather than cooking them myself; hellish mess & so much waste.

    Like Twistie’s husband, I cannot eat anything which feels ‘off’ to me…no rabbit, no lamb, no organ meats, no wild game (I also grew up poor & my father shot 37 deer in one year, I never want to see it again). I love most shellfish, don’t want anything to do with calamari, like haddock or halibut fillets, salmon in the ready to eat pouches but not fresh, & I loved kippered herring. I love bacon, ham is good, I like some bulk sausage or sausage patties (but not links, cannot eat anything stuffed inside intestines), I enjoy chicken in many incarnations & love a good rib-eye or NY strip steak. Ground beef is the basis of my diet; I love it & it can be used to make about 900 different things.

    I love good soup (what a shock! The windchill is -16 right now in Bangor) & have had a lifelong love affair with Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup, to which I add more shrimp. I love pasta & pizza & most dishes which include some combination of ground beef, onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, etc. I also grew up & still love baked beans

    Bread, depending on what you get, can contain a lot of nutrients & the bread I generally buy also has lots of fiber; it is far from an empty food, so craving it is no big thing (&, yes, I can make bread & have done so fairly often since I was ten years old) I do not believe in the concept of ‘junk food’ anyway, since all food has nutrients; I noticed that the lady above referred to eating food that wasn’t nourishing, but, if it had not been nourishing, you would have always been in poor health & you wouldn’t have lived long enough to grow up. A lot of kids grow up on & many people live their entire lives on food that we are now told by the food nannies is not ‘nourishing’, & a good many of those people also live well into their 90’s & beyond.

    And chocolate, which is either a fruit or a vegetable, growing as it does on the cacao plant (I never can quite figure that out) not only contains a lot of calming, happiness-inducing chemicals, but also a lot of nutrients…antioxidants, some protein, some fiber, calcium if it is milk chocolate. Regular chocolate consumption is considered helpful in preventing heart attacks & strokes. I am a proud chocoholic & also a proud teaholic, another very healthy, nutrient-rich part of my diet.

    I eat a fair variety of fruits & veggies, but hate dark greens (I can tolerate some frozen spinach in something like lasagna or stuffed shells) squash & Lima beans. I enjoy eating, love food, & consider giving up dieting to be one of the healthiest things I have ever done…for many reasons.

  12. On March 3rd, 2011 at 9:45 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I think chocolate might be a fruit as the cacao pods contain seeds, right? I am not completely sure, but I’ll stick with that until I read otherwise. Ha-ha!
    Wow, what a diverse palette you have! And I feel for ya in Maine. We hear all about it from my MIL. I know we’re spoiled out here in CA, so I almost never complain about the weather.

  13. On March 5th, 2011 at 10:03 am jery Says:

    *I have been trying to comment on this post for the last two days, but for whatever reason, my system isn’t loading your site quickly. I don’t know if anyone else has had this problem, so I thought I would mention it.*

    Great post! It’s funny to hear that people tend to basically do the same thing with left-overs. On the rare occasions that my dad would cook the left-overs, he would simply call it “The Day’s Special.” Aside from that, there was never a name that we called anything.

    I can’t say that I appreciate the food the same way that you are talking about, though. At this point, I am more appreciative that I have food to eat. It’s pretty sad that all the things that I would love to use cost a hell of a lot more than the fast pack foods that line grocery store shelves. I mean $1.19 for a single green bell pepper? If it’s a choice between that and two boxes of mac and cheese to hold me over til payday, sorry pep, you lose. But maybe when I win the lotto, I’ll be less concerned with cost.

  14. On March 5th, 2011 at 10:13 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh gawd, I love when you said, “Sorry pep, you lose” totes made me think of S & P! Ha!
    Yes, I’m with you there. And dayum, mac & cheese is tasty, yo! <3
    Thanks for the heads up about the site not loading. I'll look into it. =0)

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