My work has recently taken me on a research journey on food and nutrition. I’ve spent the past month or so concentrating on all the horrendous things food can do to you (excesses of course) – from giving you cancer to heart disease, never mind obesity and diabetes.
The research studies on various elements of food are gut-wrenching to say the least. I got so embroiled in the data that I frankly couldn’t eat anymore. Imagine being afraid of a simple sandwich?
Not only is our food not as nutrient-rich as it was in our grandmother’s day, the food companies stuff it so full of addictive additives that it barely resembles food anymore. And yet it tastes so good (well, that’s the point obviously – get people addicted to your food and you’re on the fast track to owning a corporate jet and a private island).
Trying to shop consciously is a tad nightmarish and I find myself spending ages reading labels to check what the ingredients are (or aren’t) and then also whether the product was manufactured locally (to help reduce my carbon footprint) but if it wasn’t, is it a fair trade item (like coffee).
It became a never ending battle and one I wasn’t sure I could ever think to win or overcome. I actually developed a stomach ulcer (probably more from not eating properly due to the scarcity of actual healthy food anywhere in my sphere, than from worry).
Is there such a thing as fear-induced anorexia? Possibly.
I’m trying now to stop believing anything. I’m trying to go back square one and start merely believing my body.
I had the most delicious lunch yesterday.
Today, my body is telling me that I really really need a wholesome meal that incorporates all the dietary groups: a gigantic hamburger.
Maybe tomorrow when I am forced to hit the supermarket again because the pantry is low on anything except condiments, I’ll begin muttering madly to myself again about endocrine-disputing factors, toxins and rising sodium levels.
But for today, I’m going to believe with all my heart that the burger I consume is wholly nutritious, derived from cows that have lead happy, peaceful lives and the meat was cooked without any carcinogenic flames anywhere near it; that the lettuce and tomato were organically grown with no pesticides or toxic water; that the mayonnaise was made by hand by a previously disadvantaged individual who now has the means to feed and clothe his or her entire family (including both sets of grandparents) and understands the need for utmost cleanliness; and that the sesame seeds sprinkled on top of the sodium-free, wholegrain, sour dough bun where ethically acquired.
Whether or not my body will thank me for my all-encompassing belief in the goodness of food and humankind, I’m pretty sure my soul will.
Sometimes it’s best just to throw everything you know out the window and relax in the knowledge that you were born with a wisdom that’s far beyond your years.