Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Friend, Foe, or Fuel?

During a dark period of our ministry's past some of the leaders tried to raise morale by bringing in donuts or coffee, taking us all out to lunch, or dispensing chocolate at regular intervals. But that just seemed to me like manipulation (and probably drove us out of business faster).

Similarly, when a recent church event featured greasy barbecued pork sandwiches on thick white rolls with sides of gooey slaw, potato chips, and soda, I wasn't grateful: I ate as little as I felt I could without offending and still felt it churning in my gut for hours.

So, I have to conclude, I'm no foodie. The way to my heart is not through my stomach.

But I don't usually see food as my enemy, either. So, it's been funny watching my roommate's relationship with food over the last four months. She's dieting, and everything has changed. Shopping, cooking, and preparing food are now big topics of conversation for us. She's become a connoisseur of low-fat yogurt options. She pulls recipes off the internet. She buys nutritious things she might never have considered in the past, and such things don't rot in the fridge like they used to in the days when she'd sleep all day, then go out in the night for takeout from Burger King. Those days are gone.

Now she's on "South Beach." She's befriended snow peas, whole grains, and frozen berries. She counts, measures, plans. Somewhat like my stepdad, who keeps such a careful database of all he ingests that he rejects virtually all invitations to eat out or at someone else's house.

But I don't know what to make of D.'s firm rejection of things that she really likes, especially things that stimulate her desire to keep eating. Anything with that effect is a "trigger food" and off the list. Is food - at least yummy food - the enemy, now? Well, I have other friends and relatives who do the same, who are bound and determined not to eat anything "bad."

I guess you have to choose your friends, and your enemies, even when it comes to food. The end result is fairly pleasant, as it happens, and D. is losing weight. She has taught herself to seek out and enjoy some things that taste awfully darn good. The other night - when I came back from a trip with about five pounds of apples - she shared with me one of her "treats," apple slices dipped in melted chocolate chips. 

For me, getting exercise and paying attention to when I eat seem to make a bigger difference for my health and well-being than labeling things bad and counting calories or carbs. Dinner has become my smallest meal of the day, whereas anything before 11 am is good and keeps me energized throughout the day. So, I guess I see food as mostly fuel.

What is food to you, friend, foe, or fuel?


Paul Merrill said...

Sadly, I generally love very unhealthy food. If I had a different metabolism (and no desire to ride my bicycle), I'd be rather overweight.

Marti said...

Be thankful for good metabolism! And your bike. Hard to imagine you pudgy, Paul.

Marti said...

It's tricky, isn't it, to be a supportive friend or family member to someone who is trying to make a major life change that they require and you do not. I need to guard against taking offense when friends who are dieting, or vegetarians, or in training for something, go a bit too far and start treating what I think of as "good" food or normal behavior as dangerous, irresponsible, or "bad." This week I've found some of my insecurities, thinly cloaked with defensiveness, are dangerously close to the surface. I'm taking offense where none is intended rather than offering grace where it is needed. A good time to take those insecurities and defensiveness and lay them down before the One who offers me, too, abundant grace.