I’m back in Seattle, safe on solid ground, and a little worse from the wear that travel days provide. A few nights of rest will acclimate me back to something resembling “me”.
I went off line for the last part of the trip, for a variety of reasons, but primary amongst them was that I was having tremendous conversations with Andrea, my travel partner throughout the two weeks abroad. She has an amazing insight into food, including opinions, experiences, and knowledge from everything from “joy of eating” to nutrition, and everything in between.
We were also sharing a book along our journey entitled Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. It is, at first glance, one of those “business books” we see in bookstores, a book that tells you how to think outside of the box. Normally, I am quite wary of these items, for reasons far to long to go into here. This book, however, had insights on human nature that rang true to me, and presented them in a way that was direct and compelling. There basic premise is this:
Within each an every human being on this planet there are two components to how we interact with the world. The book calls them the rider and the elephant. You and I are used to calling them the head or rational mind (the rider), and the heart or emotional mind (the elephant). The book states that when these two components work well together, amazing things happen. When they don’t work well, stress is created. In order to address this “stress”, a clear “path” is needed to accomplish what a person wants to accomplish. (The book is far richer than a mere paragraph can explain, and I highly recommend searching out this book if you are into these sorts of things.)
So here we were, Andrea and I, in Italy, searching down the historical path of candy and how it relates to today, all the while having amazing meals throughout the way, meals that appealed to our emotional sides very nicely. And during each meal, we would sit and talk about food.
From all of this, a thought developed, a simple observation that others have likely noted, but one I needed to reach by myself and understand – America’s battle with food comes from a conflict between our rational knowledge of food, our emotional attachment to it, and a lack of a clear, concise path that provides a bridge between these two states. We feel guilty for eating too much, we’re told we need to drink 8 glass of water a day, we believe that sugar is bad for us, we buy loads of snack foods, and we gladly indulge in plates of food that would feed four people.
And then I realized that I could, and wanted to, see if I could come up with something that addresses this imbalance in my own life, all the while sharing this with you, the reader.
It starts with a simple premise – Eating is a positive experience.
We don’t need to feel the guilt surrounding food, and we can find ways to make even the scariest foods work within our lives without tipping the scales or endangering our health. This is something that many cultures inherently know. It’s high time that our American culture does as well.
Much like other projects listed on the left side column, this will be a topic I refer to from time to time, when opportunity and inclination both are available. I’ll play with some ideas, see what works, what doesn’t, and hopefully come up with an approach that allows for a balanced life that views food, not with skepticism or guilt, but as something we can always enjoy.