A few weekends ago my husband, Adam, and I were watching episodes of The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food network. The show features famous chef’s and other people in the food world highlighting some of the best dishes that they have ever eaten from places around the country. Alex Guarnaschelli, a chef/restaurant owner/cookbook author/Iron Chef/all around awesome, is a regular on the show. It’s easy to see why, this woman loves food. Not just eating it, but shopping for it, preparing it, serving it, looking at it, talking about it… I told Adam that I feel like Alex really understands how I feel about food and as I was telling him this, I was lovingly cradling a banana.
Often people believe that in order to be healthy you have to stop loving food. They think that there is no way to balance healthy living with a love affair of all things food related. There are some health gurus out there who do believe this. They view food mainly as a fuel source to get their body to function properly and that’s it. While I agree that food is fuel for our bodies, I can’t deny that it is also so much more. Hi, my name is Katie Dawson, and I love food. And that’s OK.
Yes, I have had a tough relationship with food in the past. I would eat out of boredom or stress or anxiety. I would sneak food so that people wouldn’t see how much I really ate or see all the bad food I ate. I sometimes still struggle with overeating, even though it has gotten much better. But even with my strained food past, I still love food. While I do love tasting and eating food, I almost love all the other components more. Grocery shopping is better than clothes shopping to me. I love seeing all the fresh and colorful produce as I walk into the store, I love going through and picking the best bunch of broccoli or the biggest butternut squash. I’m like a kid in a candy store in the bulk food and spice section. Sometimes I just wander through the grocery store looking at food and products and reading labels and never actually buy anything.
I also love cooking food! I enjoy thinking of flavor combinations or creating brand new dishes. It thrills me to completely make a meal on the fly with just the ingredients I have in my kitchen. It gives me great joy to serve food to other people and see them enjoy eating what I have made. Sitting around with friends and family and food is my idea of a great time.
At this point, you might be thinking I’m just a little nuts about food, and you would be right. But does that make me an unhealthy person? Is it possible to love food as much as I do and still call myself a healthy individual? I think so. If I weren’t so in love with food, I don’t think that I would be as interested in eating as well as possible. I have seen how eating good and nutritious food can change your health and because I have a passion for food, I want to be able to share that with as many people as possible. I wouldn’t bother if I didn’t care about food. If food were just fuel, I wouldn’t spend so much time coming up with new and creative recipes. It wouldn’t matter if food tasted great if I were just eating it to get my body through the day.
I’m here to tell you that it is perfectly alright to be in love with food and still be healthy. Sure, the love of food can be taken too far and turn into an unhealthy obsession. I realize that overeating and unhealthy eating can damage your health and I know that is a major problem these days. Don’t be afraid to enjoy food though, don’t feel guilty if a certain dish makes you swoon or a certain ingredient takes your breath away, it doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy. I don’t think I will ever stop loving all the things that food is about, and I wouldn’t want too. If that means I lovingly cradle a banana while watching a show about food every once and awhile, that’s fine by me!