Andrew and I were having a conversation this morning about our relationships with food. We are VERY different when it comes to what and why we eat what we do. I asked him who he thought had a better relationship with food, and he answered that I did. But I countered and said that I thought HE did. This is clearly an example of something we both tend to do, seeing our own flaws more readily than we see our successes or positive attributes.

I love food and I love eating. I look forward to every meal and food is very emotional to me. When I cook and eat a wonderful, filling, healthy, meal, I feel a great sense of happiness and satisfaction. I haven't always been this way, but once I really embraced the paleo lifestyle and left all processed foods behind (and didn't have to eat to support the Iroman training anymore) I gained a new appreciation for food as one of life's great pleasures. I could go on and on about this, but I will keep it short and say that doing paleo and intermittent fasting totally changed the way I approached food. It stopped being my enemy and became a dear friend instead.

I eat whole foods. I eat eggs and bacon almost every day. I eat a ton of veggies (many of my veggies come from my local farm CSA share that I pick up every Sunday which makes me feel even MORE engaged with my food). I eat a lot of raw nuts, chicken, fish, shellfish, beef, and bison. I eat a ton of fat and protein and limit my carbs but not to the point of driving myself crazy when I am out at a restaurant. I try to eat grass fed, organic, free range, or pastured meat and eggs and raw, organic dairy whenver possible.

Now, Andrew is way different. He doesn't love food. He eats mostly because he has to. He never seems to care where we go to eat or to crave certain things. I believe the way he described all this the other day was that he has a "bland palate", which maybe has some merit. I wonder, though, if passion for food is inter-related with passion in general. Andrew enjoys lots of things but there aren't many things he totally loves and gets excited (outwardly) about. So to him, the next meal is more of a business arrangement than a chance to have some fun. He doesn't get worked up about nutrition either. He has single digit body fat even though he eats plenty (I would easily say excessive) of carbs and a moderate amount of processed foods (carbs again...granola bars, breads, crackers, cereals). He is triathlon training so he also frequently consumes sports drinks.

He is a creature of habit and he eats the same thing for lunch every day. Turkey sandwhich, carrots, yogurt. He eats double protein bread but I don't think it's whole wheat. He uses Kraft "cheese" and mustard and tries to eat lower sugar yogurt. His breakfast and dinner routines vary but not very much. He avoids eating out when he can and he does cook for himself frequently. He likes cereal for breakfast, or perhaps a protein smoothie with frozen strawberries and milk. Dinner is most often a burrito with frozen, pre-cooked chicken, shredded cheese, rice, and salsa. When he does eat out (1-2 times a week), he goes for the gold and eats whatever he wants (burgers, fries, chicken wings, sushi, etc.).

So who do you think has a healthier relationship with food? I envy him for his nonchalance. Even though I do find pleasure in food, I stress out a lot about nutrition. I talk about my food choices and my weight too much, and I talk about OTHER people's food choices and weight too much! He eats what is put in front of him and doesn't seem to suffer any ill effects. He doesn't seem to feel any lasting guilt about his nutrition like I do. Of course he thought that I had a better relationship with food because I like it and I eat a greater variety of food and perhaps make more intentional choices than he does.

When it comes to food, what does a healthy relationship look like? Is it not caring about food in a society that worships eating or is it maximizing nutition and enjoyment of food in a society flooded with frankenfood?