My dear friend in fifth grade, whose name I no longer remember, proposed the deep philosophical question to me “Do you live to eat or eat to live?”
I never thought of it before; eating was just a natural thing to do, and luckily I never had to worry about eating to live. It’s just something we did three times a day, with frequent snacks in between, depending on mood or what happened to pass my way. Not much that passed my way passed me by, so I pass on that question.
Passing by a kitchen cabinet, reaching in and grabbing a cookie, piece of dried fruit or handful of mixed salted nuts was normal and not thought about. Or grabbing a tablespoon of peanut butter and eat it all by itself: bread or not, depending on your level of hunger or time frame.
Never a thought to calorie count or vitamin intake. No thoughts of fats, hydrogenated oils or chemical additives.
No fears about whether skirt buttons would be button-able the next morning.
Eating was just a fun thing to do; no deep thoughts were ever involved in the process.
But our society has now created a monster. Some people won’t eat a single morsel of food without checking its ingredients, names of preservatives or pedigree of additives. They need to know the documentation and derivation belonging to every edible before them.
When I think about my diet back in the 50s I am shocked that I ever:
- Grew to a normal height
- Am able to function in polite society
- Have no recognizable physical malformations.
If I knew then what I know now about nutrition I would have eaten different but far less enjoyable meals.
I might never have feasted on the fabulously sweet snacks of cotton candy that were a signature of state fairs. I might have turned my back on those glorious barbecued hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut that defined summer picnics, and I might not have swilled all those sugary, icy drinks that made summer heat bearable.
And I haven’t even started to describe all the amazing meals that came along with winter and cold weather. But you might not approve, so let’s just leave the subject to your imagination and fill in the blanks with your own wintery treats!
You cannot unlearn what you already know. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t know as much as I do, because life was much more pleasant when I chose what I was in the mood to eat and not what foods have the highest levels of Calcium, or Vitamin B, or are the lowest in Carbs or Cholesterol.
So Happy Valentine’s Day, and enjoy those Chocolates; but remember that the dark chocolate is better for you if the cocoa content is at least 72 percent!