In Defense of “Meh…” Food

Since going (mostly) vegan a few weeks ago, I’ve had a lot of food that I neither love nor hate – here’s why that’s a good thing. 

meh-foodIn many ways, I’m the antithesis of a food blogger. I photographed two of my creations because they both took way more effort than I usually put into food prep. I’m rather unskilled (as both a cook and, as you can see, photographer) and am working with minimal tools. At first, I felt bad about being not having the skill or inclination to create gorgeous food. But I’ve come to realize that you can’t really be madly in love with food – or have a love-hate relationship with it. Instead, you have to have an attitude best described as, “Meh…”

I shouldn’t even be worrying about my diet (Lord knows I certainly didn’t while I was finishing my PhD). There are so many other things I could be doing. But I’ve come to realize that if I’m not properly nourished, I’m not going to be able to do much of anything. After cutting out animal products, I felt a lot better (barring a 24 hour withdrawal period). I’ve felt less bloated, had more energy for yoga, and am now 2 lbs lighter than I was when I finished my low-carb diet (some of the weight had crept back on, so I estimate that I’ve lost 5-10 lbs over the last 2 weeks).

The challenge is maintaining these good dietary habits. What it comes down to is that we’re hard-wired by our society to be emotionally dependent on “comfort” food and reliant on “diet” food to quickly lose weight. Many people develop love-hate relationships with food – often accompanied by eating disorders. Add in our family traditions and cultural associations with certain types of food, not to mention the social pressures to eat and drink certain ways, and you’ve got a lot working against you.

I think the only way to get past this is to re-frame your relationship with food. I once heard it described as thinking about it as “fuel, not therapy.” You have to pour your love and passion and joy into other outlets. You also have to appreciate the benefits of feeling well-nourished and full – even if the foods that do it aren’t rocking your world the way a box of Oreos or plate of Mac-n-cheese would…

Do you have a love-hate or “meh…” relationship with food? Would becoming more indifferent to food help you maintain better diet habits?

Author: Leah Pogwizd

Bassist, Instructor, Writer

4 thoughts on “In Defense of “Meh…” Food”

  1. I love food. I explore cultures by eating my way through them. That said, it probably is important to be cognizant of what you’re eating. My wife is diabetic, so we’re somewhat careful with what she eats, to avoid spikes. I think its completely possible to enjoy what you’re eating AND have it be healthy at the same time. My family is West Indian, and there are a lot of vegetarian dishes that are healthy and tasty to be had, depending on your palette. My wife is Filipina, and while there are likely healthy options to be had in their cuisine, I do dip into the fried and savory picks instead. Over the past 16 years, I’ve put on about 60 lbs. on account of her family’s get-togethers. I can’t complain though. I do enjoy it, although I recognize that I’ll have to do something to rein it in soon.

    1. So far, I’ve been able to find a lot of tasty options for a lot of different types of cuisine by making some swaps, but there’s always that craving for the real thing. I have a family history of diabetes (as well as obesity), so regulating blood sugar is important for me as well. My partner is Filipino, and is a source of some tension that I don’t eat most the food prepared at family gatherings. I feel bad, but I also know that my health is a lot better because of my diet. To compensate, I try to be supportive of others’ dietary choices and make sure I always eat beforehand or pack food when I know there won’t be options for me – that way, people aren’t stressing about how to accommodate me…

      1. You have more willpower than I do. 😉 I don’t go for more than 2 plates when I’m at my wife’s family stuff, but sometimes I make those 2 plates count. 😉 Some of her cousins (who also have kids a little older than our daughter) have become semi-regular dining companions though, so I think I’ve spread the disease a bit.

        There’s one thing I do have to note – you save a good bit of money by packing your own food regularly. I have to be more disciplined with that. Years ago, when I made my first attempt at learning to play bass, that’s how I bought my first instrument. I didn’t eat lunch for a month, saved the money, and finally ran to a local music store and bought the only lefty bass they had. It was used. I still have it, but I need to repair one of the tuning pegs that broke earlier this year.

  2. One of the things that I like about veganism is that it forces me to limit consumption at family gatherings and pack a lunch pretty much wherever I go (although I probably lose the financial advantage of that because it requires me to buy more expensive food).

    That’s true dedication to buying your first bass!

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