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xxii's avatar

What would you define as a "healthy relationship with food"?

Asked by xxii (3329points) October 16th, 2010

Sorry for all the food-related questions… it just seems like Fluther really knows about this subject!

I hear a lot of talk about maintaining a “healthy relationship with food.” What does this phrase mean to you? How would you define a healthy or unhealthy relationship with food?

Is it purely a matter of making sure you get the right number of calories each day – not too many, not too few? Or is it also mental, like not being excessively hard on yourself, too lax with your caloric limits? What about being mentally dependent on food – would you consider not being able to study without food an unhealthy relationship, or a habit of midnight snacking?

Do you know anyone who you feel has an unhealthy relationship with food, and if so, why?

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22 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

A healthy relationship with food is eating everything on your plate or no desert! And I mean all of it!!

xxii's avatar

@Cruiser – When I was younger, my traditional Chinese grandmother and grandfather would tell me that my plate after a meal was representative of my future husband’s face. In other words, if I left a bunch of food on my plate, my future husband would have horrible acne and pockmarks… and if my plate was clean, he would have a nice clear complexion!

jaytkay's avatar

I like Michael Pollan’s advice, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

More detail here

But there is no “one true way” to healthy eating. I know a lot of healthy omnivores, vegetarians and vegans.

tranquilsea's avatar

To me having a healthy relationship with food means that it doesn’t rule my life. I eat when I’m hungry. I eat as healthily as possible but I eat the odd thing that isn’t great for me because I like them. All in moderation.

Cruiser's avatar

@xxii HS that is so wrong!! When I was 9 and in the hospital only one day removed from almost dying, my grandma visited me and literally “forced” me to eat the hospital meatloaf and lima beans on my dinner tray to, according to her, rebuild my strength!! I almost just died and survived and here she was trying to kill me with meatloaf!!! XO!!

xxii's avatar

@Cruiser – Well, it still got me to finish (mostly) everything on my plate, which was more than many parents could say for themselves! :D

daytonamisticrip's avatar

It means eating when your hungry and not eating junk food. I don’t worry about calories or I need this much of this and this amount of this everyday.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My healthy relationship with food means I let myself eat a little bit of everything I really want but not enough to get “ugh I’m full” feeling off. I like that I crave proteins more than I crave starches, every bit of good food helps offset the can of soda or bag of Cheez Its. The whole reason I let myself eat little bits of everything is so I don’t feel deprived and turn into a binger or comfort foodie.

Cruiser's avatar

@xxii Your husband must have gorgeous skin!! XD!

seazen's avatar

Understanding food, appreciating it – being able to both cook and eat what you’ve cooked. Trying new things, eating out once in a while and ultimately, raising kids who are healthy, nourished and strong – who will do the same.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It means moderation.
I know people that do not practice that.

genkan's avatar

I would say it refers to mindful eating. That is where you take the time to enjoy what you’re eating, paying conscious attention to the flavours and textures. This is as opposed to wolfing down mouthfuls. I usually find that if I do this, I enjoy what I eat, I tend to eat healthier (because healthier, more natural foods usually have more complex subtleties to the taste) and I don’t have to eat too much to feel satisfied.

xxii's avatar

@seazen – Interesting point about the cooking. I think it’s becoming increasingly common for people to be unable to cook, even when they have families. They just order in or go out. Even if they stick to healthy options while doing so, do you consider that an unhealthy relationship with food?

@genkan – GA.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with eating when hungry, not gorging and all in moderation.

Since I am single these days and love to cook and bake, whatever I don’t share with others or freeze I toss to the wildlife on my hill.

I baked an apple/blackberry cobbler last week and enjoyed a nice helping warm from the oven, then…put the leftovers on a paper plate and made the raccoons night! lol

seazen's avatar

@xxii There’s something magical about a house with someone cooking in it – maybe it’s what doesn’t exist in many other languages; the difference between a house and a home. We say in English that a home is where the heart is, but I think it’s where the cooking takes place.

It doesn’t have to be cordon bleu or master chef – just the aromas of garlic and onion frying in the pan giving forth the aromas of things to come – good things.

Eating out all the time? If you’re rich, fine. Don’t bother to teach the kids to fold laundry or make their beds either – the maid will do that.

But what happens when it’s time to be on their own, or if something happens and the cash flow ends suddenly?

There’s one place in the house where a man has never been shot – in the kitchen. It’s the best, safest and smartest place to be: and the more you try, the better you get at it. Instant feedback keeps you warm and cozy, tummies are full and everyone’s happy.

Winter is around the corner: soups and stews… yummmmmmmmm.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Great Caesar’s ghost! I would say a healthy relationship with food is one where you not only respect the food but your body. To have a healthy relationship is not to be ruled by the food. You control it, it doesn’t control you, physically or mentally. You don’t have to count calories but you eat 80% healthy and 20% whatever you damn please. That way you never feel starved, or cheated so you don’t feel the need to sneak around stuffing food then feeling guilty you did something wrong. You don’t pile a bunch of stuff on the plate and feel you must eat it all or that your kids have to. Start with a little and get more if you are still hungry but never so much you have to over stuff or waste. And waste is something you never strive to do because food is for sustenance not mere entertainment because one here in the US better be damn grateful to have it; in many places they don’t care how it is seasoned or plated attractively, they just want to eat so they can last the week. Respect fo food and body, that is a healthy relationship.

cazzie's avatar

I always like the French saying… Eat to live, not live to eat. (manger pour vivre et non vivre pour manger)

perspicacious's avatar

The phrase is simply something to make people like me laugh.

downtide's avatar

To live without an obsession with food (whether that means obsession with consuming more or less of it). To be able to recognise how much the body needs to stay healthy and at it’s optimum weight, and to stick with it. To eat healthily in general but not to get too upset by eating something unhealthy once in a while. To enjoy eating, without the desire to eat too much. To be able to recognise hunger and eat accordingly.

deni's avatar

I love food! We have the best relationship ever! I am always into it. Anyhow, I guess that means to make the best of one of our basic needs. Ya know? You have to eat. So enjoy it. It’s some of the greatest sensations ever. And IMO!!! if you are always counting calories and fat and whatever, thats lame so dont.

Rhodentette's avatar

To me, a healthy relationship with food is one where I don’t obsess about each and every calorie I take in, where I’m not incapacitated with guilt for eating certain things and where food is fun. I know women who will not be seen eating high-calorie foods in public, and one extreme case where a woman won’t even have a cookie in front her husband and children. That kind of behaviour is seriously messed up.

I think having a healthy relationship with food means you’re aware of nutrition so you’re not eating piles of junk every day but I also think it means having an appreciation for the food you do eat. Learning about your food, where it comes from and why is also a good way of being aware of what you eat without going completely overboard into locavore territory. (Apologies to any locavores, but I find the trend excessively annoying and pretty pointless.)

food's avatar

Like others have said, moderation, and being in a situation where the dog wags the tail, not the other way around.

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